Philips Unveils 2022 TV and Soundbar Range Featuring Cutting-Edge ‘EX’ OLED
Philips unveils cutting-edge 'EX' OLED and Fidelio Ambilight speakers amongst its 2022 TV and soundbar range.
Philips has revealed the first highlights of the new TVs and audio products it's bringing to its non-US territories over the first half of 2022. Excitingly, included is a new OLED TV series that uses the brand new 'EX' OLED panel technology revealed by LG Display at CES just a few weeks back.
Building the new OLED807 TVs around EX panels is claimed to result in a brightness increase of as much as 30% over regular OLED panels of the sort used in last year's OLED806 TV range.
The EX panels, which replace traditional hydrogen-based compounds with more efficient and stable deuterium, are also significantly slimmer than their predecessors - something Philips has reflected with the OLED807's new razor-thin, 'zero bezel' metallic chassis.
The 48-inch, 55-inch, and 65-inch OLED807 models rest on an attractive new 'T-bar' style desktop stand and can be swivelled left or right to face different seating positions. The largest 77-inch OLED807, understandably, gets two feet to stand statically on.
The OLED807's design is enhanced, too, by an improved version of Philips' unique Ambilight technology. This provides much more localised LED control, enabling the colours cast beyond the TVs' edges to track the content you're watching even more accurately.
6th-Gen P5 PROCESSING
Exploiting the new picture potential of the OLED807s' EX panels (used in all the OLED807s bar the 48-inch model) is the sixth generation of Philips' P5 picture processing system. The main improvements seem to centre on applying more AI processing cleverness to automatically adjust the TV's picture settings in response to changes in the viewing environment. According to Philips, the latest Ambient Intelligence system monitors ambient light levels and continually adjusts brightness, gamma and colour in real-time. This is said to ensure that your sense of image impact and contrast remains consistent as your surroundings change.
Additionally, you'll also be able to customise how the Ambient Intelligence system works, choosing between Eye Care, Dark Detail or Colour Temperature optimisation options.
The OLED807s' new automatic image optimisation talents expand on last year's debut AI Auto Film Mode feature. That 2021 implementation could detect when a movie source was being received and give you the option of switching to one of two picture presets: The UHD Alliance-designed Filmmaker Mode or Philips' own Home Cinema mode. For 2022, though, OLED807 viewers will be able to choose from a much wider range of movie-focused presets. Furthermore, if you've already selected Filmmaker Mode, the OLED807 will automatically switch to the most 'accurate' Dolby Vision Dark mode with Dolby Vision content.
Interestingly, at the opposite end of the picture spectrum, Philips has done away with its old Vivid preset and renamed it Crystal Clear. This reflects the fact, says Philips, that while the mode still offers a bolder, more vibrant image than any other preset, it now offers a more natural balance between sharpness, colour and contrast.
IMAX ENHANCED and GAMING
Philips has expanded the already impressive range of image formats it supports with the OLED807s. IMAX Enhanced playback now joins the previous support for the Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HDR10 and HLG HDR formats. This signifies that IMAX deems the sets capable of doing picture quality justice to IMAX's proprietary Digital Media Remastering technology.
Gamers, meanwhile, will be pleased to hear that the OLED807s carry two 48Gbps HDMI 2.1 ports capable of supporting 4K/120Hz and variable refresh rates between 40 and 120Hz, as well as the Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync VRR variants. There's a new Game Bar interface, too, giving gamers an at-a-glance guide to key settings and providing fast access to game-friendly picture adjustments that include the option to call up new presets designed for RPG, RTS and FPS games.
Rounding out the OLED807's substantial roster of improvements over its OLED 806 predecessor is a more powerful 2.1 audio system, which now brings 70W to the party and includes a dedicated triple ring, rear-facing bass driver joined by a quartet of passive radiators. In a multi-speaker system, you can also use the OLED807's speakers as the centre channel.
Oddly, the OLED807 will still use the Android 11 TV smart OS rather than Google TV. However, the latest Android platform is at least now far removed from its unhelpful and buggy origins.
PHILIPS THE ONE 2022
Philips hinted at a couple more TV developments that we might see in the latter half of 2022, including the next generation of Mini LED models and some more premium OLEDs. However, the only other set Philips detailed in full at this January event was the latest take on the brand's 'The One' concept.
