Having poo-pooed OLED TV know-how a few years again on the grounds that it wasn’t shiny sufficient to show excessive dynamic vary (HDR) footage correctly, Philips has apparently had a change of coronary heart. For parked on our take a look at benches like a TV Ferrari is the Philips 55POS901F/12: a beautiful wanting 55-inch TV constructed round an OLED panel.
Why has Philips out of the blue warmed to OLED? As a result of OLED producer LG has improved the brightness OLED panels can produce a lot quicker and far additional than Philips had anticipated. So now the sensation is that HDR’s ‘want for nits’ might be met by an OLED TV with out compromising the know-how’s conventional black degree/distinction strengths.
In reality, having determined to embrace the know-how, it’s honest to say Philips has gone all out with its debut OLED TV to try to set it above and other than LG’s OLED units. Has it succeeded? In some ways, sure, it completely has.
Though it doesn’t look fairly as futuristic as LG’s E6 OLED and G6 OLED TVs, the 55POS901F/12 is severely beautiful. A superbly opulent silver metallic end combines spectacularly with a super-thin body, an insanely skinny rear (aside from a piece on the backside), and final however not least, the actually luminous joys of Philips’ Ambilight know-how.
For those who’re not accustomed to Ambilight, it makes use of a collection of LED lights constructed into the display screen’s rear to provide halos of color that unfold past the TV’s edges. The system can now ship an enormous vary of colors that may, if you want, match with outstanding geographical and tonal accuracy the color content material of the photographs you’re watching.
Not surprisingly Ambilight could be a little bit of a distraction in the event you’re not cautious. Run it on pretty subdued settings for brightness and responsiveness, although, and it genuinely enhances your immersion in what you’re watching, in addition to lowering eye pressure throughout prolonged viewing classes.
The 55POS901F/12’s design features a fetching soundbar constructed into the TV’s backside edge. This options an array of top of the range, ahead going through drivers, backed up by a subwoofer constructed into the TV’s rear.
If there’s one facet of the 55POS901F’s design which may trigger an issue, although, it’s the best way its legs fasten below every nook of the TV – you’ll want a little bit of furnishings that’s a minimum of as large because the TV.
Display sizes accessible: 55-inch | Tuner: Freeview HD, satellite tv for pc | 4K: Sure | HDR: Sure | Panel know-how: OLED | Sensible TV: Sure/Android TV, proprietary Philips system | Curved: No | Dimensions: 1228.6 x 751.9 x 49.4mm (W x H x D) | 3D: No | Inputs: 4 2.0a HDMIs, three USBs, RF enter
Design TL;DR: The 55POS901F/12 is yet one more beautiful OLED TV – particularly with Philips Ambilight know-how arrange proper.
Sensible TV: Android TV and Philips
The 55POS901F/12 combines two good TV programs: Philips’ personal in-house assortment, and the Marshmallow iteration of Google’s Android TV platform.
Sadly we’re not a giant followers of both.
The Philips system is low on content material, whereas the Android one is just too filled with content material most individuals don’t truly need on a TV, the Android platform isn’t customisable sufficient and is just too cluttered and over-bearing in its presentation.
It’s a bit ironic, too, given what number of pointless gaming and ‘utility’ apps Android TV helps, to seek out that the one key UK catch up TV platform the 55POS901F/12 carries is the iPlayer. Additionally, whereas the TV does carry Netflix and Amazon apps, solely the Netflix one helps each 4K and HDR. On the time or writing the Amazon app doesn’t do HDR, which is an actual pity.
Sensible TV TL;DR: Android TV confuses amount with high quality, supplying you with too many apps you don’t need and never sufficient that you just do.
Philips has used its strongest image high quality engine within the 55POS901F – and it exhibits. For starters, the set does an important job of upscaling HD sources to the display screen’s native 4K decision. The sense of additional sharpness and element is prodigious, getting arguably nearer than every other TV (bar, maybe, Sony’s Z9D) to creating HD appear to be 4K.
As with different latest OLED TVs, the 55POS901F is able to reproducing customary dynamic vary content material from Blu-rays, DVDs and broadcasts with excellent accuracy and finesse. Pure, finely graded colors mix with a wealthy sense of distinction underpinned by the gorgeously deep, even black colors which are OLED’s trademark. Truly, the 55POS901F performs even higher throughout darkish scenes than LG’s OLEDs, because of superior management over very low gentle ranges that stops darkish scenes out of the blue turning gray, and helps the picture retain extra shadow detailing.
The 55POS901F scores one other benefit over rival OLED TVs, too, by providing up an SDR to HDR conversion possibility that really works. The important thing to its success is that it’s wise in its scope, not making an attempt to broaden both the picture’s distinction or color ranges too aggressively. Whereas the outcomes don’t actually get near the ‘shock and awe’ of a real HDR picture, they keep away from the gaudy, pressured look generally seen with SDR-to-HDR programs.
HD/SDR Efficiency TL;DR: The 55POS901F does an unusually good job of each upscaling HD to 4K and upgrading SDR to HDR.
The standard of Philips’ video processing additionally helps the 55POS901F ship the very best 4K HDR footage we’ve seen from an OLED TV. For starters, despite the fact that its OLED panel can’t in actuality ship any extra brightness than these in LG’s 2016 OLED TVs, its footage look barely extra dynamic. Peak shiny areas of HDR photos look barely punchier, whereas darkish areas look extra constantly black.
