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Good: The LED Lux system
Bad: Price and picture settings
Comment: I bought this TV after reading the review on FlatpanelsHD here: http://www.flatpanelshd.com/review.php?subaction=showfull&id=1236858201
The TV is not perfect but the LED Lux system is very good in my opinion. Contributes to very deep blacks.
Good: PQ when camera isn't moving
Bad: Image Judder in 1080p when camera moves
Comment: Have to update my previous review. The Image Judder in 1080p hasn't been fixed by firmware as of yet. It is caused by turning off 'Natural Motion' and make all 1080p material un-watchable.
So turn 'Natuarl Motion' ON i hear you all cry... Sadly this makes things even more un-watchable - 70mm film suddenly looks like HDV (Imagine The Shining looking like an episode of Neighbors!) Worse still, the processing somehow make movement seem speeded-up, like a Buster Keaton/Charlie Chaplin movie.
I'm hoping that enough complaints (there are an awful lot over at the AV Forum) will make Philips do something about this - fix it, or other full refunds). Otherwise, steer well clear until i let you know in another update that it's fixed.
Good: PQ (for the most part); amazing blacks; styling
Bad: Connectivity issues and complex image processing that leads to jerky-motion and an odd 'Handy-Cam' look
Comment: I've owned a 9803 for about 2 weeks now. I'm generally enjoying the freeview picture on this, as well as the dvd image very much. But Cnet are dead right about the 'video' effect that some of the processing creates - it makes everything too smooth, clear and sharp (if that's possible). Whatever you're watching, freeview or blu-ray, it looks 'too crisp and real' ,as though it were shot on an HD handy-cam (Bladerunner looks like the best home-movie i've ever seen. It also seems to screw around with the frame rate, giving movement a slightly speeded up feel.
The smart-settings are ok-ish - i can't watch 'STANDARD' as this employs the above mentioned 'handy-cam' processing and I'm having trouble getting the 'PERSONAL' settings right. So I'm watching everything in 'MOVIE' setting, which probably doesn't get the best from the set, but at least turns off whatever process creates the 'handy-cam' effect.
When watching some material, such as the fifth season of The Wire on DVD, there's trouble when the image cuts from light-to-dark, or visa-versa. Going from, say dark-to-light there's several second in which the picture brightens up, as though trying to get the luminosity correct... Then it cuts back to dark and again, there's several seconds of luminosity adjustment. It's very distracting and definitely isn't the source material, as it's happened on freeview as well.
Another image problem is a jerkiness to movement when watching 1080p blu-ray (from a Sony BDPS350 BLU-RAY player). A big disappointment, since the picture is so good - so long as it doesn't move. On my old Sony CRT the spaceships in '2001: A Space Odyssey' gently glide across the screen to The Blue Danube. On the 9803 the stutter across in tiny increments. Perhaps this can be solved by tweaking the settings, but it's proving tricky (and i'm usually quite good at this stuff). Perhaps Philips can publish advice on the complex tweaking of the 9803, or preferably fix this in a firmware update.
Regarding the Halo effect - i've barely noticed it and when i do it's a small price for the 'OH MY GOD' i'm muttering about the amazing blacks.
Connectivity... Personally i find that the 'nanny' video-codec limitations of the USB and Ethernet inputs - Mpeg1 & 2 only - very, very disappointing. Who on Earth still watches anything in these archaic codecs!
The point of codecs is high compression, with minimal image degradation and Mpeg1&2 no longer cuts the mustard. People around the world are now crushing their dvds, home movie etc. into Mpeg4, Quicktime, Avi, Divx. Mpeg1&2 is a redundant codec that make the 9803's USB and DNLA inputs pointless.
Maybe Philips will get with the times, like Samsung has and include more up-to-date codecs on the next firmware update, but until then, do not buy this set if you want good connectivity for your Video files.
Ultimately i'm enjoying watching this set very much and have even come to like the silver frame. But after reading the Cnet review I'm questioning my decision to spend £2200. However, I'm sure these niggles can be corrected via firmaware - the question is, will Philips bother?
If they do get their act together on the firmware front, then for me this TV is a must-buy, even at the premium price - i'll let you know. But in the meantime it might be worth looking elsewhere...
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