My Father in Law recently became a resident in a Memory Care Facility. He has his own bedroom and we wanted to get him a TV so that he could have something to watch while he is in his room. I did not want to spend a lot of money because he has a pretty negative attitude about pretty much everything so I did not want to bring in the highest quality TV I could find only to hear him say he didn’t like it. I figured if I bought the cheapest one and he didn’t like it then I would not be upset by it.
Why I picked the Philips 32″ TV
I did not have a lot of time to research and just needed to get something quickly. I knew we wanted a 32″ TV so when I was shopping at Meijer for a dresser for him I went to the TV department and looked at what they had in the 32″ TVs. Frankly the Philips was the cheapest of all of them but I could not tell a difference in the picture, in fact I thought it had a nicer picture than some of the other more expensive TVs. This one was 720p and you really could not tell the difference between it and some of the 1080 sets. I think a lot of it has to do with the source of whatever they are running though it. Also I think that the difference becomes more evident in a larger screen but the 32″ was not large enough to show the differences.
Next I figured I would turn up the volume to make sure it was clear. I knew that my Father in Law would certainly not be hooking it up to a sound system so it was important that it had decent speakers. I am not an expert by any means but was just looking to see that the TV was clear and that I could accurately hear voices without any buzzing or static. The sound test seemed fine
The next thing that I looked at just to make sure was that it had a sturdy base since it would be sitting on a dresser in a Memory Care Center. I felt it was steady on it’s base and I was glad to see that they had included holes (and later found out they included screws) to attach the base to a solid surface. I am not sure if we will end up doing that but I was thinking that if I got him a swivel base that it might be something I would want to do in the future.
After I had decided this was the TV that we wanted I talked to the sales clerk and asked her if they had them in stock. She told me that this is a very popular TV so she would check. Luckily they did have one. The price was $279 She told me that the TV is often on sale and they usually run out when they are on sale but told me to bring back my receipt within the month if the TV did go on sale they would refund the difference. The TV seemed like a good deal as is and if we get more back later it will just be gravy.
Packaging and unpacking
It has been a few years since we have purchased a new TV and I have to say that they are getting thinner and thinner. The box was just over 6″ thick, 37.5″ wide by 24″ tall. The box fit nicely with room to spare in the back seat of our Honda Civic. I know in years past they had so much packaging that the box would be way bigger than the TV but they have done such a nice job compacting the packaging that it makes it easier to bring one home in your small car. The weight listed on the box for the whole unit with packaging is 23.81 pounds which I found easy to manage by myself with the two punched in handles located on each side.
On the outside of the box was a diagram that told you which side to open and the best way to get the TV out of the box. I appreciated this since I was unpacking it in my Father in Laws room at the Memory Care. The only thing that would have been nice on the box would have been a notation letting me know that I was going to need a Phillips head screw driver. I did not bring any tools which was probably my own fault but I really was thinking that the base snapped in or something like that.
Once I opened the box on the correct side and removed the base and a bag with the instructions as indicated on the box it was very easy to slide the TV out with the foam packaging still on it. I was able to do this without help. The TV itself was wrapped in plastic with a film loosely applied to the screen and frame. I appreciate that this was there to protect it until I got it setting up on the dresser.
What is in the box
Inside the box besides a foam casing that fully supported the TV was the TV, the plastic base, an instruction booklet, 3 smaller Phillips head screws to attach the base to the TV and 2 larger ones to attach the base to a solid surface. There was also a remote and two batteries for that.
Basic Look of the TV: The Philips 32PFL3506 is a 32″ LCD TV with a black low profile frame and a black base. The screen has somewhat of a mat finish which I liked because then if there is a light on or the sun is coming in the window it is less likely to cause a glare.
Size: The TV measures 30.65″ Wide, 3.75″ deep, and 20.25 inches tall. This measurement excludes the stand. The stand adds about 2 additional inches in height. The footprint of the stand is 15.51″ wide and 7.44″ from front to back. The Stand protrudes to the back slightly more than the front I am guessing to balance the weight.
