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First look: Philips OLED908 (MLA), 42" OLED808, new remote, wireless surround & Ambilight

17 Feb 2023 | Rasmus Larsen |

Philips' first MLA-based OLED (OLED908) is a meaningful upgrade in both picture and smarts, while DTS Play-Fi is starting to look like a robust wireless audio platform. Here's FlatpanelsHD's first look at Philips' 2023 TVs.

FlatpanelsHD was in Amsterdam to see Philips' 2023 TV line-up and OLED908 was without doubt the highlight of the show with its WOLED panel with MLA (Micro Lens Array) that is significantly brighter on both paper and in reality.

Danny Tack, Senior Director of Product Strategy and Planning, started off by highlighting the key improvements in the MLA WOLED panel from LG Display. He added that the heatsink has been upgraded and that energy efficiency has been improved as the micro lens array harvests more light, so lifetime should stay the same.


Philips OLED908 MLA

Key changes in the 2023 MLA WOLED panel in OLED908 according to Philips. Photo: FlatpanelsHD

Most of these features were revealed at CES 2023 where the LG G3 and Panasonic MZ2000 were announced, but a less talked-about change is the new AR coating seen in the video below, shot by FlatpanelsHD in Amsterdam. As you can see the effect is quite pronounced. We have now seen the MLA panel a couple of times and while it is still glossy (not matte) it looks somewhat less glossy in some environments. We will need a review sample before we can properly assess it.
Left TV: Philips OLED908 (2023). Right TV: Philips OLED907 (2022)
Danny Tack demonstrated how the higher brightness of the MLA WOLED panel in Philips OLED908 improves HDR picture quality with higher peaks and whiter whites as compared to last year's OLED907 – both TVs were in 'Vivid' mode. We have seen the video clips used before and while it may be hard to see in our video (shot in SDR) it was still clear from the short demonstration that OLED908 can reach noticeably higher brightness. Update: Philips has clarified that the MLA panel is found in OLED908 in 55, 65 and 77 inches. As a result of these improvements, Philips has decided not to launch QD-OLED TVs this year. Maybe next year, he said. OLED808 will have the same OLED EX panel as last year's OLED807 and OLED708 the same as last year's OLED707 (non OLED EX). OLED908 will be the flagship for 2023 as there is no 'OLED938' planned. During his presentation, Danny Tack also covered new features of the 7th generation P5 video processor including the new 'Ambient Intelligence' feature and support for Dolby Vision in 4K 120Hz for the first time in a Philips TV. Furthermore, he introduced a new picture settings menu in 2023 Philips TVs and demonstrated DLG (Dual Line Gate) and HSR (Hardware Super Resolution) technologies in the new 60Hz LCD TVs. See for yourself in the video.
Video: FlatpanelsHD
Another new development from Philips in 2023 is that it will launch its first 42 inch 4K OLED TV. It will be part of the OLED808 range with two HDMI 2.1 ports with 4K120, VRR, ALLM, and more. It features 3-sided Ambilight and since Philips is the only TV brand to offer built-in mood lighting of any kind it will be the first 42-inch OLED TV with mood lighting.
Video: FlatpanelsHD

Pentonic chip, Google TV, remote control

Philips made no mention of the new MediaTek Pentonic 1000 chip, but confirmed to FlatpanelsHD that it is found in the 2023 OLED TVs as well as the two 2023 'The One' LCD models. Pentonic 1000 is not found in the two 'The Xtra' miniLED LCD models. The chip is faster and with the hardware upgrade Philips is switching from Android TV to Google TV (Android 12). We did not get to see Google TV in action on a 2023 Philips TV as these were very early samples but the user interface will look similar to other Google TVs as Google is asking partners not to change it. Philips confirmed to FlatpanelsHD that OLED908 will be its first TV model with WiFi 6 (ax) and Bluetooth 5.2. The other Google TV models will feature WiFi 5 (ac) and Bluetooth 5.0.

Philips OLED908 remote

New metal remote for Philips OLED908. Photo: FlatpanelsHD

OLED908 will be the only model to come with a completely redesigned remote control with a built-in battery that is rechargeable over USB-C. The remote has backlit buttons and a motion sensor to automatically illuminate the buttons when you lift it. Philips said that it was a prototype so some things may get adjusted before the launch, but our first impression is that it is a huge upgrade over Philips' current remote. It has a premium look and feel in metal with good weight to it. It still has too many buttons, including sponsored buttons that stand out in white, but also some cool details such as a second layer of key functions that can be called up on the center touch panel with the press of a button. See how in the video below.
Video: FlatpanelsHD

New Smart TV platform from Philips

And here's a twist. The two 'The Xtra' PML9308 and PML9008 miniLED LCD ranges will not run Google TV and will not feature the MediaTek Pentonic 1000 chip, meaning that they do not support Dolby Vision 4K at 120Hz or the latest version of DTS Play-Fi wireless audio (see next section) either, Philips confirmed to FlatpanelsHD. Instead, they will use Philips' new in-house Smart TV platform that builds on the linux-based Saphi platform in earlier entry-level Philips TVs. It will offer the same apps as Saphi plus additional apps coming later this year. It will also have some kind of cast function to let users cast content from a smartphone or tablet, but it is unclear exactly what it is. Philips will announce further details later.

Philips Smart TV 2023

New in-house linux-based Smart TV platform from Philips. Photo: FlatpanelsHD

The new TV platform still does not have an official name but Philips gave us a first glimpse in the video below where the company provides a high level overview of the 2023 TV line-up. PML9308 will use VA LCD panels but Philips did not disclose the number of miniLED dimming zones. It has not been decided yet if PML9008 will use VA or a mix of VA and IPS. The other LCD models will use a mix of VA and IPS LCD panels, depending on the size.
Video: FlatpanelsHD

Wireless surround sound, Ambilight

In late 2022, Philips and DTS announced an upgraded version of the DTS Play-Fi wireless audio platform that now supports full surround including Dolby Atmos in up to 7.1.4 channels. In the past, you would need a DTS Play-Fi soundbar as the starting point for such as surround system but the technology is now built directly into the Philips TV meaning that you can connect multiple compatible DTS Play-Fi speakers wirelessly to the TV. All 2023 Philips Google TV models support up to 7.1.4 channels wirelessly whereas the two 'The Xtra' models support only the first-gen DTS Play-Fi which is limited to stereo.

Philips DTS PlayFi TV

DTS Play-Fi wireless audio platform in 2023 Philips TVs. Photo: FlatpanelsHD

Some of the first compatible speakers are Philips' FS1 (can be used as rear speakers) and FW1 subwoofer, but you can also use DTS Play-Fi speakers from other brands. Philips confirmed that DTS Play-Fi in its 2023 models also works with up-firing units and Dolby Atmos, whereas side-firing units are still used as "the base" together with the front-firing units. In addition, the TV can act as the center speaker, for example if you have one of the Philips TVs with B&W speakers. At the same time, the wireless platform can be used to expand Ambilight to additional speakers to expand the mood lighting atmosphere. In our demo, both wireless sound transmission and Ambilight extension worked well but we need more time with the system to reach a conclusion. Philips referred to it as a "building block" system and you can see a demonstration of the system in the video below. The Top Gun: Maverick clip was in DTS audio while the Venom clip was in Dolby audio. More details on the Philips 2023 TV models can be found in the table below (click the model name).
Video: FlatpanelsHD

Philips 2023 TVs – specifications

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