Not all of the 9 series are bad. The 30 and 34 in 3xPW981x models are some of Philips best CRT HD sets around. They are all older models and if you find one for a good deal, I wouldn't hesitate to get it. In particular, the 9819 model stands above all the rest because it has a DVI input. These older sets from Philips do some amazing things with analog content. They have a feature called PixelPlus that doubles the horizontal and vertical resolution of analog source material, including 480i dvd input. These sets also have something called DigitalNaturalMotion that does a great job at deinterlacing the picture. These two things combined made these sets hard to beat when it came to and HD set displaying analog content. Many people who have these sets prefer to leave their dvd player in interlace mode and have the TV do its magic on the signal because it looks that much better.
The newer 9 series (91x0d) are no where near the calibure of the older sets. The 8 series (8520, 850h, 8420, 8402, 8502, and 862h) are all similar though some are better than others. The newest one is probably the best, the 8420. The 8402 and 8502 are almost identical feature wise, where the 8502 has the same cabinet design as the 8420 and the 8402 has the same cabinet design as the 862h. The 850 and 862 are very similar internally, except that the 862 has a dvi port. The 8520 is an old set that I don't know much about. I would help if Philips had a more understandable numbering scheme.
You can browse most of Philips sets here:http://www.p4c.philips.com/files/3/
This is a world wide listing where 32" and 36" widescreen sets are european sets that would be labeld a 30" and 34" here in the states (viewable size, not actual size). Most of the sets have either the instructions or pamplets to look through.
oh yeah, if you do want to get an old 9 series, keep and eye on this page:http://www.electronicsnation.com/en/...ct/category/70
Every once in a while one will show up there. That site is an official Philips site for selling refurb tvs and they come with (I believe) the same warranty as a new set. Some have had bad luck with them because they are mail order and if you get a lemon, then it can take a while to get things sorted out.