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Philips 32FD9954 Review

Highs

  • Above average picture quality

Rating

Our Score 8
User Score 7

Lows

  • Lacks advanced features without the FTR9964 E-Box Receiver
Add the Philip's Samurai stand to the great looking 32FD9954 and watch television in real style.

Summary

While the Philips 32″ 32FD9954 has above average picture quality for a plasma set in this price range, the lack of advanced features without the FTR9964 E-Box Receiver is very disappointing because it raises the price of the 32FD9954 setup significantly. Despite a lack luster remote control and some brightness control issues, the beautiful display makes the 32FD9954 a contender in the 32″plasma market. Add the Philip’s Samurai stand to the great looking 32FD9954 and watch television in real style. Introduction

Philips new 32FD9954 32″ Plasma television offers new plasma technology, high definition connectivity and a unique design to compliment any contemporary room. Called a 32″ Flat TV by Philips, the 32FD9954 offers decent resolution with built in 30 watt speakers for good picture and sound quality. While the 32FD9954 may be advanced in both technology and design, a little fine tuning would have made this plasma television a top performer.

Features

The 32FD9954 features Philips Digital Natural Motion technology which calculates motion trajectories of moving picture elements, it then corrects jerky movement to offer a better picture. Other notable features include dual high-definition inputs and full 1080i resolution, and Philips Digital Crystal-Clear comb filter and color enhancements which are designed to offer a crisp and natural picture. Using a fanless design, the 32FD9954 produced no audible noise of its own. The 32FD9954 comes with a one year parts and labor warranty. With plasma technology still being expensive, it might not be a bad idea to same up for an extended warranty; something in this price range should be protected for as long as possible.

Setup and Installation

Installation of the 32FD9954 is relatively straightforward. Included with the television is wall mounted brackets for hanging the 32FD9954 on the wall. At only 3.6 inches deep, 32FD9954 actually looks much bigger in size upon first impressions. The footprint is only 30cm deep even with Philips own Samurai stand. The style is very contemporary and should look good in just about any setting.  Also included with the 32FD9954 is a manual, remote control w/ batteries, and all the necessary cables to get going including VGA cables. While the 32FD9954 is good on its own, we recommend purchasing the FTR9964 HD electronic box if you decide to buy this television. The FTR9964 gives the 32″ 32FD9954 PIP, plus high definition tuning and other advanced features. An NTSC tuner is not included in the set, so an external tuner is required. Good working examples of possible tuner solutions include satellite, digital cable or even a basic VCR with built in tuner.

Use and testing

The remote control of the 32FD9954 is lacking in both style and advanced functionality often reminding us of a remote control for a 19″ sub $100 television; not a high end 32″ plasma. Using the THX picture setup menu in Star Wars phantom Menace DVD, we quickly tuned the picture and sound to optimum settings. While there are brightness and contrast buttons on the remote control, there is no on screen scale to show you where the settings are. You are forced to use the menu in order to see where the brightness and contrast setting compare on the scale. We found this frustrating at times and easily tired of going through the menu system to see where the settings are.

Picture quality is above average and the screen is viewable from far distances and odd angles unlike most rear projection televisions. The contrast ratio and black level look better than average most of the time, but we found on certain movies, the brightness level would change if a scene was in a constant setting for a long period of time. While watching “The Count of Monte Cristo”, the brightness and black levels would often fluctuate between scenes. The 32FD9954 looks great despite an average 400:1 contrast ratio.

One thing the 32FD9954 is certainly not lacking is AV inputs/outputs. In the rear the 32FD9954 has multiple component video inputs, s-video and hi-def 1080i inputs. On the front the 32FD9954 has both S-Video  and CVBS video inputs as well as head phone jack. Check out the complete features on page 2. We had no problems switching between the multiple video and audio connections using various video/audio sources. If you have never hooked up a computer to a plasma television, you are in for a real treat. Playing Unreal Tournament on the 1024×852 pixel set was nothing short of stunning. Playing Microsoft’s Xbox at HDTV resolutions was even more enjoying.

Conclusion

While the Philips 32″ 32FD9954 has above average picture quality for a plasma set in this price range, the lack of advanced features without the FTR9964 E-Box Receiver is very disappointing because it raises the price of the 32FD9954 setup significantly. Despite a lack luster remote control and some brightness control issues, the beautiful display makes the 32FD9954 a contender in the 32″plasma market. Add the Philip’s Samurai stand to the great looking 32FD9954 and watch television in real style.