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New Philips Cinema 21:9 and Eco LCD TVs

Philips 58in Cinema 21:9 LCD TV - Features and Demo

As Philips’ flagship TV, it’s no surprise to also find the latest 21:9 TVs equipped with the brand’s full suite of multimedia tools, including open Internet access, and a decent selection of ring-fenced online services including Picasa, YouTube and Box Office 365. Plus there’s playback of all manner of video, photo and music files from USB sticks, or DLNA-enabled PCs. What’s more, unlike most online/DLNA TVs, the new 21:9 TVs have Wi-Fi built in as standard.

Wrapping up the set’s fearsome specs are Philips’ hugely powerful Perfect Pixel HD video processing, a 400Hz engine (comprising true 200Hz with a scanning backlight), and, of course, Philips’ Ambilight feature, where coloured light sympathetic to the image content erupts from the TV’s side and top edges.

As a sign of just how comprehensive Philips’ work on the latest 21:9 TVs seems to have been, Philips has ensured that Ambilight operates at exactly the same frequency as Philips’ active shutter glasses, so that you can’t see any flicker from the lighting while watching 3D sources. Clever.

We got a chance to see the 58in 21:9 set running side-by-side with the previous 56PFL9954H model, and the difference in picture quality was immediate and exciting. Contrast and colours were in a completely different league, and the picture looked crisper because of reduced motion blur thanks to the direct LED lighting.

The most interesting part of the demo, though, concerned the set’s 3D playback. For right away we were really struck by just how much more natural and immersive 3D seems when filling a 21:9 aspect ratio screen, without any black bars to top and bottom. We were also very impressed by how bright and colourful the set’s 3D pictures remain with Philips’ glasses on our noses.

During the presentation on the TV, Danny Tack suggested that Philips’ direct LED TVs could actually deliver less crosstalk than Panasonic’s plasma TVs. We won’t be able to confirm this for sure until we can do some head-to-head testing, but what we can say is that while crosstalk certainly wasn’t as severe as we’ve seen it on some 3D TVs we’ve tested, it was certainly still there.

Despite this, the improvements Philips has made to its latest Cinema 21:9 TVs are dramatic and hugely promising - and frankly, we can’t wait to get one in for a proper test.

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