Philips to intro first 4K AmbiLux TV, plans OLED launch, pronounces 3D dead

posted on Friday, 19th February 2016 by Steve May

4K  HDR 

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Philips (TP Vision) announced a raft of new UHD TVs at its annual product showcase in Brussels yesterday, including its first AmbiLux screen (pictured above). The brand has long sold variations of Ambilight, which uses LED lighting to cast colourful swathes on the wall behind a TV, but AmbiLux goes several stages beyond that. A hub of nine Pico projectors (see below) simulcast what’s actually being broadcast on the set across the wall behind it. The projection is deliberately fuzzy and can be filtered for different effects, from soft to blocky. The effect is extraordinary. Quite apart from the Aurora Borealis light show, gaming is said to be more immersive and music is a natural partner – lights can flash to the beat if you want to hold a full-on rave.

The first 4K AmbiLux TV will launch in the UK this March, sized at 65-inches. Distribution is via a single retail outlet, as yet unannounced. We reckon if you think Really Posh Shop you won’t be far wrong. Price to be confirmed, but it will probably be “below £5000” suggests TPV UK MD Graham Speake.

Philips also confirmed that it will be launching an OLED screen later in the year, most probably at IFA. The panel will be a flat 55-incher, says product specialist Danny Tack. The brand has been cautious about OLED in the past, but it says the latest generation of panels have resolved many of its reservations, including OLED’s ability to deliver deep reds.

Pico Projection

7000 Series _enhanced

In the meantime, of the new 4K sets landing this year, HDR compatibility is available on 6000 series models upwards, but there are considerable differences in spec and performance. All the sets are HDR10 compatible, and all bar one of the 4K models features Ambilight. Perhaps the most interesting is the 7601 series, which boasts highly effective 2D local dimming which utilises a direct dimmable backlight divided into 128 separate, independent zones, for deep black performance and halo-management. Previously this was only found on flagship 9000 range, which was never available in the UK (7601 pictured above, right, against a 2015 model).

The new 6101, 6401, 6501, 7101 and 7601 series are scheduled for the  second quarter of 2016, with the start of the Euros a key deadline. The 8601 series, launched at IFA last year, will shortly receive an HDR firmware update and boasts a peak light output of 700nits. The step-down 7601 series has a peak light output of 600nits, while the 7101 is a 400 nit display. However the 6401 and 6501 are 350nit/400nit peak displays respectively.

Philips says it will be planning to make much of its HDR upscaling technology for SDR sources. Early demonstrations of this looked highy impressive. The majority of Philips smart sets will continue to support Android TV.

However, when Inside CI asked which of the new screens will be 3D compatible, Tack replied: “None of them. 3D is dead. Even LG, which has invested billions in its Film Patterned Retarder, is dropping it. There is no consumer demand.” Similarly, Philips has no curved panels, although it will offer a sku for China and South America. “In Europe it’s dying,” we were told.

Steve May

Steve is a veteran of the UK consumer electronics industry, having covered it for
various media outlets for more than 20 years.

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