* Prices may differ from that shown
Our front room isn't the largest in the world, so when we moved in we wanted a television that wasn't too large and overpowering for the room. I really don't like massive televisions in small rooms as I think they look a little daft and hurt your eyes after a while. As such we were impressed when we saw the Philips 26PF4310 on sale at our local Comet store.
Now it should be pointed out that we bought this television 5 years ago now, and we paid £400 at the time. As technology has moved on since then, I have now seen this television available online for around £250. Again on the issue of technology, this television was designed before the digital switchover, and as such isn't equipped with built in freeview, so you will either need stand alone freeview, or some form of paid digital service such as Sky to get any use out of this television. The television is high definition ready however, so you can happily use it to watch high definition digital services, or attach a blu-ray player to it.
The Philips 26PF4310 is, as the model name would suggest is a 26 inch television, which by today's standards is not the largest on the market by some distance. However what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in performance. It fits perfectly into the corner of our small living room, and the picture quality is very sharp indeed, even watching standard definition television. Its an LCD television, which I think is a good all purpose option, as it doesn't suffer from any annoying jerky images as some of the plasma screens do, and has the convenience of not having the large back as traditional old style sets do. The television has 2 scart sockets to the rear, which means I can have both my Sky box and blu-ray player connected to it at all times, which makes it very convenient for me as I hate scrabbling around down the back of the television to change cables over. I'm not going to go into reams of technical data here as I don't think it is particularly relevant to the majority of consumers, and this is all available on their website anyway, and to be honest I've not got the foggiest what half of it means anyway! I will however say that it is suitable to be connected up as a monitor for most modern PC's, with either a VGA or a DVI connection available, and the picture quality of this is up to the same standards, although I personally don't really use this feature very much. It is also possible to configure it in picture in picture mode, which means you can watch the television as you use it as a PC monitor. A nice feature, but one that would drive me mad and annoy the hell out of me to be honest!
The set up of this television is very straightforward, with it just being a case of plugging in the power cable, your digital provider and turning it on via a small button on the top. The joys of no analogue signal, is not having to tune your television in, but you will have to decide on which aspect ratio you go for, with widescreen and cinema options available, as well as the more traditional 4:3 and 16:9. Its worth making sure that you are set up the same as your digital service, as for me Sky can look pretty weird under the wrong setting. The actual changing of the options such as contrast, brightness etc are performed using the stylish looking remote control. The remote is white on the reverse and grey on the front, and is quite small, which gives it its stylish look but makes it very easy to lose down the back of the sofa! The usual selections of buttons are present, with volume and channel control as well as switching between the scart sockets. I find that I only ever use the remote these days to switch between the blu-ray, Sky or my Nintendo Wii. I'm happy with my picture settings and so everything else that the remote can do is pretty much covered by my Sky remote. As I said earlier, the picture quality of the television is superb, clear and sharp, with no interference even close up and it's just as good on high definition settings from the blu-ray player as it is on standard channels. This television might be too small for some, but you certainly can't quibble about picture standards. The speakers are attractively attached to the side of the television, and unlike some other models, don't stick out like a sore thumb. They blend into the rest of the set effortlessly, which adds to the styling of the model. There are no other speakers to position around the room, so the sound quality is obviously not as cinematic as some more expensive televisions, but on the other hand, you don't have the clutter of other speakers to position. The sound is virtual Dolby surround, and it is more than adequate for a living room television in my opinion. It can get really loud on higher settings (0-100), so we set it around the 35 mark which is loud enough for all effects, but not so loud that the next door neighbour is going to start knocking on the door!
I do have a few negative points too, although they are relatively minor to be fair, the first being at the back with the cover that fits over the scart sockets. It is very difficult to refit if you have cables plugged into both of the scart sockets, and as such we leave the cover off. Not a massive inconvenience as it's up against the wall and no one can see it, but it does leave you with a largish piece of plastic to store away somewhere. The second issue is a little bit more annoying to be honest and that is one of the scart sockets is a little bit loose. By this I mean that over a period of time, the plug works itself loose and you can lose the picture. When it first started I thought my eyes were playing up as the colour of the picture started to subtly change, but after a while it will all go weird, and will require you to get up and push the cable back in. Not a massive problem as its only every couple of weeks, but its not something I would expect from a quality brand like Philips. Of course I could just be unlucky and have the one dodgy set, but it is something to take into account.
So to sum this set up, I would say that it is a quality television from a very reputable company in Philips. I've never really had a problem with any of their products in the past, and this television doesn't disappoint. I've never really gone with the whole bigger is better trend with televisions, as I feel that a ridiculously large television in a small room looks a little bit daft, and gives me a headache watching it after a while. This fits perfectly into our small living room, and we don't feel we are missing out not having a larger one. Despite the slightly minor issues regarding the scart sockets and the backing plate, I would heartily recommend this television set to anyone wanting a reasonably sized and priced high definition ready set for a larger bedroom or a smaller living room.
Thanks for reading this and this review may appear on Ciao under my same username.
What a work horse. I have had my Phillips 26PF4310 for 3 years now. Mainly in use for my PC monitor but I have ran nearly every devise that can be plugged in to a TV with NO (oopps I done it now) known faults to date. The phillips 26PF4310 has a simple but effective menu function with facilities like Picture in Picture. This is a handy facility for me as I do use this TV as a PC monitor, which is great as you can watch TV whilst working on the PC. Sound quality is very very impressive for a TV, almost cinema sounding. Picture quality is top notch but as I do use this TV as a monitor it does play on the eyes a bit after constant use. I have ran xbox 360, ps3, cctv, PC, sky etc through this TV and the only bad point I came accross was that some display settings are not supported but this was no BIG problem. It does not come with freeview and there is no HDMI connection but again as it's for my PC this is not a problem. Over all the Phillips LCDTV is a cheap work horse with simplicity at work.