26" LCD TVs: Are They Ready for Prime Time?

Philips 26PF9946/12 

This Philips is the screen for you fans of Star Trek and Cosmos 1999. The curvilinear design, shiny white plastic, and remote control with transparent panel all bring a breath of fresh air and a pleasing nostalgic touch to LCD TV design. But still, it takes more than a catchy design to convince us.

Note that unfortunately, as of the time that this review is published, the Philips is not yet available in the US.

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Philips 26PF9946/12
Diagonal measurement26"
Native resolution1366x768
Brightness400 nits
Latency16 ms
Colors16.2 M
H/V Viewing angles176/176
Connectivity3 Peritel, cinch, S-Video, DVI
PC connectivity and convergenceDVI
Average price1,450 € (not available in US)

Design And Finish

The design is bound to grab you one way or the other. LCD TVs are usually are flat and angular, so Philips is giving the genre a bit of a kick with this curvaceous design. The white-and-aluminum finish is surprising, but not unpleasant. To me this TV has a kitschy quality that's very charming. Of course, that's my personal opinion, but Philips does deserve credit for departing from the beaten path. Whether or not you like 1970s retro is another matter!

As for the finish, it's a bit of a disappointment. The white plastic is too thin and breakable. Removing the ventilation screens behind the set to reach the connectors was no fun at all; we were afraid of breaking them. And this kind of shiny plastic, very much in vogue on many IT products, scratches very easily. It's too bad that the finish isn't up to the level of the design.


The Philips 26PF9946/12's remote control is fairly easy to use. It's compact and well designed. In its center is an odd transparent area with the Philips logo. Okay, why not? The menus are fairly intuitive and well arranged. They don't have too many types of adjustments, probably to avoid confusing the average user. Physically, the panel has a tilt adjustment and can pivot, but it could use a little more stability - after adjustment, it swayed on its base for a few seconds. Not the best choice if you live close to the railroad tracks...