IFA 2008: Philips Unveils LED Backlit TV

Local dimming tech dubbed LED LUX and set to challenge Plasma for black levels.

LED backlighting has been “just around the corner” for what seems like an age but it looks as though IFA 2008 could be where it takes centre stage, with Philips among the first to announce a retail product. Calling its LED technology LED LUX the company will be launching its first LED TV later this year in the shape of the 42 inch 42PFL9803 – believe it or not that’s quite a catchy name for a TV! This is set to become the pinnacle of the Philips’ LCD TV line-up, surpassing its newly updated Aurea II (more info soon) in terms of image fidelity, while retaining a less outlandish take on its Ambilight technology and featuring a fetching 34mm thick aluminium bezel.

So, what do you need to know? Well, using 1,152 LEDs split into 128 segments the LED LUX TV is mooted to have a dynamic contrast ratio of an astounding 2,000,000:1 – that’s two million if you lost count there. Achieved through the ability to adjust the brightness of each individual segment, this figure surpasses the 1,000,000:1 claimed by Panasonic’s recent Plasma TVs and Philips even lined up such a model to compare against its own LED backlit TV. Unsurprisingly it, the LED LUX that is, looked astounding – though we’ll be reserving our final judgement until: a) we can perform a test for ourselves and b) use one of Pioneer’s Kuro displays instead.

Nonetheless it was impressive: very impressive. Blacks were far deeper than anything you’ll ever have seen on a regular CCFL backlit LCD TV and from a distance the richness of colours and detail was just as impressive. It helps too that the 42PFL9803 benefits from every branch of Philips’ much vaunted Pixel Perfect HD Engine, including 100Hz processing, a 1080p Full HD resolution, Perfect Natural Motion and a 10-bit colour depth.

Philips was also touting the energy saving properties of the TV, adding that the use of LEDs could mean “up to” a 45 per cent energy saving – why not 44.7, eh?

This is surely going to become the Rolls-Royce of LCD TVs and it has a proposed price to match: 3,000 Euros. We reckon that could work out as around £2,500 and though that’s no small amount for a 42 inch LCD TV, given the newness of this technology it isn’t as bad as we expected and it will still be cheaper than Philips’ Aurea II TVs.

For more pics of the local dimming tech in action, check out the next page.

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