By John Archer
Reviewed: 10 Jun 2009
Review Price free/subscription
So let me get this straight, we had 4:3, now we have 16:9 and now we're moving to 21:9? Why the hell didn't they just get it right the first time? This all looks like the current mess of computer displays. Also, this was the first television review on here I didn't really understand! Not your fault, it's just all the aspect ratios got to me...
It's by no means the start of things to come, Ohmz. This is more of a unique demo that happened to come to market.
Very disappointing that Blu-ray does not already carry a native 21:9 picture for the amount the discs cost. This looks fantastic though. Just imagining playing 360 on this. You could have side by side split screen with an enormous picture for each player.
You didn't mention how this tv handles 4:3 and subtitles. I'd expect seeing the full 4:3 image without cropping would result in enormous black borders on the sides and would look silly. Plus on DVD's, subtitle pictures are more often than not displayed over the bottom black border of a 2.35:1 film. So cropping the borders off would result in no subtitles, correct?
@Ohmz - If I remember correctly, I believe the movie industry were worried about TVs and so when TVs were first introduced there was a 'compromise' and 4:3 was chosen as a standard so that it didn't compete with the cinematic 'experience'.
Excellent review, John! I was lucky enough to see this set on display at a Berlin branch of an electrical goods chain called Saturn. Conditions (no sound, very bright lighting, poor source) were less than ideal. It was priced at . My initial impression was one of awe at the picture without black bars, but also disappointment that Philips had not attempted anything new with the design, as in a thin or brushed aluminium bezel. But I do wonder how non-HD 4:3 and 16:9 sources (the vast majority of German TV output) would look. Also, Philips TVs are notorious for the less than user-friendliness of their calibration systems and their need for almost constant tweaking depending on the source. How did you get on with this? Are the out-the-box settings good enough or does it require constant attention?
@davef - I thought it was more to do with the limitations on the technology of the age. The engineering of a cathode ray tube really constrains it to squarish designs, in that the depth of the TV set is determined by the maximum acceptable beam angle, which in turn is largely related to the longer dimension of the image. While you could probably make a 21:9 tube, you'd need to massively increase the depth if you wanted to widen the image to compensate for the loss of height.
Available in Switzerland for the equivalent of £3125. In Germany I've found it for £3447. And a French e-tailer is doing it for (yes Euros!).
Any word on how this handles PS3/Xbox360 HD games or should I assume it does a similar job as with 16:9 TV sources?Just worried (not that I have the money to buy this TV let alone a secondary TV anyway) that you would need a seperate HD TV to play games!
@John McLean - I guess that also makes sense. My info came from an online article - can't remember which. As always, it's difficult to vouch for the veracity of some online stuff. I'll see if I can find said article.
I believe I mentioned this when you first announced it a few months ago, but why is this only coming out now, when this TV was ready to come off the production lines in 2006?!?!I saw this when I was in Aus a couple of years ago. It wasn't too well received there.... Is there a marketing reason for delaying the release?
My mistake. It appears that cinema started adopting wider aspect movies to differentiate themselves from TV - at least according to Wikipedia
@John: While Philips may have had a 21:9 model back then it most certainly won't have been the same model.
Well at least you can see the matrix triology is you can obtain a private copy for yourself, cause that movies that i have are in 2:56 aspect (2048x800) but cuz Philips has 2560x1080 and the upscaling mode you will never see black bars even with wide aspects cuz of the higher resolution...
Thanks for such a prompt review of this most interesting TV. I can imagine that the experience is superb for cinemascope material but given that the majority of video we watch is still in the 16:9 or 4:3 ratio I couldn't justify a purchase.Also note that when the lights are out and you're watching a Pioneer Kuro (at half the price) you don't notice the black bars as they're so black that they blend into the TV frame and the background so it provides the same effect.
Can't see anyone addressing Barry's question about subtitles. Does the TV cut off the subtitles or not?
Thank you, Chilliboom- it's a simple question the reviewer should easily be able to answer, and is a question a lot of people should be interested in knowing the answer to. After all, there are so many films that have subtitles, even if they are English language films with small foreign language parts.
This set and review do throw up quite a few questions which are best answered before purchase, given the price. I spoke with one London retailer, who had the display material in his window and had been to a Philips presentation. He was not particularly taken with the set, feeling that customers would be better off going for a Pioneer Kuro if obtainable, or a Samsung, Sony or different Philips.
In order to see subtitles in the 21:9 Tv you need to buy the new Philips flagship bluray player"Philips BDP-9100". This blueray player enables features like moving subtitles and allow more aspect ratio possibilities.
So let me get this straight- you need to buy a whole new Bluray player in order to stop this tv from cutting off the subtitles along with the bottom black border? And this tv has been given 9 out of 10??? Give me a break!
The TV has a Subtitle picture format option as well where it will keep some of the bottom black bar to accomodate the subtitles, so no, you dont have to buy a bluray to see subtitles. But you will need to if you dont want the black bar at the bottom.Even the Auto Format option does a so called 'black bar detection' so if there are subtitles in the black bar it wont cut the whole black bar.@Orinj: between 55-65% of DVD's and BluRay's sold is in the 2.39:1 format and even if you watch the film on a Kuro and the black bars 'blends in' your practically wasting up to 25-30% of the full screen.
Why was the fact overlooked, that this TV, like so many Philips TVs, can't run at 24p, probably because they want to push their Natural Motion processing (and they are succeeding at that - everyone's oo-ing an ah-ing at the fludity of the processing, because obvious and very apparent 3:2 pulldown judder (more than other TVs) being the only other option to compare to...this TV has failed massively in its cinematic mission by not implementing proper 24p playback...also, the subtitle problem is huge and cannot be resolved unless, guess what - you buy a Philips Blu-ray player! Philips are masters at developing unimportant fancy features, but ALWAYS fail miserably on basic stuff...unless you don't mind 3:2 judder or actually prefer video-like motion, I'd steer well clear of this TV...
The funny thing is: a 60inch screen is wider than this tv. That means you have more movie on your 60 inch in 2.40:1 than on this philips 56inch which is made for this aspect ratio. The total screen size of a 60 inch is 1.42 times bigger than this philips screen. In Europe (holland) you can get the best tv (after the overpriced elite version) for 3200 euro (Pioneer 6090 and the 6020 in the us) and the philips tv for 3500 euro. My main point is; because of its 21:9 ratio the screen doesn't really get much wider but does lose much hight. Just compare it with all the black bars when you watch a movie in 2.40:1 on your 16:9 screen. 56 inch does sounds huge when you want to watch your 21:9 (2.40:1) movies but its even wide as a normal 58 inch widescreen tv and does have a much smaller surface than a 56 inch in a normal ratio.It would be a big difference though if your blu-ray player and blu-rays would support the same resolution as this tv.
just curious. how will the IMAX scenes in The Dark Knight blu ray appear on this screen? Come to think of it, some scenes in Transformers 2 have also been shot with an IMAX camera. How will they be appearing on this screen?
If set to auto, the TV will zoom out to accomodate the full 1080p picture, leaving black bars on the sides...
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