Philips TV and Audio in 2021: Philips is doing well in the current market, perhaps no surprise now that we all spend a lot of extra time at home. Sales increased (year on year) by 3%, and Philips managed to grow its market share in the OLED segment by 20%. Headphone and soundbar sales even doubled. What are the main innovations that we can expect from Philips TV and Audio in 2021?
It looks like we can expect a lot of competition in the Mini-LED segment. After Samsung and LG, Philips is now also announcing Mini-LED models. Bright colors and better black are best experienced on a large screen, according to Philips. That’s why the 9636 (with Bowers & Wilkins sound) and the 9506 will be available in 65 and 75 inches. Who hoped for a 55 inch model, unfortunately.
No surprise, Ambilight remains an important focus for Philips. The campaign to test Ambilight for 30 days with a return guarantee was a success. The highest return percentage was 3% and in three of the eight participating countries the return percentage was even zero.
Good news, more four-sided Ambilight is coming. Anyone who wants to hang their TV on the wall will undoubtedly like to hear that. Five models will be equipped with it: the OLED 856 and 806, the Mini-LED 9636 and 9506 and finally also the 9206.
Headphones and earphones
The new GO range of earphones is fully aimed at the sporty types. The True wireless A7306 earbuds have a sturdy 9mm driver, a heart rate monitor, are IP57 water resistant and come in a handy case with UV cleaning. The new A6606 series are ‘bone conducting’, sound is produced in your jawbone via vibration. So nothing in your ears, so you can safely hear the world around you. For TV viewers, there is the H6206, with supplied USB Bluetooth dongle.
The One and sound bars
Philips has had considerable success with its ‘The One to watch’ campaign for midrange Performance models. Naturally, it wants to continue embroidering on that. There will be a soundbar that fits perfectly. The B8505 with Dolby Atmos, DTS Play-Fi, Google, Alexa and Bluetooth. For OLED customers looking for an upgrade, there is the Fidelio B97 soundbar: IMAX enhanced, Dolby Atmos and DTS: X, and of course DTS Play-Fi and Google.
Philips renews its partnership with Rakuten TV. Buyers of an Ambilight TV can count on ten free films. There is also a partner on the way for the sports fans, and if we are to believe the hints, that seems to be about Formula 1.
Let’s face it, the Philips workshops on image quality were always very informative, especially since demos were often given to illustrate new techniques. In a virtual session this turns out to be considerably more difficult. But we did learn a lot of interesting details.
The Mini-LED TVs will be available at the end of June and will occupy a place between the current top LCD models and the OLED models. You can therefore expect that they will be cheaper for the same screen size than an OLED model. But what performance do you get for it?
The 9506 series offers 1024 local dimming zones and a maximum brightness of 1,500 nits. The 9636 even goes up to 2,000 nits. The devices also use a VA panel and quantum dot technology, in the form of the usual QDEF (quantum dot enhancement film) and deliver one color gamut of 95% DCI-P3. Those are already quite impressive numbers. Of course the TVs support all HDR standards: HDR10, HLG, HDR10 + and Dolby Vision.
But Philips claims that the 9506 will also have the best motion sharpness an LCD TV has ever had. Certainly something that we will be happy to test.
With the OLED models, it is striking that Philips now also offers both the larger and smaller sizes. The OLED806 will be available in 48, 55, 65 and 77 inches. The slender feet are made of half in light silver and half in dark silver. This way you can choose which style you prefer.
In terms of image quality, we especially like to see the addition of Fast Motion Clarity. Judging from the explanation, this appears to be the Philips version of a variable Black Frame Insertion technology that works at 100Hz, as we saw on the models from LG, Sony and Panasonic last year. This will be adjustable in Off, Low, High or AI, with AI varying between the low and high setting based on how much movement is detected in it.
The OLED806 would use the same panels as last year, but Philips did mention that the new OLED 9 series, which will traditionally be available towards the end of the year, would use the new LG EVO panel.
The OLED806 is equipped with the latest P5 AI processor. It therefore also has the Anti-burnin technology that we first saw on the OLED935 last year. Finally, the new models are also Calman Ready and can therefore be automatically calibrated. The latter also applies to the MiniLED TVs.
The new P5 AI
Every year, Philips adds new functionalities to its P5 processor. The AI software that is responsible for the detection of the type of image has been expanded with a sixth category (Film), in addition to the five already existing (landscape / nature, face / skin color, movement / sports, dark / contrast and other). The P5 optimizes all further operations based on the type of image detected by the processor. By now also detecting films, he can also offer you as a viewer to immediately change the image mode, for example to Filmmaker Mode.
The only other improvement that Philips explained was the light meter. That information is now also taken into account by the P5, both for SDR and HDR it can adjust the edits to improve the contrast based on the ambient light.
HDMI 2.1 and gaming
Gamers can also be eager with impatience. It seems that Philips will actually offer all important features in 2021. The HDMI connections on the MiniLED and OLED models will HDMI 2.1 versions (we suspect two of the four connections). They offer 48Gbps bandwidth and therefore support 4K120. In addition, they are equipped with VRR (including Freesync Premium Pro), ALLM and eARC. In addition, there is also support for it HGiG (the gaming HDR standard) and the input lag would have dropped to 18ms.
Philips TV and Audio in 2021 – Conclusion
What do we remember from this introduction? The new Mini-LED models look very attractive, although the price remains to be seen. We also regret that there is no 55-inch model. In addition, in addition to relatively small improvements in the P5, Philips has given its OLED models and its Mini-LED models everything that we sometimes complained about last year. Improved motion sharpness, expanded HDMI 2.1 functionality, better input lag. A recipe for very attractive TVs that we will be happy to test.