Philips Clears Up Its LCD TVs

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At least week’s CEDIA trade show, Philips took the wraps off two new 42-inch ClearLCD LCD televisions which combine the company’s color processing and adjustable backlighting technology with an industry-leading 4ms response time and the company’s AmbiLight feature which “draws the viewer into the screen.” The only thing missing? Native 1080p resolution.

“ClearLCD technology represents years of intensive research and engineering that has resulted in the finest LCD picture imaginable,” said Scott Levitan, Philips North America’s senior VP of marketing and sales, in a statement. “Contrast, sharpness and black levels have evolved to unprecedented levels. Every detail, whether it’s an action scene in a film or a basketball player racing down the court, is clear and dazzling.”

The two new screens—the 42PF9731D and the 42PF9831D—sport 16:9 aspect ratios, dynamic contrast ratios of 4,500:1, brightness levels of 550 cd/m2, and native resolutions of 1,366 by 768 pixels: that’s enough to do up to 1080i at 60 Hz (and, natch, lower resolution formats like 480i, 480p, 720p, and 1080i) but it won’t support the full 1080p so-craved by the high-definition home theater crowd. But, the units support other handy faetures, like a USB connection, 7-in-1 media card reader (SD, Smart mMedia, CF I and II, Memory Stick, Microdrive, and MMC) for displaying home photos and videos, and the systems will play MP3 audio, .alb slideshows, and display JPGs. The units also sport two HDMI inputs, component video in, S/PDIF, built-in tuners (ATSC, QAM, and NTSC)—plus they’re CableCard-ready. Add built-in speakers (two 12 watt units and a single 24 watt woofer on the 42PF9831D, two 15 watt speakers on the 42PF9731D) and you’re good to go.

And let’s not forget AmbiLight: the 42PF9831D supports Ambilight Full Surround, while the 42PF9731D offers AmbiLight Surround. The basic idea behind AmbiLight is that the displays analyze the signals going to the display in real time and project lighting on the surface behind the display, “enveloping” the television’s environment in colors which match the television content. Aside from looking cool—so long as you have a neutral-colored wall behind your TV—Philips wants you to know research shows AmbiLight may reduce eyestrain. Because, obviously, you watch so much TV eyestrain is a problem. Ambilight 2 Channel projects light to just the left and right; AmbiLight Surround gets you left, right, and top; while AmbiLight Full Surround is the full monty: left, right, top, and bottom.

The 42PF9731D and the 42PF9831D are available now at suggested retail prices of $2,699 and $3,499, respectively.

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