Buttons and the Remote: There are buttons on the right side of the TV to turn it on and off and access the menu volume and channel selector. These same things can be done on the remote more easily. I used the remote for that reason. I did notice one thing and that was that if you did not point the remote right at the lighted on off indicator that it would not work. I would guess from that experience that the sensor for the remote is located near the light. The buttons on the remote were easy to find and press. The instructions did give you the basics on the remote functions and the TV will tell you which button to press to do what you want. So the on screen menu functions actually help you to know how to use the remote for set up and changing settings.
On the box: On the front of the box it states that the set is Digital Crystal Clear, with Incredible Surround Sound. Also Dolby Digital with HDMI x3 with easy link. It also has TV PC-In, and Settings Assistant.
Connections: I just used the cable from the cable box to connect the TV but there were several other connections. I did copy the specs from the web to hopefully give my readers all the info they need. Under the specs I added the manufacturers website. If anyone is interested I would be willing to get a photo of the back connections and upload the picture just let me know in the comments section if you would like to have a visual of the connections or anything else on the TV for that matter.
Warranty: The TV comes with a 1 yr warranty. We did not purchase an additional warranty as we normally do not purchase them and I think if you add up all the amounts for warranties on everything it would be more money that just purchasing no additional warranties and taking your chances. Most stores offer additional warranty coverage so if you are interested in that perhaps check with the stores as some are better than others and costs vary widely.
If you want to read the technical specs please visit the Philips website at http://www.usa.philips.com/
Instructions: I have to point out that the instruction booklet was pretty much worthless except for the basics of getting the stand on to the TV. I was hooking the TV up to a Cable Box and besides a diagram to show me how to hook them up, I could not find anything to help with the on screen set up in this application. I was a little frustrated when I had a problem and looked for a troubleshooting section only to find that it linked me to a website. I was setting this up in a Memory Care Facility and had no web access except my phone and did not want to try to find the info on my tiny iPhone screen. A little troubleshooting and information in the actual booklet would have been appreciated. The booklet was quite thick but only because it was printed in several languages.
Set Up: Putting the TV together was rather simple, just requiring a phillips screwdriver to attach three screws on the base to the TV. There are also two larger screws that we can use to attach the base to the top of my Father in Laws dresser but we are going to leave that for now as the TV seems secure and his dresser is tall enough that I doubt it will get bumped. After I had the TV on the Stand I simply screwed in the cable from the cable box right into the cable outlet on the back of the TV. There were several other connection ports that I did not need to use.
The actual set up process could have been more detailed. As you run through a screen that asks you how the TV is connected, Cable or antenna it then wants to search for channels. Since we were using a set top cable box I knew we were going to put the TV on Channel 3 so did not see the point of waiting several minutes for it to scan for all the channels that it was not going to find. The set up should have differentiated between being hooked up directly to cable and hooking up through a set top box because the procedure would be different. I will admit that I did not let it go through the entire scan for a channel but did let it go for awhile and channel 3 never came up so I hit menu to skip that portion of the set up, thinking I would manually put it on channel 3.
After the beginning of the set up there is a place where it shows you five pictures and you are supposed to say whether the left or right half looked better. This was pretty worthless because the left and right were not mirror images of each other. Nice idea but they need identical pictures on each side for it to really be of any help. I frankly could not pick which side looked better with any accuracy, so I just picked one randomly and got on with the set up.
After this I switched the TV to channel 3 and there was a decent picture. So I figured I had been successful. WRONG. When I turned the TV off and then on again I was back to the set up screen. I went through this several times and looked at the book where I got no help and then finally while combing through the optional settings I found where I could manually add a channel, so I added channel 3 and saved it. After that the TV came on correctly.
