This processing comes courtesy of the latest Pixel Plus 3HD engine, an all-digital system that Philips says improves the image quality from both standard- and high-definition sources.
The TV also measures the quality of incoming signals to determine the level of processing required. This helps prevent standard-definition TV looking fake and 'over processed'.
The Clear LCD system provides a scanning, dimmable backlight, which in combination with enhanced 6ms responsiveness creates superior contrast and motion tracking. This system only works with standard-definition content, though.
There is an integrated digital TV tuner with a CI card slot at the rear that allows you to subscribe to limited channels from TopUp TV. Freeview broadcasts are accompanied by a beautifully presented seven-day EPG (electronic programme guide), although unlike some models you can't see the programme in the background as you browse the listings.
Elsewhere, the menu system is equally resplendent using sharp, colourful graphics that are easily navigated by the direction keys from the remote's cursor.
A unique Settings Assistant helps the lethargic tweak images without fuss. The system shows you before and after images on a split screen, asking you which version you prefer before adjusting settings automatically. This sounds great on paper, but in practice it's a bit hit-and-miss, working best when you simply select the first option that comes up. We found it easier to adjust settings the traditional way using the standard menus.
This is the first LCD we've seen recently that can rival models from Sony's class-leading Bravia range for overall image quality.
It may be more expensive than most, but picture performance is outstanding across virtually all sources -- we tested using Freeview, Denon's upscaling DVD-1930 and Sky's HDTV content.
The way TVs deal with black is what often separates the best from the worst models, and this screen's dense blacks provide images with solid definition and depth-defining contrast without losing detail in dimly lit sequences like the escape scene in Severance. Colours look magnificent, striking a superb balance between vibrant and natural shades.
Philips' processing definitely improves standard-definition pictures from Freeview broadcasts and DVD players with more detail, vitality and depth than models from Toshiba and Samsung.
Normal and fast-paced action is rendered with almost surreal fluidity, but the screen stutters when challenged with slow-moving camera pans, such as the landscape scenes in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
Complex scenes are occasionally affected by background instability, but disturbances are generally kept well under control and true high-definition content suffers less.
Sound performance is impressive for a flat screen, with plenty of detail and expression, although the screen's dazzling image quality deserves to be accompanied by a surround setup to complete the ultimate home cinema experience.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Kate Macefield