Unfortunately, the 42PF9986 has two major performance-related feature deficits. Like all Philips HDTVs we've seen, it lacks the all-important 2:3 pull-down detection in the video processor, so your standard-def sources such as analogue TV, satellite, and VHS will exhibit significant motion artefacts with film-based material. A progressive-scan DVD player is a must with this TV. The set also lacks independent memory per input, which means you can optimise the picture for only one video source.
After calibration, we checked out fast-motion scenes from Seabiscuit to test the panel's response time. We saw no visible streaking or blurring, so we're satisfied most viewers won't either. Colours looked awesome, and detail was excellent. For black-level performance evaluation we used Alien, and we were pleasantly surprised at how well the 42PF9986 rendered very dark material. During the opening sequence, there was good detail in the bottom of the ship and the cockpit, and we saw very little low-level noise.
HD from a media PC looked quite good, and the panel's high resolution really let details come out. Happily, black level and colour were close to where they should be with the settings we used for the DVD input. However, that doesn't mean that would necessarily be the case for other sources, and we'd still prefer to be able to tweak the sources individually.
|Before color temp (20/80)||6,850/6,900K||Good|
|After color temp (20/80)||6,750/6,375K||Average|
|Before grayscale variation||+/-705K||Average|
|After grayscale variation||+/-158K||Average|
|Color decoder error: red||0%||Good|
|Color decoder error: green||-5%||Good|
|DC restoration||All patterns stable||Good|
|2:3 pull-down, 24fps||N||Poor|
Additional editing by Guy Cocker