Philips 803 OLED evaluation: Ambilight and multi delights

(Pocket-lint) – The 803 is the primary Philips OLED flatscreen TV to function the model’s second-generation P5 Excellent Processing Engine, which claims to supply twice the image efficiency of its predecessor. Provided that the unique silicon was no slouch, that set our expectations excessive.

The 803 additionally options Philips Ambilight room lighting – discover our explainer right here to see why it is at all times a crowd pleaser – and a retooled audio system (so theoretically no want for a soundbar), together with a price ticket that is the appropriate aspect of beneficiant for an OLED panel comparable to this.

Certainly, this Philips is pound-for-pound the identical worth because the already wonderful LG C8 OLED. Are you salivating but? You need to be. This is why Philips is on the prime of its recreation eventually.

Our fast take

General, the Philips OLED 803 is a robust contender in an already spectacular 2018 OLED area. Ambilight provides it a singular benefit, and it has one other winner in Excellent Pure Actuality, most likely the very best SDR-to-HDR picture processor we have seen since Sony’s object-based HDR remastering.

The shortage of catch-up is an irritant, nonetheless, however given that almost all customers could have one other system providing ITVHub or All4, that should not be a deal breaker. The shortage of Dolby Imaginative and prescient might show an even bigger hurdle, particularly in comparison with LG’s C8 OLED, however solely when you have a suitable participant and software program funding.

What Philips lastly has bought proper is the value: at round £2000 it is a very good display for the cash, simply capable of take-on LG’s OLED equal. The OLED recreation simply bought much more thrilling due to this Philips set.

Philips 803 OLED TV (55OLED803) review: Ambilight and multiple delights

Philips 803 OLED TV (55OLED803)

5 stars – Pocket-lint editors selection


  • Superior picture processing engine
  • Spectacular HDR image efficiency
  • Minimalist design
  • Pure Excellent Actuality SDR up-conversion
  • Ambilight provides dynamism

  • Android Oreo software program replace can’t come quick sufficient
  • Restricted catch-up TV choices
  • Lack of Dolby Imaginative and prescient help
  • Solely two HDMI inputs are HDR10



  • Three-sided Ambilight lighting system
  • Blade-thin panel (4mm, full set width is 49.3mm)
  • 4x HDMI (2x 4K succesful), 2x USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, optical
  • Two remotes: Bluetooth pointer and full-size with keyboard

The 803 appears as swish as you may think. Philips minimalist design options an ultra-thin bezel with a wise brushed metallic end. The panel, predictably, is blade skinny, swelling out solely to accommodate electronics and inputs.

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The 55OLED803 presents 4 4K succesful HDMI inputs with HDCP 2.2 help (to make sure 4K streaming and sources are compliant), however solely two are the full-fat 2160/60p format – so you might have some points when you’ve bought numerous 4K plug-in tools. There are additionally twin USB sockets and an AV minijack for composite and element hook-up. Ethernet enhances built-in Wi-Fi. There’s additionally an optical audio output for exterior sound system use.

The display ships with two remotes. One is a finger-thin Bluetooth pointer with downsized touchpad, the opposite a extra standard clicker, albeit with a full keypad on the flip.

Good platform

  • Android TV working system
  • 4K Companies: Netflix, Amazon Video and Youtube

The 803 runs Android N and has 16GB of expandable onboard reminiscence. To be trustworthy, Android is a troublesome TV working system to like in its present guise, simply as we have mentioned of it in Sony TVs previous and current. The excellent news is there is a software program improve to Android Oreo on the playing cards, full with new consumer interface (UI) and Google Assistant voice management performance. Alexa customers should not really feel overlooked, as there is a talent for the Amazon voice system that can deliver the set underneath Amazon system management.

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One unlucky consequence of Android TV is not any Freeview Play (the 2 do not play ball for some purpose), which implies no roll-back TV information, and restricted catch-up TV choices. The Freeview HD digital programme information (EPG) is disappointingly fundamental, with no picture-in-picture (PIP) and even audio overlay. Key apps embody iPlayer, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Google Play, Rakuten TV, Dailymotion, BBC Information and Sports activities. Netflix and Amazon are 4K HDR enabled, as is YouTube 4K. However you will notice the dearth of All4 ITVHub in there.

New panel, new processor

  • Excessive Dynamic vary format help: HDR10, HLG and HDR10+
  • 4K/Extremely-HD (3840 x 2160) decision
  • Brighter sub-pixel design than earlier than

The panel itself is 2018 contemporary, with new sub-pixel design (underneath a microscope crimson and inexperienced look vaguely like a musical notice). This has enabled the sunshine output to be elevated by round 10 per cent in comparison with the last-generation mannequin.

