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I always imagined walking through the front door, hanging the coat on the rack, kicking off the shoes, pouring a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and then heading into my own cinema room. I also imagined that I would have to win the lottery before this would ever happen but I recently came a step closer to my dream. I have had the Philips 32PW9308 for a month now and thought it about time I told you all about it, in true Ciao style…..
They say looks are everything and I must say, that is particularly true when it comes to televisions, as you spend most of your time looking directly at it. The Philips is not the most stunning of TV’s in appearance. The grey/silver plastic looks like … well, it looks like grey/silver plastic and the perforated style surround makes it look like a giant silver sponge but despite this, the Philips looks comfortable in the corner of my living room and is impressive due to its sheer size. This TV boasts a 32” screen, which is pretty big by anyone’s standards and this also means you must have plenty of room in your house for this one. It comes with a moderately attractive stand with 2 glass shelves, which is designed to blend in with the casing of the television. The remote is simplistic in design and will not embarrass your coffee table.
The proof of the pudding is in the watching and one flick of the power button and we are away. This particular TV displays its picture in 100htz, which theoretically is supposed to give a superior picture. A regular TV uses 50htz, which means it refreshes the screen at a rate of 50 times per second. Sound fast? It is pretty quick but the larger the TV, the more likely you will notice the flicker, which is why many TV’s of this size are now coming out with 100htz. The screen is also flat, hence the phrase `flat screen`, which deters glare and enables you to view the TV from greater angles, as tube curvature is not a factor. The picture on this TV is very well defined and the screen presents a very polished display but regular TV can look artificial and if you are unlucky enough to live in a poor reception area, this TV can digitize the picture, causing the image to become pixilated. That is why it is best to couple this TV with free view or sky/cable, which will enhance the picture quality. Coupled with a good scart cable, this picture will not fail to impress. There are many options for picture adjustment, including Digital filter modes, DNR and the usual brightness/contrast settings, quite welcome for fine control tuning but a little too much to mess around with in my opinion.
Lets make some noise here. You get a large screen, clarity of vision and humble mutterings from the two speakers. I guess to some, this may suffice but in a world of Dolby Digital, its simply not cricket. Don’t get me wrong, this TV will go pretty loud but it retains little clarity and sound is jumbled on most Nicam broadcasts, producing an echoed effect or the feeling you are locked in a cupboard with a small radio for company. The speaker modes can be switched from Stereo to virtual Dolby, which projects sound to the sides and then creeps up on you from behind! This is mildly impressive but fails to add any definition. This TV is certainly best when coupled with a Hi-Fi or Dolby Surround/Digital receiver, which it is capable of sending through the appropriate signal for.
There is always a fine line here and its difficult to please everyone. Too little on the extras side will leave us scouring through the handbook. Too many features will have us scratching our heads and I guess, leave us scouring through the handbook. All the regular features are here really. The ability to change screen format, so that those irritating black bars can be eliminated from most broadcasts and screen tilt, so that you can line up the signal perfectly on your screen. Teletext is here and a few surprises have been thrown in. You can split the screen in half and view the programme on one side and teletext on the other and the text pages appear instantly, meaning no more waiting for the numbers to scroll. You can change the Digital processing, so the picture becomes more pleasing on the eye, although the absence of a shortcut key on the remote is a mild irritant. The normal volume and channel buttons are on top of the TV, so you can make simple quick adjustments without delving down the sofa cushions for the remote. I personally think there is almost a happy medium of features here and I have found it enough to adjust my viewing pleasure without ruining it.
Ease of use
I usually find this is the best time to bleat on about the remote control, so here goes. Baaaa. No, really. This is easier than working a pocket calculator and Philips have done their very best to limit the amount of buttons on this remote control. Volume and channel buttons are clear and large and the up/down/left/right for menu navigation is central on the remote and large enough to use. I do find the cursor moving down instead of left or right sometimes, so clear and concise commands are preferred here. Installation is easy, as these days they pretty much do everything for you but a quick glance at the manual is probably recommended to check your setup. A powerful, yet pretty simple TV.
In the modern world of AV components, its pretty important to check it will integrate with your current equipment. The Philips has the standard sockets for input and output and rather than go nuts on this one, I have listed them below for your reference :
2 x Scart Sockets (1 RGB), Audio out and Video out on rear of TV (stereo audio), side AV inputs (for Camcorder connection)
Value for Money/Conclusion
Depending on how much you bagged this TV for, depends on how good it is for its money. I won’t mess about, this is a budget 100htz flat screen 32” TV but it’s a very good budget TV. Because it has now been superseded by the 9309, you can get this TV cheaper than its original retail, which was about £1000. They can be found for £600-700, which then makes this a bargain that even David Dickinson would get excited over. As a fussy viewer, I am happy with this TV. Yes, there is better out there but not for this price and if you are looking to upgrade to wide screen and want a large TV, look no further!