Here we found four HDMI inputs, an RGB input, PC audio input (for use with HDMI) coaxial TV in, a USB input and, rather oddly, a removable Wi-Fi adapter inserted into a dedicated slot. More strangely than that, however, is Philips’ decision to place the component video, A/V and LAN inputs facing outward on the back panel. That means anyone planning to use those types of connections will have a tough time mounting this set to the wall with shallow mounting hardware.
We also found Philips’ choice to use a coaxial digital audio output rather than the far more common optical type rather interesting. Finally, we had a little bit of difficulty inserting our HDMI cable into the downward facing HDMI input in one of the recessed bays. Our HDMI cable has a fairly thick strain relief section that made wrangling the cable into place a little tough.
Those with ultra-thick cables may find the task nearly impossible. With so many strong options in this size and feature segment, Philips needs to provide a product that either out-performs, out-features or out-prices the competition. Unfortunately, we don’t feel the 55PLF4706/F7does any of those things.
Media Connect, while a fun concept, just doesn’t seem that practical considering there are other options available that offer similar functionality. The limited control of the set’s picture quality was also a big problem for us, and Philips’ selection of connected apps was muddled and missing major players like YouTube. While the 55PLF4706/F7does have some redeeming features, it lags behind competitors at this very crowded price point.
Highs: At just over 33 pounds, setting up the 55PLF4706/F7can be a one-person affair. Lifting the TV from its packaging was easy enough, as was installing its stand. 65 (H x W x D, in inches) without the stand, making it nice and slim.
We had high hopes for Philips Media Connect, but difficulty getting it to stream smooth HD video to our TV via Wi-Fi. We must concede that the wireless routers in our office are not ideal for such high bit-rate activity, especially considering the amount of traffic they deal with. We will say that the 55PLF4706/F7seems to pull in Wi-Fi signals pretty well, and didn’t have trouble locking in with our router and, provided the router it connects to is Wireless N, this feature should work pretty well.
Ultimately, we had to connect both our laptop and the TV via Ethernet cable to get the service to work and, once we did, it was smooth sailing. Unfortunately, copy-protected DVDs and Blu-ray discs cannot be played over Media Connect, so bear that in mind. This service is best used for more convenient access to video files, audio files, YouTube and other Web video.
We think the real benefit here is that it is faster than DLNA and doesn’t require the use of a USB thumb drive. The question: Does Philips hit that crucial mix of performance, value and specialized feature combinations with its 55PLF4706/F740-inch LED backlit LCD TV? Read on to find out. Out of the box First, the good points when it comes to picture: Despite not having a backlight control, we found that the 55PLF4706/F7did a great job waging war against bright ambient light.
Its matte-finished screen and vibrant picture kept the image from being washed out under the pressure of our bright-room testing. We imagine this TV will stand out from the crowd when placed on a merchant’s wall with dozens of competing models. Unfortunately, we find that sort of attribute loses its appeal quickly once the set has been home for a while.
Aesthetically speaking, the 55PLF4706/F7doesn’t make any major fashion statements. Both the TV’s bezel and the stand’s corners are smoothly rounded and made of glossy black plastic that look nice enough, but have a sort of cheap feel to them. The back panel is made of a resilient resin.
We should note here that we were perplexed when we learned that the TV’s stand can not be swiveled.