The 55POS901F additionally delivers extra element in each its darkest and brightest HDR areas. It is because it suffers much less with ‘clipping’ of tonal infomation within the brightest areas, and retains extra delicate greyscale and shadow element info within the darkest areas. These are each important parts in delivering a convincing HDR picture.
The spectacular finesse with which the 55POS901F handles darkish areas additionally stops them wanting as over-dominant as they will with rival OLED TVs. We have been relieved, too, to see no hint of the black blocking noise seen with some LG OLED fashions. Philips additionally manages to ship delicate HDR color transitions with out struggling the speckling, purply noise that may have an effect on such image areas with LG OLED TVs. These clear color transitions are achieved even though the 55POS901F delivers colors that seem a minimum of as wealthy and large ranging as these you get when watching large color gamut content material on LG’s OLED TVs.
The 55POS901F does a superlative job, too, of getting absolutely the most influence from the massive element ranges present in native Extremely HD/4K sources. Anybody who nonetheless doubts whether or not 4K can actually make a distinction on a ‘mere’ 55-inch display screen will want simply seconds within the firm of the 55POS901F to understand the error of their methods.
Contributing to this wonderful 4K readability is a few clear movement dealing with, particularly in the event you use the surprisingly efficient and artefact-free Good Pure Movement system on its lowest energy setting. We additionally stunned ourselves by tending to make use of the Extremely Decision possibility, which someway makes 4K photos look even greater than 4K in decision with out inflicting grain or halo artefacts round fantastic edges.
By the point you’ve added to the 55POS901F’s heady 4K HDR image combine OLED’s capability to be watched from wider angles than present LCD TVs with out dropping color and distinction, you’re speaking about an OLED image that’s the very best I’ve seen to date. It’s a pity, maybe, that the 55POS901F doesn’t be part of the LG OLEDs in supporting the Dolby Imaginative and prescient HDR system. It’s price including right here that Philips has confirmed that the 55POS901F might be upgraded to deal with the upcoming HLG HDR broadcasting format as soon as it begins to look.
For all their brilliance, nonetheless, the 55POS901F’s footage aren’t good. It often exhibits proof of striping in some areas of fantastic color when watching Extremely HD Blu-rays, as an example.
Additionally, even Philips’ processing can’t disguise the truth that the very best LCD TVs can ship greater than twice as a lot brightness, opening up the quantity and naturalism of HDR/large gamut colors in a means the 55POS901F simply can’t.
In fact, the 55POS901F counters its brightness shortcomings by delivering darkish image areas with a depth, uniformity and naturalism that not even the very best LCDs can compete with.
4K/HDR TL;DR: The 55POS901F’s 4K HDR photos mix gorgeous dynamism and sharpness with a deftness of contact and freedom from noise that makes them the very best OLED photos we’ve seen this yr.
Whereas the speaker bar attacked to the 55POS901F’s backside edge doesn’t sound fairly as well-rounded and punchy because the soundbar constructed into LG’s E6 OLEDs, it’s nonetheless a wholesome reduce above the common flat TV sound system. Particulars are clear and plentiful, voices are nicely rounded and clear, and you may get pleasure from loads of movie-friendly quantity earlier than there’s a lot as a touch of fizzing, crackling or different distortion from the clearly top quality drivers.
The bass doesn’t go fairly as deep as we’d ideally like, and whereas we just like the directness of the sound, the soundstage may have achieved with spreading wider. Total, although, the audio good far outweighs the unhealthy.
Sound TL;DR: The 55POS901F sounds extra highly effective, clear and detailed than the overwhelming majority of flat TVs.
Different panels to ponder
On the time of writing, the one actual OLED rivals to the 55POS901F are LG’s OLED55B6 and OLED55E6. The OLED55B6 is one thing of a steal proper now at simply £1750, and even the E6, with its ‘image on glass’ design and built-in sound bar undercuts the Philips mannequin at £2,500. It’s nicely price including, too, that each these LG fashions help the Dolby Imaginative and prescient tackle HDR whereas the 55POS901F doesn’t. And the E6 additionally helps 3D whereas the 55POS901F doesn’t.
Nonetheless, that stated, the 55POS901F provides the very best image high quality, and Philips’ Ambilight know-how proves an important accomplice for OLED’s color purity. For those who’d quite sacrifice some black degree precision for a a lot brighter HDR image, your finest bets for across the similar cash can be the (10-inch larger) Samsung UE65KS9500 and Panasonic TX-65DX902.
The 55POS901F makes a surprising first impression because of the radiance of its three-sided Ambilight system and the gleaming metallic purity of its bodywork.
It’s rather more than only a fairly face, although.
Tucked inside its glowing type is Philips’ strongest image engine, and this proves to be a deadly weapon on the out of the blue increasing OLED TV battlefield, enabling the 55POS901F to provide footage that higher in plenty of delicate however telling methods these of LG’s OLED rivals.
It stays to be seen how a lot LG and Panasonic’s upcoming 2017 OLED TVs – together with the brand new W7 Signature Sequence OLED – may increase the image high quality sport; definitely they’re promising to introduce one other improve in brightness. On the time of this writing, although, the 55POS901F is the very best OLED image performer on the market. And that is saying one thing.