Philips 30PF9946/12: 16 Ms... Sometimes
The Philips 30PF9946/12 did test out at 16 ms by the ISO standard measurement, but its latency was more than 30 ms for a black/gray transition. That's not very good. Compared to the other sets we tested, the responsiveness of the Philips 30PF9946/12 lagged behind.
Despite the higher latency, video was smooth enough. It still wasn't as good as on the ViewSonic N3200W, though. Images from a DVD player lacked a little in the sharpness department, but the quality was good enough for broadcast reception. The blacks, while not as good as on competing 26", were fairly deep, especially compared to the Toshiba, for example. Viewing angles were comfortable.
At first, the interpolation seemed better on the Philips 30PF9946/12 than on the competing sets. However, the images lacked sharpness. This is a trick manufacturers often use to hide the stair step effect caused by scaling. So far, only Sharp and Samsung, on their 26" sets, have shown convincing scaling solutions.
We didn't run into any particular difficulties with connecting the set to a PC. And as usual, the computer did a much better job of interpolation.
The sound produced by the Philips 30PF9946/12 is average for the sets we tested for this article, and no better.
The bottom line is that the Philips 30PF9946/12 is average in all departments. It's not really aggressive design-wise, or from the point of view of performance. The responsiveness was a bit slow, but not inordinately. The colors were not very faithful, but the black was decent; interpolation was sufficiently good but gave the impression that the focus is soft. In short, Philips seems to have avoided taking any risks with this set, and as a result there were no surprises. I would have preferred a slightly more specialized product that does one thing well, rather than a set that does everything with average performance.