Originally Posted by blstanle
A couple of questions for you 42PF9631 owners:
1) How is the sound quality on the built-in speakers (I don't plan to add an external audio system)?
I use external sound and haven't heard them yet, sorry can't help you there.
2) How are the stretch modes compared to other brands?
In my opinion, nobody beats it. I have only "real" experience with an LG LCD RP and SONY 32" LCD panel, and both PALE in comparison.
What makes the Philips great at it, I think, is it looks like they keep the middle of the picture closer to the original aspect, and as you move to the outter edges, the picture distorts a little more. Because most of the main viewing is in the middle area of the screen, I hardly even notice that it's stretched, it's THAT GOOD. (that's just my opinion on how it's done - not technical, or correct in any way, just how I perceive it)
3) Can the TV be setup to always stretch 4:3 content to full screen by default so the user does not have to worry about it?
The AUTOMATIC function is great and I leave it on that most of the time, but I do have a few gripes about it. Sometimes, in my STB channel guide, or in other settings, it stretches too much as to lose some text above and below, or other times, it stretches up, and then back down as commercials change. It's a slight annoyance. It seems to act on colours detected, and not the video feed. I've seen while watching SDTV, it super-stretches durring a dark scene because the TV can't differentiate where the actual screen starts and ends. When it brightens up again, we're looking at the pores of some actors face. But that has only happened a few times. Also, the automatic results in less picture distortion than forcing it to fill using the 16:9 setting when viewing SDTV.
4) Why did you choose this model over the Panny 60U everyone seems to love?
Honestly, the salesman where we purchased it. He had great praise about Philips as a company and the technology and research that they have access to, which filters into their TV sets. Also, it was on a big sale from Philips that put it into our budget (my budget, not the wife's!). But I think the deciding factor was just how fantastic the TV handles Standard Definition. Much better than anything we looked at.