Philips 32PFL5332D/37

Philips 32PFL5332D/37 HDTV

March 20, 2009


Today I am reviewing a Philips 32PFL5332D/37 HDTV, which is a 32" 720p LCD television. Not generally known for manufacturing high-end televisions and a brand name you typically see in giant chain stores like Kmart and Walmart that cater to the masses, I decided to see what this HDTV offers for my money. Out of the box I was greeted by a neatly designed set with a glossy black plastic bezel and a swiveling aluminum stand on a black, glass base. The glass base is a particularly nice touch. It is a quarter inch thick and very sturdy. Glass also won't scratch easily unlike the plastic bezel which will leave permanent scuff marks when you wipe it clean. The swiveling stand, although nice, could use a few more degrees of rotation for easier access to the back. As it is I believe it has 50° of side-to-side rotation. The stereo speakers sit just below the bezel.




For connection there is an assortment provided that come standard on most HDTV sets these days: HDMI, Component, RCA, S-Video and Coaxial. One notable input is a USB media port where you can connect any USB storage device and view JPEG images or play mp3 audio directly off it. Now, everything would be well if it weren't for the fact that all the connections on the back side are pointed downwards as opposed to simply pointing backwards where they are easily visible. In the current configuration you have to crouch down and look up to see the connections. I just found it to be unnecessary.




Performance wise it performed well. Viewing angles are OK but suffered from color shifting and black-levels fall off when viewed at extreme angles. Even though the specs says viewing angles are 176° I'd say it's more like 160° both horizontally and vertically. I tested the HD features using QAM and ATSC and it passed exceptionally well with sharp and detailed videos. There were no discernable differences when viewing HD signals with either connections. To be honest, even though this TV is only capable of up to 720p it looks very good and I sometimes forget that fact when watching 1080p contents. Non-HD video on the other hand looked like crap as expected. This is not necessarily a fault of the TV as other HDTVs I’ve tested render Non-HD video just as poorly. I still prefer old analog TVs when watching non-HD content. They're more forgiving to compression artifacts and generally look much sharper as well. Noise filtering and mpeg artifact reduction can be enabled in the menu and does help a little bit.

When it comes to tweaking the video and audio this TV certainly gives you ample control and far exceeded my expectations. I was truly quite surprised in the amount of control given to the user. In fact there are more settings you can play with than on more expensive TVs I have. The menu is well organized with a nice, simple interface, but can be confusing at first because the menu directory can go four deep with sub-menus underneath sub-menus. Thankfully navigation is responsive. The remote control is pretty basic, however.


The audio is not great. It is a stereo speaker but surround sound simulation can be enabled in the menu. But my main complaint is that audio sounded claustrophobic. It lacked in mid to high frequencies but this can be compensated to a degree with some tweaking of the user configurable five band equalizer.

Overall, the Philips 32PFL5332D/37 is a nice 32” HDTV that won’t cost you dearly.

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