Settings: If you hit menu you can set up a few things. First off it will ask you if the TV is in a Commercial or Residential setting. I guess if you are putting it in a store then it will not allow consumers to be messing with the settings but in the Home setting obviously the user can. There are settings to change brightness and contrast on the picture, in several different ways. I did not alter anything because I felt the picture looked fine as it was. There are also sound settings if you do not like the way the TV sounds. There are a few presets for different applications but I just left it on the default setting as it sounded fine to me and did not want to mess with it further and perhaps cause myself additional problems. The settings were easy to and intuitive and once you have set them up they will stick the next time you turn on the TV. So hopefully you will only have to do the set up once. Once was certainly more than enough for me.
Using the remote: Besides for the basic set up we will not be using the remote. It was a smallish remote and functioned well as long as you were point it directly at the on off indicator lights. I programmed the remote that goes to the cable box so that the TV remote will not be needed at all except to change settings. I thought it was nice that the TV came with the batteries necessary to operate the remote control.
Picture size settings: The TV can be switched to five different aspect ratios depending on what you have coming in. If you are getting HD TV in then you can just set it on normal but if you are getting a smaller picture you can stretch it out to fill the screen in four different ways.
Picture Quality: I thought that the picture quality that I saw in the store was much better than what I saw on my Father in Laws TV but I also understand that they only have basic cable on the set top. The basic cable has no HD channels. If I was using the TV myself with the basic channel line up I would probably just put the cable directly into the TV but I think there might be some missing channels this way and a lot of duplicates. I felt that this would be too confusing for my Father in Law so I decided to sacrifice the picture quality for an easier channel changing experience. Also the remote for the cable seemed like it might be easier to manage and also he would not be able to accidentally change settings on the TV if he never had the TV remote.
Anyway I guess you have to be aware that the picture quality is only going to be as good as the source of video that you are putting in to the TV. They have Comcast cable and apparently their basic set top boxes leave a little to be desired. Be assured though that if you improve what you are bringing in you will get a nicer picture. Noting this made me glad I did not pay more for a better picture because I was still only going to get what the crummy cable box was dishing out. So before choosing a picture consider what sort of signal you are putting into the TV.
Sound Quality: I have to say that I am not much of a critic on the sound. I know that the TV has speakers since I can hear the sound but I could not even tell where it was coming from. The best I could tell was maybe from the bottom part of the TV. The sound seemed fine for normal use. It does state on the box that it has surround sound but frankly I think this is just some sort of gimmick or setting to mimic surround sound because my understanding would be that you would need separate speakers placed around the room to get true surround sound. Maybe that was what they were talking about, that if you hooked up these extra speakers you could get that sort of sound. Of course since the instruction booklet did not have much information I was left guessing and since the sound seemed fine for my Father in Laws normal TV watching I thought it would work out great for him. The sound did not seem to distort at higher volumes but again I did not crank it all the way up because I am not sure they would go for that in the Memory Care Facility.
Value for the Money: For what we paid this TV seemed to be a great Value for the money. It seemed to be versatile enough and have enough connections for anything you might want to do. It will do a lot of things that we will never even use but to think that you can get a name brand decent HD TV in a 32″ screen for less than $300 seems like a deal to me.
Durability: Since we just purchased the TV I can not say how it will hold up over time but will check back in a few months to add that.
My father in laws thoughts: After I set up the TV I came back a few days later and asked him how he liked the TV. As usually he focused on problems that really have nothing to do with the TV. I think that the care giver turned the TV off and it only shut off the box so the TV was still on. I am going to switch the TV cable box to the side where the TV sensor is so that hopefully when they hit the switch it will turn them both on and off. Other than that he did not note anything about the TV so I was glad that I did not spend a lot for features he would never even notice.
I debated on giving the TV 3 stars because it really is just an average TV and nothing special. Had I paid more for the TV I would have stuck with that rating but since the TV was so cheap and also because I think it might have a better picture if we had hooked it up to a different source I am giving it 4 stars.