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Review: Philips 55OLED804 / 12 (OLED804 series) Ultra HD OLED TV

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The Philips 55OLED804 / 12 has everything to become a great successor to the OLED803. Philips ’third generation P5 processor guarantees handsome image results and now also provides Dolby Vision support in addition to HDR10 +. In addition, you get a powerful audio solution, three-sided Ambilight, and the most recent Android version. And for a great price.

Philips 55OLED804 / 12 – specifications

  • What: Ultra HD OLED TV
  • Screen size: 55 inch (155 cm), flat
  • Connections: 4x HDMI (ARC, ALLM ), 1x component video, 1x stereo cinch, 1x optical digital out, 2x USB, 1x headphone, 3x antenna, Bluetooth
  • Extras: HDR10, HDR10 +, Dolby Vision, HLG, WiFi (802.11ac 2 × 2) built-in, Android TV (9.0 Pie), USB / DLNA media player, Multiroom (Client / server), dual DVB-T2 / C / S2, CI + slot, 3rd gen P5 processor, three-sided Ambilight
  • Dimensions: 1,228 x 720 x 230 mm (incl. foot)
  • Weight: 22.8 kg (incl. foot)
  • Consumption: 147 / 0.3 watt (Energy rating B)
  • Recommended price: 1.999 euro

A complete overview of all OLED models that Philips launched in 2019 can be found in the 2019 Philips oled TV line-up . Here you will also find the complete specifications per model.

Philips 55OLED804 / 12 – design

The design of its predecessor ( OLED803 ) was largely retained. A super slim OLED screen with a metal edge that bends neatly around the screen from the back. It is an almost invisible frame.

The two bar feet have also remained, they are just made a bit thicker, and have a line motif on the side. The setup remains very sturdy. Alternatively you can opt for the OLED854, which uses a central base, but is otherwise identical.

Like the OLED803, the OLED804 is equipped with a sturdy woofer module that is centrally located in the rear of the TV.

Connections [19659021] The device has four HDMI connections, all ready for Ultra HD and HDR. Just like the other Philips models this year, they are only equipped with ARC and ALLM. In addition, there are two USB connections, wireless and wired network, and Bluetooth (for wireless keyboards, the remote and wireless headphones). A headphone output, digital optical output, component video and stereo cinch input make the list complete.

Three of the four HDMI connections, all USB connections and the headphone output are set aside. The other connections are at the back and point downwards.

Philips 55OLED804 / 12 – ease of use

The 2019 Philips models leave the factory with the latest version of Android TV (9, Pie) on board. The installation is now even easier, linking to a Google account is easy by entering a code on your smartphone on androidtv.com/setup. blonde19659034=ermeer19459021AMermeer19659020MOTOR Remote control1919909021PMPhilips chose a new remote with silver finish. It is very light and the layout of the keys looks pretty busy. He therefore looks a bit cheap. The white inscriptions are almost impossible to read on that silver background under certain lighting conditions.

The keys have a very low profile, but are clearly noticeable and do not require too much pressure. During use, the layout turned out to be less problematic than it looks. At the top you will find buttons for Ambilight, with the quick menu, Google Assistant and the sources from left to right. The Home key is at the center of the d-pad. He was allowed to get an accent so that he stands out more. The Back key and Options key are left and right of it. There are buttons for Netflix, Rakuten TV and the Philips TV apps. The play keys are close to your thumb for easy use. At the rear it has a keyboard.

In short, the remote is not a great example, but it is sufficiently handy. We might have expected a slightly nicer version with a premium OLED model. It works entirely via IR, except of course for the voice commands, which are sent via Bluetooth.

Philips 55OLED804 / 12 – features

Smart TV platform

The 2019 models received a new Android chipset based on the MT5887 , but uses the same quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 with 2.5 GB RAM. It is now equipped with the Mali G51 GPU. The new GPU, together with the new Android version, provides a smoother experience, but the latest Sony models work just a little smoother.

The interface of Android 9 (Pie) is identical to that of Android 8 (Oreo). Content is organized in channels that occupy horizontal rows on the screen. You can adjust or remove these channels yourself.

Via the shortcut menu at the top left you get an alternative way on the screen to select inputs, call up the channel list, or go to the frequently used settings

The 55OLED804 is equipped with a dual tuner and single CI + slot. Recording can be done to a USB hard disk, but recording and simultaneously watching another channel is only possible if one of the two channels is not encrypted (Free to Air). Via the Amazon app you can view HDR10 + content and via Netflix Dolby Vision. Unfortunately, watching HDR content via YouTube was not possible during our test. According to Philips this would be added with a firmware update.

The media player is very complete and played all our video test files, including HDR video. The music player only fails with ALAC, Apple's lossless format. All other popular formats, including tags, are played correctly.

