News Philips bets big on Ambilight for 2020

OLED burn-in beating technology and the return of Fidelio brighten Philips Dealer Trade Show, reports Steve May


PHILIPS declared 2020 ‘The Year of Ambilight’ at its annual dealer trade show in Amsterdam. The brand’s distinctive mood lighting technology may have been around for decades, but this year it’ll provide a central pillar for promotional activities. According to research, eight out of 10 Ambilight owners would only consider upgrading their screen to another Ambilight model, said Kostas Vouzas, CEO of Philips TV Audio (pictured middle at the conference). “So our ambition is to put Ambilight into every home.” To that end, Mr Vouzas announced plans for a scheme that will allow buyers the opportunity to live with an Ambilight TV for 30 days, with the option to return it

free of charge if not suitably satisfi ed. Unfortunately, specifi cs were as thin as the brand’s

OLED panels. No actual strategy was divulged, although the brand maintained that the UK would be involved. “For the last three years, we have grown revenue by over 30 per cent, and doubled our business in the premium sector by 50 per cent,” declared the CEO. “2019 has been the best year ever for TP Vision.” During the two-day event, Philips TP Vision took the

wraps off a range of new 4K screens, and hinted at more advanced technologies to come at IFA 2020. Its next-gen OLED805/855 models (pictured top right) will use an AI-enhanced iteration of the highly regarded P5 picture processor. This fourth gen chip utilises neural networks and machine learning to improve image quality, with the help of a unique database created in- house over the past 30 years. AI software will divide content into fi ve categories (landscape/nature, skin tone, sports/motion, black/

contrast and animation) and analyse source, colour, contrast, motion and sharpness, frame by frame. The result, it says, is superior image detail, texture reproduction and colour vibrancy. Promised for

IFA in September is a new anti-

screenburn technology for OLED which is able to intelligently determine a fi xed logo in any image and dynamically dim it to the point where permanent image retention becomes impossible. Screen burn remains an issue for OLED technology, but this would seem to be an effective answer. Demonstrations certainly looked impressive. “We

have been destroying a lot of OLEDs in Gwent, getting this right,” quipped Danny Tack, Director of Product Strategy and Planning.

For 2020, Philips will continue to support both Dolby

Vision and HDR10+ standards, but the brand is not yet bundling Dolby Vision IQ, one of the main talking points at CES this January. It is, however, adopting Filmmaker mode, although

Mr Tack told ERT that he was less than enamoured with it – “I don’t like it,” he said.

The company is extending its partnership with audio specialist, Bowers & Wilkins, revealing upcoming 9435 4K LED models, to be available in 55- and 65- inch screen sizes, and the 43-inch 9235, will all feature Premium Sound by Bowers & Wilkins. Lower down the range, Philips will offer the 8505 4K LED Performance series, with models covering 43-, 50-, 58-, 65- and 70-inch screen sizes. 2020 also marks the return of the Fidelio audio brand, now under TP Vision Philips stewardship. While the company opted to hold back a wider range of audio products until IFA, it did throw the spotlight on new headphones. Top billing went to the Fidelio X3, a fl agship audiophile

head-fi offering (pictured above). Designed for in-home listening, the open-back headphones feature Danish Kvadrat acoustic fabric and have a headband made from Muirhead leather. Large multi-layer 50mm drivers and an optional balanced connection speak of serious Hi-Fi credentials. “We want to do for sound what we did for TV,” proclaimed Mr Vouzas.

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