I'm sure many of you have £4,500 burning a hole in your pockets to splash out on a new television and if that's you, then it would be remiss not to take note that Philips' Cinema 21:9 HDTV has a firm launch date - 18 June. Yes, £4,500 (Philip's estimated retail price) is a shocking amount of money but this is a unique television. For now at least.
The Cinema 21:9 TV's USP isn't hard to spot - the clue is in the name. Unlike your garden variety TV, the cinema 21:9 has a 21:9 aspect ratio, making it notably wider than a 16:9 aspect ratio television. There's a good reason for that, too. While most broadcast TV is now recorded in 16:9 (preferably 1,920 x 1,080 pixels to be specific) a majority of films are shot in 2.35:1 - as near as damn it 21:9.
As a result such films shown in the Cinema 21:9 recorded in that aspect ratio can be displayed without the dreaded black bars which would plague a 'normal' TV. Of course when watching 16:9 (or even 4:3 - perish the thought) content the Cinema 21:9 is subject to black bars at the sides of the image - unless you want to have the TV scale the image to fit, with some distortion.
The Cinema 21:9 measures 56in diagonally, with a vertical height matching that of a 42in set. A resolution of 2,560 x 1,080 pixels means that current 1080p, 2.35:1 content has to be scaled up, cutting off the black bars which are hard-coded. Philips' Pixel Perfect HD engine is pretty nifty at video processing, so it's not like any films will look bad on the Cinema 21:9 - indeed, I was thoroughly impressed with a prototype unit which had no processing whatsoever so the retail products should be excellent.
Philips' has kitted out the Cinema 21:9 with five HDMI ports a USB port and Wi-Fi for access to NetTV - Philips in-TV internet access solution. The Cinema 21:9 will play AAC, MP3, AC3, LPCM and WMA audio, MPEG-1 MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 video and display JPEG, Gif and PNG images from a USB drive or, as its DLNA certified, it from a network device.
MPs, good luck trying to get one of these through your expenses; the rest of us will have to dream.