Right from the off this 55in TV tickles you in all the right places. Its bodywork looks crisp and clean with slender lines and a bold, metallic finish. The gleaming soundbar hanging from its bottom edge promises better audio quality than you’d generally expect from a super-slim display, while the blade-like table-top legs do their best not to upset your Feng Shui. This being a Philips-branded TV, there’s the small matter of Ambilight to consider. This finds bold halos of colour radiating from the left, right and top edges of the bezel, via in-built LEDs. This can both make long-term viewing more relaxing on the eyes and increase your sense of immersion in what you’re watching. Do, however, restrict Ambilight’s brightness to around level two or three, and don’t set it to react too aggressively to changes in the image content or you’ll get an attention-grabbing light show. The Philips 55POS901F is well equipped with connections, including four HDMIs (all capable of 4K HDR at 60fps) and three USBs. The bulk of Philips’ online content options come courtesy of the Marshmallow version of Google’s Android TV platform, backed up by a smaller collection of apps housed under Philips’ own proprietary smart TV system.
The Philips app collection is integrated fairly neatly into the Android TV home page. Of the latter, I’d still prefer greater opportunity for customisation and a better sense of presentation priority. But I’ve been saying that for ages and Google isn’t listening. BBC iPlayer is the only one of the UK’s main catch-up TV services supported by the TV’s smart system. And, at the time of writing, the Amazon app only supports 4K, not HDR. The Netflix client, however, is fully up to 4K and HDR speed. Almost. The 55POS901F doesn’t join LG’s OLED TVs in supporting Dolby Vision HDR, a format that’s now available on both Netflix and Amazon, and will be supported by Philips’ own 4K BD players. Philips has, however, confirmed that the TV will be upgradable to support the Hybrid Log-Gamma format in the future. Bear that in mind if you’re shopping for a TV to cover all bases. The TV is supplied with a double-sided remote control – the back panel houses a QWERTY keyboard to make it easier to enter text into video apps, etc. It also has a centralised touchpad and voice search function. Philips says that the TV will display an onscreen message when the remote’s batteries are low.
The Perfect Pixel Ultra HD processing engine driving the 55POS901F is Philips’ most powerful, featuring elements aimed at boosting contrast, colour, motion clarity, detail… every aspect of picture quality, basically. This may alarm the sort of AV enthusiast who prefers pictures to be tinkered with as little as possible on their journey from source to screen. However, powerful processing – when applied sensibly – certainly can improve image quality. This is a fact borne out by the Movie picture preset available here. This deactivates most of the processing engine elements, and delivers pictures that look less convincing and enjoyable than tweaked versions of some of the other presets. You need to pick your way through the features of Perfect Pixel Ultra HD and activate/deactivate to suit your tastes. For instance, I’d recommend turning off all noise reduction for 4K viewing, and only use the other processing options (especially the one that handles motion clarity) on their lowest power settings. At least Philips gives you the tools to make these corrections, though – and the result of your up-front tweaking efforts is some majestically good picture quality. The TV greets you with that familiar OLED impact when it comes to black level response. The shots of space around the Enterprise in the Star Trek: Beyond 4K Blu-ray feature black colours delivered with exquisite depth and naturalism. There’s not a hint of grey, nor any evidence of the sort of backlight clouding or striping around bright objects you would expect to see with an LED/LCD screen.
SPECIFICATIONS–3D: No 4K: Yes. 3,840 x 2,160 resolution HDR: Yes. HDR 10 TUNER: Yes. Freeview HD; satellite HD CONNECTIONS: 4 x HDMI inputs; 3 x USB inputs; Ethernet port; headphone jack; RF input; digital audio output SOUND: 30W BRIGHTNESS (CLAIMED): N/A CONTRAST RATIO (CLAIMED): N/A DIMENSIONS (OFF STAND): 1,228.6(w) x 751.9(h) x 49.4(d)mm WEIGHT (OFF STAND): 17.42kg FEATURES: Built-in Wi-Fi; USB multimedia playback; DLNA multimedia playback; Perfect Pixel Ultra HD processing engine; 3-sided Ambilight; Ultra Resolution; Perfect Natural Motion; Micro Dimming Premium; YouTube, Netflix, Amazon and BBC iPlayer apps; Android TV; USB recording/pause live TV; QWERTY keyboard on supplied remote; HDCP 2.2 on all four HDMI inputs
Clarity and sharpness are other strengths, and here Philips’ Ultra Resolution feature pays dividends. Activate this and you’ll see both native 4K and, especially, upscaled HD pictures looking markedly more detailed and crisp than they do on LG’s OLEDs. Sully’s New York landscape shots look so detailed, in fact, that they sometimes feel like they’ve crept beyond 4K. You need to reduce the Ultra Resolution sharpness setting a notch or two from its default position, though, or your eyeball enjoyment will suffer from noise and stressy edges. The 55POS901F proves excellent at motion handling. Even without motion smoothing in play, camera pans and fast-moving objects are crisp and free from judder. Use the lowest setting of Philips’ Perfect Natural Motion system and you can remove almost all judder without causing many unwanted side effects, or creating soap opera-style fl uid visuals. Although for some, one artefact is one too many. Philips’ in-built 30W speaker array sounds considerably better than the squawkers often used in super-thin TVs. The forward-facing soundbar delivers strong levels of clarity and attack in Star Trek: Beyond when the Enterprise takes on the baddies with the help of The Beastie Boys’ Sabotage, combining plenty of detail and punch with smooth, always intelligible vocals. A rear-mounted bass driver provides a decent amount of low-end heft, too, and none of the speakers succumb to distortion or crackling unless they’re driven to volumes well beyond anything likely to be comfortable for most rooms.
With all types of content, this Philips set is routinely brilliant, and – as mentioned – more accomplished when it comes to the fi ner points of image quality than previous OLED models. But there are areas where it’s not as impressive, of which potential buyers should be aware. Firstly, brightness is limited in comparison to incoming rivals – the newer OLED panels in LG’s 2017 range should push nearer to 800 nits, while LED-lit LCD TVs are marching on into the high 1,000s. As I cover in the feature on p20, this makes the Philips 55POS901F relatively limited in the amount of colour volume it can deliver. I was also slightly disappointed that the lowest input lag measurement I could get from the TV was 55ms. This isn’t disastrously high, but is nearly double what competitive gamers would like to see. Nor does this set cater for those with 3D Blu-ray collections. In keeping with Philips’ strategy with LCD TVs, 3D has been jettisoned. It’s also worth pointing out that you can get LG’s OLED55E6 for around £2,500 these days, saving you £300 on the launch price of this Philips. That model is also confi rmed to be getting HLG support to compliment its existing Dolby Vision and 3D playback talents, and uses the funkier WebOS user interface. Even judged purely on its performance, though, Philips’ OLED debut seems more than worthy of its £2,800 ticket, and is a great way to kick off the next stage of the OLED revolution.
source:home cinema choice