Ambilight

Of course, the unique Ambilight should not be missing on this device. The small LEDs spread their glow on three sides on the wall behind the television. You can let the Ambilight LEDs follow the picture, quickly or relaxed. You can use them as mood lighting, or have them respond to the music.

Philips 55OLED804 / 12 – Image quality

The OLED804 series uses the new 2019 LG OLED panel. The panel has a slightly changed layout, but performs in terms of brightness and color range identical to the previous generation. According to Philips, the new generation has a better fill-rate (ratio between total pixel area and actual luminous surface), and that would reduce the risk of burn-in.

Bear in mind that OLED- panels may be sensitive to burn-in. According to Philips, that would not be a problem with normal use. Never turn off the power completely, but leave the television in standby so that it can do the necessary work behind the scenes to prevent any visible effects.

Main settings

In our article about professional calibration from a TV you can read all about the possibilities to achieve the best image settings with a professional. If you want to get started yourself, go through our home cinema information guide . Here you will find an explanation of the most important picture settings and tips for setting up your TV. With the basic settings we have come to the settings below for this TV.

Image Image Advanced Image Advanced
Image Mode: Movies

Color: 50
Contrast: 70
Sharpness: 1-2 *
Brightness: 50

Color / Color enhancement: Off
Color / Color range: Normal
Color / Color temperature: Warm
Contrast / Contrast mode: Optimized for images
Contrast / Perfect Natural Reality: Off / Minimum *
Contrast: HDR Perfect: Off-Medium *
Contrast: Perfect Contrast: Off
Contrast / Video Contrast: 100
Contrast / Light Sensor: Off
Contrast / Gamma: 0
Sharpness / Ultra Resolution: Off / On *
Sharp Image / Noise Reduction: Minimum
Sharp Image / MPEG Artifact reduction: Minimum
Motion / Motion style: Films / Standard

Explanation of most important settings;

  • The Films setting provides the best start. The ISF presets are an alternative for those who want day and night versions.
  • If you want to see the effect of Ultra Resolution, you have to set sharpness at least to 1, but we also found 2 very good.
  • HDR Perfect Natural Reality: gives a very good HDR effect. We usually left it activated in the minimum position, but experiment with what you prefer.
  • HDR Perfect: This influences the tone mapping of HDR images. You trade brightness for white detail. Personal taste and viewing conditions may guide you here, but at least leave Minimum activated.
  • Ultra Resolution: gives a slight boost to detail without false contours. Feel free to activate it, but don't forget to set sharpness at least to 1. In this case also activate noise reduction.
  • Noise Reduction and MPEG artefact reduction is best activated when you start from a bad source (old DVDs or low quality YouTube). We left it at a minimum to achieve a softer image.
  • Motion style: Off for purists, but the “films” mode remains advised for extra detail, and getting rid of judder. From 'standard' you also see smooth pan images.

General image properties and image processing

In this 55OLED804 OLED TV, the flagship of Philips, the own P5 image processor, should not be missing. This third generation has been improved in terms of noise reduction, detail and Perfect Natural Reality. The excellent deinterlacing and detection of film and video frame rates has remained, making jagged lines or moire effect a rare phenomenon.

Random noise is well eliminated and Philips manages to retain much detail. You can sharpen that extra detail by setting sharpness to 1 or 2 and activating Ultra Resolution. Blocking in highly compressed videos remains a challenge. You can prevent strong banding by activating “MPEG noise reduction”. In the highest position, however, it hides quite a lot of detail and the image becomes too soft. We therefore recommend that the Minimum mode is activated so that color bands are lightly concealed, but you lose all the details.

Our dark test scene from Game Of Thrones also proves very difficult for the 55OLED804. Many color bands are visible, and just like the Sony AG9, it struggles to get rid of them. The image has less problems with changing brightness than the Sony and with both noise suppressions on Minimum the result is better. Other test scenes from Star Wars, Brotherhood of the Wolf and Lord of the Rings showed no problems.

Perfect Natural Motion remains one of the best algorithms to guarantee sharpness of motion. Nothing has changed, so together with the excellent motion sharpness of the OLED screen you get great results that are only improved by the very best LCDs. For movie viewing, choose “Film” to avoid judder, but leave at least “Clear” activated to certainly not lose any detail. The motion compensation algorithm from Philips is excellent, so we even recommend setting motion style to “Standard”. The “Fluent” setting creates just too many visible artifacts.

The calibration of this Philips 55OLED804 is absolutely top. The “Films” image preset is set fairly bright, with a high maximum brightness and gamma that is typically suitable for the living room (2.2). Philips has also worked on the display of black detail, and you notice that. A lot of shade is visible. If you look at more darkening, you can lower “Contrast” to 30 and increase the “Gamma” to +2. Activating the light sensor is a good solution if your viewing conditions vary. The color reproduction is excellent, it can even be called from reference level. Skin tones set the best score we have ever seen.