The apparently very successful idea behind The One is that it signals a particular TV series as the 'sweet spot' model in Philips' range - models that Philips believes offer the perfect blend of features, performance and value mainstream TV buyers are looking for. So for 2022, The One will be the 8807 LCD model, which really does tick a lot of boxes.
Firstly, its LCD panel is illuminated by a direct LED lighting system. An approach that usually yields better picture quality than the edge-mounted alternative.
Also, the sleek, silver-finished design boasts a three-sided version of Ambilight, while picture processing comes courtesy of the fifth generation of Philips' P5 engine. Unfortunately, this means the 8807s aren't party to the latest innovations of the 6th-gen P5 chipset. Although, the fifth-gen P5 is a prodigiously powerful picture engine to find on sets likely to be as affordable as the 8807s.
The One models for 2022 will support both the HDR10+ and Dolby Vision HDR formats alongside the more standard HDR10 and HLG platforms, while gamers will be pleased to learn that, unlike previous The Ones, the 8807s will deliver 4K/120Hz and VRR gaming, complete with Freesync Premium compatibility.
The new Game Bar menu will be available on the 8807s too, and Philips claims that The Ones' input lag is just 9ms - one of the lowest such measurements we've seen. Though it's not clear if this measurement applies to 120Hz or 60Hz video.
Arguably the single most significant step forward in Philips The One story for 2022 is introducing a matching external audio solution. While the set carries a 20W speaker system and internal Dolby Atmos decoding, it can also be partnered with a new The One Soundbar (AKA the B8507) that boasts a matching silvery design and 3.1-channel speaker configuration.
If you want to open up your audio even further, The One TVs also support Philips' Home Wireless system. For instance, this enables you to add a pair of wireless Philips speakers to get a better stereo experience. Or you can create a full surround sound system by adding two pairs of wireless Philips speakers and a Philips wireless subwoofer, using the TV's own speakers as a centre channel in a surround sound formation.
FIDELIO WIRELESS SURROUND
This talk of Philips' Home Wireless System brings us to the final home entertainment highlight of Philips' January launch event: a new wireless, multiroom range of Philips Fidelio products: An FB1 soundbar, an FW1 subwoofer, and FS1 satellite speakers.
In keeping with the Fidelio branding, these new audio devices incorporate wood, aluminium and Muirhead sustainable leather. The FS1s additionally carry LED lights in their rears so that they can extend the Ambilight effect delivered by Philips' latest TVs.
The new wireless Fidelio components not only detect when they've been connected to each other but what configuration they've been connected in. So, for instance, the system can figure out whether FS1s are being used for stereo music or as rears in a surround system.
In terms of individual specification, the Fidelio FB1 soundbar carries an impressive 7.1.2-channel configuration, delivered via 15 drivers and a total of 310W (RMS) of power. Its main left, centre and right sections are all fitted into separate enclosures to reduce the potential for crosstalk. Also, each of these three main channels benefits from two mid-range drivers positioned to either side of a dedicated tweeter.
The other channels comprise two side-firing channels mounted at each end of the bar shape and two up-firing drivers built into the FB1's top edge.
The Fidelio FW1 wireless subwoofer, meanwhile, sports a promisingly large down-firing eight-inch driver as well as, unusually, two large, side-mounted passive radiators. It's also driven by a 200W RMS amplifier, raising hopes of some seriously powerful, deep but also nimble rumbles.
Finally, the FS1 wireless speakers enjoy a 60W three-way design that includes a front-firing tweeter, an angled up-firing mid-range unit and a down-firing woofer. They can be used as single speaker units, stereo pairs, or satellite speakers in a 7.1.4-channel system (in conjunction with the FB1 soundbar and FW1 subwoofer).
Philips hasn't confirmed either the prices or release dates of its newly unveiled products yet - though it did suggest that we'd have to wait until the summer for the new Fidelio speakers. We'll update this story with pricing as soon as it's available.
I’ve spent the past 25 years writing about the world of home entertainment technology. In that time I’m fairly confident that I’ve reviewed more TVs and projectors than any other individual on the planet, as well as experiencing first-hand the rise and fall of all manner of great and not so great home entertainment technologies.