The main issue we noticed was that the TV seems to have a de-interlacing problem. This is never especially severe, and won't affect progressive content, like Blu-rays or Sky+HD. We noticed it most with TV shows via the built-in Freeview receiver. Neighbours and The Jeremy Kyle Show, for example, both suffered from jagged lines on fast-moving objects. This problem wasn't severe, and we could live with it, but you might want to see it for yourself before you lay down your cash.
That said, we honestly don't think that most people who buy this TV will be planning on predominantly watching standard-definition TV shows. Also, apart from the de-interlacing issue, we actually liked the Freeview picture. There was plenty of detail and, after some minor tweaking, the colours looked very pleasing.
HD material, especially 2.35:1 movies, looked amazing. We were initially slightly worried that Blu-rays would suffer, because the TV has to zoom the picture to remove black bars. In practice, this didn't prove to be an issue. HD pictures looked superb and we could have spent plenty of time happily watching Star Trek, Casino Royale and The Dark Knight in HD. One interesting point about the most recent Batman movie is that, if you watch it on this TV, you'll lose the top and bottom of the IMAX shots. This might not bother you, but, if IMAX becomes more popular, it could be an issue.
Audio is half the experience
We have nothing bad to say about this TV's sound. Considering the set has a built-in speaker system, its audio is superb. Philips has achieved this by placing tweeters on the front of the set, for high-end sounds and speech, and these are backed up at the rear with a pair of woofers.
This separated system means you get very clear dialogue, and deep, rich bass. It's a sad irony that the people likely to buy this TV will probably also have kick-arse AV equipment and powerful speakers. But it's good not to have to turn your amp on when you just want to watch EastEnders.
This TV also has plenty of funky toys that make it more attractive to tech lovers. For a start, it's got DLNA, which means you can stream audio and video over your home network to this TV. We applaud the inclusion of this feature, but we wish the TV supported more in the way of codecs.
The newly designed menus are excellent, and we love the fact that you can customise your home screen to allow for fast access to your favourite inputs. We also adore the Ambilight feature. It's the sort of thing that'll you miss if you ever have to watch a TV without it. Unfortunately, Philips hasn't put a fourth Ambilight strip on the bottom. For a TV that looks great hanging on the wall, this is a missed opportunity to make it look even better.
We really like the Philips Cinema 21:9. It's something of gimmick, but, when you watch a 2.35:1 movie on the screen, in the dark, with Ambilight on, you feel like you're enjoying a movie in the most immersive way possible.
As much as we like this set, though, we can't help but think it would be bested by a good video projector. Take one of JVC's amazing DLA machines, for example, and you'll have a home-cinema experience that can't easily be beaten. Such a set-up may be less convenient for day-to-day viewing, but this TV isn't intended for day-to-day use anyway -- it's aimed at movie fans. Having said that, we wouldn't discourage you from buying this TV. We like almost everything about it and, aside from a few minor niggles, we think it's an excellent piece of kit.
Edited by Charles Kloet