Perfect Natural Reality

This imaging technique was introduced on the second generation P5 processor last year. Whoever wants to read about it again can do that in our review of the 55OLED803 . The algorithm gives a particularly handsome HDR tint to all your SDR images, with improved white detail, contrast, and color.

The third generation P5 has further improved Perfect Natural Reality. This way, images now get a little more color and contrast. The new chip also succeeds better in adjusting contrast without affecting specific color tones, so that the overall impression of the image remains more natural. The best improvement is that skin colors are now spared from adaptation, that was a downside in the previous generation.

Ultimately, Perfect Natural Reality remains a choice that you make yourself. For purists this is of course taboo, but those who want to give their image some extra punch are not in doubt. The Minimum position already makes a clear difference, and is a very safe choice.

HDR

This year Philips also chose to support Dolby Vision . This makes it the only brand besides Panasonic that supports all major HDR formats. HDR10, HDR10 + and HLG complete the list.

In the 'HDR film' preset, with the contrast mode 'optimized for image', we achieve a maximum brightness of about 785 nits on a 10% window and 995 nits on a 2% window. Those figures are perfectly comparable with the performance of the OLED903 last year. That means the OLED804 is one of the brightest OLED screens on the market. The peak is 164 nits on a completely white field, which is also higher than average. The color range is no surprise, 94% DCI-P3, and 68% Rec.2020.

The 'HDR Films' image preset is well calibrated, which is mainly due to the new generation P5 processor that offers more accuracy in HDR playback. For example, we notice that Philips has paid extra attention to accurate colors. This has clearly improved compared to last year, shades are more accurately displayed and are just a bit too dark, although you will find that hard to find in practice.

Philips again makes the choice to ignore all metadata. How much white detail you see is manipulated with the “HDR perfect” setting. With this you exchange white detail for clarity. The default setting is “Minimum”, with which you clip all white detail above 3,000 nits away. If you want to see more white detail, you must switch off “HDR perfect”, but then the brightness of the image drops a bit. In the “Maximum” position, midtones are displayed brighter, but you do clip all white nuances above 1,500 nits away. We recommend leaving HDR Perfect in the “Minimum” position, which gives you the best compromise. In the 'Auto' mode, HDR Perfect imitates the effect of dynamic metadata.

For Dolby Vision, Dolby Vision Dark is the reference, but whoever is a part of the P3 improvements (noise reduction, sharpness and motion) Dolby Vision can choose Clear or even HDR Vivid.

Reflections and viewing angles

Oled provides a very wide viewing angle, an advantage that can prove to be a real asset in many living rooms. The screen handles reflections very well.

Gaming

In film mode, we measure a lag of 73.2 ms, quite high, even for a casual gamer. In game mode the lag drops to 33.5 ms which is a great result, but with which Philips dangles at the tail of the pack.

Philips 55OLED804 / 12 – Audio quality

The OLED804 series reuses the audio system that we found OLED803 in the 2018. The dual woofer at the rear, together with the speakers at the bottom, forms a powerful whole. The 50 Watt 2.1 setup has a rich sound that we found attractive for both music and film. As with most televisions, you should not turn the volume too high, then there is a risk that you will hear distortion. But a powerful film soundtrack is really possible. Try the “Film” and “Music” sound modes, they can still improve the sound. The 55OLED804 supports Dolby Atmos and can even play those tracks. But although you can hear the spaciousness of the Atmos track, the result remains limited.

Review equipment

For the lag measurement we use a Leo Bodnar Display lag meter. For all other measurements, we rely on a Spectracal C6 HDR2000 Colorimeter, Xrite i1 Pro spectrophotometer, a VideoForge Pro pattern generator, and the Spectracal Calman for Business software. We use an HDFury Vertex to analyze any HDR problems.

Philips 55OLED804 / 12 – Conclusion

The Philips 55OLED804 is a great successor to the top player from 2018. The Android chipset was given a small upgrade, and is now somewhat smoother, but we could still do something more powerful. This is, after all, a premium TV. In the same respect, we would have liked a slightly more premium feeling with the remote. But last year's major flaw has been eliminated: Philips now supports all major HDR formats, including HDR10 + and Dolby Vision.

The new P5 image processing chip, together with the OLED panel, delivers mesmerizing images. Philips achieves the highest brightness and delivers excellent black detail. In addition, impressive accurate color reproduction is added, as does Sony and Panasonic. With Perfect Natural Reality, the Philips has an important asset that gives all your content a handsome HDR tint. Excellent sound quality, the latest Android TV version and Ambilight make this a fully equipped TV. The price is also very competitive. Highly recommended, without reservation.

Cons

  • Improved Android chipset, but a bit too weak for top model
  • Remote feels somewhat cheap

Advantages

  • Third generation P5 image processing
  • Perfect Natural Reality [19659098] Color rendering
  • Contrast, black value and shadow detail
  • Ambilight

Homecinema Magazine
Rating
9.5 10 Eric Beeckmans product

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