Philips will in 2017 continue to push what makes its TVs unique; Ambilight. The company will also continue its partnership with Google and is launching a new OLED flagship TV with an all-new P5 picture engine. The rest of the line-up consists of mid-range LCD TVs. FlatpanelsHD brings you the full overview of Philips’ 2017 line-up
One of the unique features of Philips TV is – and has been for a decade – Ambilight. The company explains that its mood lighting technology has the highest loyalty rating of any single feature in TVs. It seems that once people have experienced Ambilight they want more.
Philips has over the years expanded its Ambilight system in various ways. One of the more significant changes was switching to using LEDs for Ambilight, which meant that it could more accurately control light and enable new use cases. The system has become “intelligent”, the company says, meaning that you can make it pulsate to the beat of music on Spotify, or expand mood lighting to the entire living room by connecting to Philips HUE. You can also manually set up the system to use a warm and static white color – otherwise known as bias lighting – instead of dynamic tones that shift with the pictures on the screen.
Of course, Philips has a rich tradition in lighting and despite the TV division having been sold off to TP Vision, the company is still to some degree rooted in the Netherlands. In the same breath Philips proclaims that its European design traditions are intact. The TVs are created to appeal to Europeans with minimalistic taste. However, in a world with ultra-minimalistic TVs with disappearing bezels, one could be excused for thinking that most TVs look alike. Philips' answer? It again revolves around Ambilight; something that no other manufacturer can offer.
Still, Philips cannot escape the fact that there is no design gem in this year’s line-up. The company that has produced some stunning-looking "DesignLIne" TVs over the years has in 2017 kept it simple. This year’s flagship TV is a minimalistic TV based on OLED technology. Later this year, Philips will add at least one more high-end model based on LCD technology. We know that it will be the new 8000 range and that it will be the company’s first with quantum dot technology.
Another focus for Philips is 4K and HDR picture quality. For the task, the company has developed an entirely new picture engine that it has dubbed P5 (P for Perfect) that enhances picture in 5 areas. The engine is 25% more powerful and has 25% more processing steps. It is now based on a single chip instead of several, which may sound counter-intuitive – are more not better than one? – but Philips explains that a single chip offers a better flow and introduces less processing lag. The sum is that P5 engine improves picture quality on any type of signal, the company says.
The P5 engine is embedded in the 7502 range and up but Philips is especially enthusiastic about the combination of the P5 processor and a 2017 OLED panel (model POS9002). The company believes that it can take picture quality to the next level - with the help 4K resolution and HDR (High Dynamic Range).
4K Ultra HD has found its way into most of the line-up this year. The same is true for HDR, at least one paper. It is important to emphasize that while HDR is easy to support in software, it sets very high demands on hardware. To get a decent HDR experience there is no way around it; you need Philips’ new OLED. This model is also only Philips TV in the 2017 line-up that is ’UHD Premium’ certified.
Philips is especially enthusiastic about the combination of the P5 processor and a 2017 OLED panel
Philips’ new TVs will support two HDR formats, namely HDR10 and HLG. The first is a base format used for streaming and UHD Blu-ray, whereas HLG is a broadcast format for TV channels (for when channels start broadcasting in HDR). Philips has, at least for now, chosen to ignore the premium Dolby Vision format.
If you want to enjoy streaming video in the highest possible quality, the new Philips TVs offer access to Netflix and YouTube. Netflix offers movies and TV series in up to 4K HDR on the new TVs and YouTube offers a world of video in the same quality. To enjoy HDR from YouTube any given TV needs to support ‘VP9 Profile2’, which is a video format developed by Google. VP9-2 is supported in the 6482 series and up (except 7202), the company confirmed to us. If you prefer to watch your movies on disc you will have to look elsewhere for a player. Philips is not selling UHD Blu-ray players in Europe but you can of course hook up a player from any other manufacturer.
All TVs from the 6400 range and up will run Android TV
Turning our attention to the user experience, Philips will continue to offer Google’s Android TV operating system in most of its line-up. Philips was one of the launch partners and despite having its share of stability issues, the most serious bugs have been fixed. The 2017 TVs launch with version 6.0 but will receive version 7.0 later this year through a firmware update. The company has no comment in regards to version 8.0 that was unveiled by Google last month. Version 8.0 – or Android O – will introduce a totally revamped user interface.
The app catalog on Android TV is growing but not as fast as Apple’s tvOS, which seems to be the preferred destination for developers of TV apps. Nevertheless, you can download the most important apps including aforementioned Netflix and YouTube as well as Amazon, HBO, Hulu, and more. If you encounter an app that is not supported there is a good chance that the service supports Chromecast, which is also built in to all the TVs. With Chromecast you initiate the streaming session from your phone and “cast” video wirelessly to the TV that takes over the connection to the streaming server.
All TVs from the 6400 range and up will run Android TV.
Together with Sony, Philips is in fact one of the few manufacturers that delivers on the promise of a software platform, meaning that Android TV gets updated from year to year. This is worth considering despite the many flaws in the early versions of Android. For example, one of the features coming to last year’s Android TVs is support for HLG HDR.
The company is also experimenting with how to best integrate a voice assistant in its TVs. By using Google’s “intelligent” Assistant you can ask the TV to find content across services – and even control your Philips HUE system. In the video below, Philips demonstrates how its works but it emphasizes that it is still beta software and that it is not yet available to consumers.
There are no curved TVs in the 2017 line-up and none of the new TVs support 3D. Last year, Philips declared 3D dead and curved TVs a “fad” so we think it is safe to assume that the company will not reintroduce any of those.
The speakers are hidden on most models, including the flagship OLED TV. Philips explains that most customers who buy a high-end TV prefer to connect external speakers anyway, which is why it has removed the soundbar that was integrated on last year’s OLED model. Some of the mid-range TVs are offered in versions that include a built-in soundbar.
The remote control has the same overall form but look closer and you will notice that there is more air between buttons, which should make it easier to operate the remote without looking down all the time. There is also dedicated Netflix button right in the center.
Lastly, the TVs offer the standard suite of features that have been built up over the last few years. This includes a smartphone remote app that allows you to stream recordings to your phone. To enable the recording features on the TVs you simply need to connect an external USB hard drive. The same USB hard drive can be used to expand storage for Android apps and games.
You can tell the 2017 TVs apart from previous years’ models by the model number ending on ’2’, meaning that a 7000 series from 2017 is called PUS7x02. As a reminder: xxx2 = 2017, xxx1 = 2016, xxx0 = 2015, xxx9 = 2014, xxx8 = 2013.
Philips 9002 OLED
9002 is the new flagship model based on OLED technology. It succeeds a long line of 9 series models from Philips, each one based on advanced LCD technology, but never plasma. This is Philips’ second-generation OLED TV.
Like all other manufacturers, Philips will offer its mainstream 6 series in a number of versions, including 6482, 6432, 6412 and 6402. Differences typically lie in Ambilight, designs, and sometimes features.
UK prices: 55” 55PUS6482 55” 55PUS6432 49” 49PUS6432 43” 43PUS6432