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That additional brightness brings higher excessive dynamic vary (HDR) efficiency, with quite a lot of codecs supported. Extra details about these may be present in our options, hyperlinks under.

HDR10 and Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) HDR help are customary. The 803 additionally heralds Philips as a signatory to the HDR10+ Alliance. This dynamic metadata open customary is setting itself up as a rival to Dolby Imaginative and prescient (which the Philips notably lacks), however software program help stays conspicuous by its absence… for now. HDR10+ guarantees extra element in shadow areas, because the picture is analysed and optimised on a frame-by-frame foundation.

So what of the 803’s total image efficiency? It is actually one thing particular, though you will have to navigate a forest of settings to get the very best from it.

Philips engineers have additionally fine-tuned the set in lots of areas. Pores and skin tones look exceptionally actual, even in opposition to strongly saturated backgrounds. Native distinction enhancement, which pulls element from areas that could be misplaced in shadow, additionally works effectively. Pictures have baggage of distinction.

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Superior digital noise discount (DNR) units out to cut back indiscriminate smearing, normally triggered when a processor errors element for grain. There have additionally been enhancements made to MPEG noise discount, to minimise Mosquito noise and macro blocking. General, the 803’s picture is constantly clear and crisp. 

In fact, the overwhelming majority of fabric you will watch on this display is prone to be customary dynamic vary (SDR), which is the place new wizardry, dubbed Excellent Pure Actuality, comes into play.

Upgrading SDR to HDR

  • Excellent Pure Actuality processing
  • A number of HDR viewing modes

Excellent Pure Actuality, unique to the second-gen P5 processor, is a distinction enhancing cocktail which makes use of an clever distinction algorithm to boost photographs (brightness, sharpness and distinction) in each scene, all on the fly.

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The impact can usually be very delicate, however is at all times efficient. In Batman V Superman: Daybreak of Justice (UHD Blu-ray), when Clark Kent heads as much as the mountain after the Capitol Hill tragedy, and encounters Pa Kent, the ice memorial positive aspects an additional contrasty edge with this mode engaged.

Image presets comprise Private, Vivid, Pure, Customary, Film, Sport, Monitor mode, plus ISF Day and Night time. The 2 most constantly pleasant viewing modes are Customary and Pure. 

With HDR content material, the presets change to HDR Private, HDR Vivid, HDR Pure, HDR Film, HDR Sport, plus ISF Day and Night time. Selecting between them can considerably have an effect on efficiency.

Check patterns verify that whereas the HDR Film resolves full 4K decision, it appears positively smooth in comparison with HDR Pure or HDR Vivid. Watch the opening textual content crawl in Star Wars The Final Jedi (UHD Blu-ray) in HDR Film mode and half the celebs vanish. HDR Pure and HDR Vivid put them again.

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The 803’s HDR efficiency is true up there with the competitors. We measured peak brightness of simply over 830nits (with a 5 per cent HDR window). That is actually ok to have fun specular highlights on an OLED panel comparable to this, placing it nearly precisely on par with the LG OLED C8.

Movement dealing with and gaming efficiency

  • Excellent Pure Movement
  • Excellent Clear Movement

Movement dealing with is a gloves on or gloves off affair although. Choose the Film mode from the Image Kinds possibility and you may take pleasure in photographs freed from movement artefacts, albeit with just a little judder and lack of movement readability. The opposite choices (Sports activities, Customary, Clean and Clear) all enhance pan stability and element, however deliver with them movement artefacts that halo round transferring objects. The Private setting means that you can tweak Excellent Pure Movement and Excellent Clear Movement settings, and it is right here you must experiment to search out a suitable therapy for fast-moving sports activities footage.

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The 803 represents an inexpensive proposition for players. Hook your console up and play utilizing the Customary picture preset and you may encounter 55.4ms of enter lag. Choosing the devoted Sport setting drops this to 38.8ms. It is not an distinctive efficiency, however is unlikely to impede most console video games.

Sound efficiency

  • 2.1 channel system
  • Whole output energy 50W

Audio high quality is pleasingly beefy, given the slimness of the set. A protracted-throw, rear triple ring woofer (derived from a design created by Philips Woox audio offshoot), is supported by two passive radiators. The result’s a creditable quantity of bass. Whole output energy is quoted at 50W.

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A brand new oval mid-range driver, plus a separate smooth dome tweeter, improves stereo separation. As such, we do not suppose you will be in a rush so as to add a soundbar.


To recap

Philips has produced a humdinger of an OLED telly with regards to image high quality. Add a slick design, first rate audio and crowd-pleasing Ambilight, and it is a set to shortlist – supplied you may dwell with the inelegant Android TV working system.

Writing by Steve Might. Modifying by Stuart Miles.

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