Philips Aurea 42PFL9900 (42-inch LCD Display Panel TV) - First Look

Philips Aurea 42PFL9900 (42-inch LCD Display Panel TV) - First Look

Philips is injecting a new lease of life to its unique Ambilight system in its latest Aurea range of TV panels. Earlier this year, the company switched to LED in a bid to improve color reproduction and lower power consumption. Now it's pushing the envelope one step further with a new revamped platform. Built upon the same environment-friendly LEDs, the Spectra iteration employs a semi-translucent front bezel which also doubles as a light-emitting canvas. This simple-yet-innovative solution has resulted in a sleeker form factor and refreshing design for its last flat-panel entry this year.


The introduction of the new front bezel, or Active Frame according to Philips, solves a number of constraints related to the original Ambilight design. First of all, it eliminates the need for a dedicated reflective canvas, while maintaining more-than-adequate light emission towards the viewers. For those who are not planning to wall-mount the TV, this new design will also indirectly offer greater flexibility when installing the panel away from a wall. Lastly, this highly integrated approach has the added advantage of a reduced chassis bulk and weight, too.

To reflect its high-end stature, the Aurea is powered by its flagship Perfect Pixel HD video engine fine-tuned for handling high-bandwidth 1080p input signals. This is further reinforced by two motion reproduction-centric features: A 100Hz Clear LCD frame rate-doubling function designed to smoothen out onscreen motion and a ghosting-free 3ms response time panel. Another value-added proposition is its onboard multimedia support implemented via a high-speed USB port. This minimizes equipment clutter and enables convenient on-the-fly MP3 and JPEG playback.

Moving on to A/V connectivity, this 42-incher is right on par with most of the current premium models. Like the Sony Bravia X and Hitachi L42X01A, the Aurea is outfitted with three 1080p24/50/60-ready HDMI terminals. As you can see, the jacks also accept native film-based 24Hz signal which is supposedly capable of delivering judder-free visuals. If you don't mind taking an analog route, there are two sets of component-video sockets handy for linking to older devices. Rounding up the connectivity options is a digital coaxial audio output which can be used to hook up to external home theater systems.


At S$7,999 (US$5,262.50), putting aside boutique brands such as Loewe, this Philips is definitely the priciest 42-inch LCD TV we’ve come across so far. These days, you can even purchase a 46-inch panel with that kind of budget, and probably have enough spare change for an additional DVD player and other accessories. On the other hand, you may notice that the Aurea's dynamic contrast and viewing angle seem to be rated humbly at 8,000:1 and 176-degree, respectively. While we always caution our readers on these enticing figures, they do look pale in comparison to the competition, especially with the Samsung F8-series now claiming a peak 25,000:1 rating.


If you are sourcing for a flat-panel TV that can stand out among the crowd, the Philips Aurea is definitely the one that fits the bill. That said, you are paying premium for its unique Ambilight Spectra capability which may not even have a significant impact on picture quality. For a panel with similar feature set sans the new Spectra capability, its 42FPL9532 may be a more affordable alternative at S$3,000 (US$1,973.68) less.