Philips Unveils Impressive New OLED And Debut MiniLED TVs
The seemingly irresistible rise of miniLED has just taken another giant step forward with TP Vision's announcement that it's preparing to launch not one but two ranges of miniLED in Europe under its Philips brand.
These miniLED debutantes are not going to just be some sort of tentative 'toe-dippers', either. For starters they'll only be available in home cinema-friendly 65- and 75-inch screen sizes. They will also live up to their miniLED billing by carrying more than 1000 separately controlled backlight dimming zones - more than twice as many as you'll usually find in even the most premium 'regular' LCD TVs. And all those light sources will be marshalled (along with many other picture attributes) by Philips' latest P5 AI Intelligent Picture processor.
Brightness in the miniLED models is claimed to hit a high dynamic range-friendly 2000 nits too, colour is claimed to cover up to 95% of the DCI-P3 digital cinema colour gamut, and the panels are confirmed as using contrast-rich VA (rather than IPS) technology.
Both the new 9636 and 9506 miniLED ranges will continue Philips' admirable trend of supporting both the premium Dolby Vision and HDR10+ HDR formats, while also benefitting from a full four-sided implementation of Philips' unique Ambilight design feature.
The premium 9636 range will differ from its more affordable siblings courtesy of one of those fantastic Bowers & Wilkins-designed external speaker systems that blew us away during our recent review of Philips' 65OLED+935 TV.
As if all this wasn't exciting enough, both of Philips' new MiniLED ranges will also carry full 48Gbps HDMI 2.1 ports, supporting such key new video gaming features as 4K HDR at 120Hz, variable refresh rates from 40-120Hz, the FreeSync Premium Pro VRR system, and automatic low latency mode switching.
Input lag is also apparently down to just 18ms on these models too - Philips lowest such figure to date - and there will even be support for the HGiG (HDR Gaming Interest Group) calibration system supported by both of the new Xbox and PS5 consoles.
Given miniLED's sudden arrival on the TV scene, it's tough to even hazard a guess at this point as to how much Philips' new 9636 and 9506 series might cost when they launch this summer. As points of reference, though, Samsung is saying its new MiniLED models are expected to cost only a little more than its 2020 flagship 'normal' LCD models, while LG is pitching its upcoming 'QNED' miniLED models just below its 2021 OLEDs.
Talking of OLEDs, as you might expect of a brand that saw its share of the OLED TV market rise by 20% in 2020, Philips has a bunch of new OLED models coming Europe's way in the coming months too.
The stunning OLED+935 range the brand has already released will be joined in the second quarter of 2021 by new 865 and 806 and models that will include Philips' first 77-inch OLED set.
While neither of these new 8 series OLEDs will benefit from one of Bowers & Wilkins's full-sized external sound enclosures, they do both carry 50W 2.1 sound systems with triple-ring, rear-facing bass drivers supported by four passive radiators.
Both 8 series OLED models will also get the new Philips P5 AI Intelligent Picture Engine, four-sided Ambilight, and proprietary anti burn-in technology that's claimed to reduce screen burn occurring by more than 90%.
It's great to hear, too, that unlike the OLED+935 range, the 856 and 806 OLEDs will get the same full range of cutting-edge gaming features as the new miniLED models (except that it's not clear yet whether the OLEDs will enjoy the same low input lag figure that the miniLEDs do).
The only real difference between the 856 and 806 OLEDs is an aesthetic one, with the 856es getting a premium, centrally-attached 'T-Bar' style stand, while the 806es will sit on a pair of low-profile feet.
A couple of other interesting features appearing across the new OLED and miniLED ranges are that they feature the latest Android 10 smart platform (the OLED+935 only carries Android 9), and support for the first time on Philips TVs of the new HDR10+ Adaptive system, which adds a room light adaptation algorithm to the existing HDR10+ HDR platform.
While the new miniLED and OLED screens were the clear highlights of Philips' latest TV announcements, the brand also revealed details of a couple of other more affordable (though prices haven't yet been confirmed) mid-range 4K LCD models.
The 9206 series will be available from Q2 in 55 and 65-inch sizes that will use 100Hz VA panels with direct LED lighting (where the LEDs sit right behind the screen, rather than around its edges). Impressively, this step-down range will still get Philips' P5 processor, 4K HDR gaming at 120Hz, 4K VRR support between 40 and 120Hz, Auto Low Latency switching, and FreeSync Premium (but not Freesync Premium Pro) support.
Android TV 10 is present and correct on the 9206 range, too, as is four-sided Ambilight and a 50W 2.1 sound system.
One step further down the ladder of 2021 TVs, Philips has announced so far will be the 8506 series. Also set to launch in Europe in Q2, the 60Hz 8506es will be available in 43, 50, 58, 65, 70 and 75-inch screen sizes. They still benefit from direct LED lighting, though it appears they will use relatively low-contrast IPS rather than VA panels.
The Ambilight supports drops to three sides, and you lose the support for 4K at 120Hz gaming - though there will still be support for Auto Low Latency Mode switching and a degree of VRR.
Look out for reviews of these promising-sounding new TVs as soon as we can get our hands on them.
I’ve spent the past 25 years writing about the world of home entertainment technology. In that time I’m fairly confident that I’ve reviewed more TVs and projectors than any other individual on the planet, as well as experiencing first-hand the rise and fall of all manner of great and not so great home entertainment technologies.
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