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Philips Enhances Ambilight TV Lineup

1/08/2007 02:00:00 AM Eastern

Philips will up its ante in big-screen flat-panel TVs in 2007, introducing eight Ambilight TVs and eight non-Ambilight models in screen sizes ranging from 32W inches to 63W inches.

Although Philips will continue to support both plasma and LCD TVs, the Ambilight line will be limited to just LCD TVs in 2007. Screen sizes will range from 32W inches to 52W inches.

The line adds the 32W-inch, 47W-inch and 52W-inch screen sizes.

Dropped from the mix this year are three-sided Ambilight models, leaving just two-sided and four-sided "full surround" models.

This year, the Ambilight system has been improved through the use of LED lighting in place of cold cathode fluorescent lights (CCFL) in all but the full-surround model to cast the trademark halo behind a wall-mounted set.

The LED technology is said to produce greater color saturation and perceived brightness in the surrounding glow that is synced in color and brightness to match the image on the screen.

The technology also uses "substantially less power" to operate, said Scott Levitan, Philips premiere sales and marketing senior VP.

In explaining the company's big-screen flat-panel strategy for 2007, Levitan said Philips expects the TV market to shift more dramatically to LCD TV and plasma models in 2007, with LCD TV taking significant gains in screens up to and including 42W inches.

The company will also follow the industry's fast shift to big-screen models supporting full 1,080p resolution, with almost half of the company's big-screen models offering 1,920 by 1,080p resolution in 2007.

Philips believes that picture quality performance becomes more critical as panels support 1,080p resolution. So the new 1,080p LCD models add full 1,080p HDMI inputs to the Ambilight line along with 1,080p processing through its PerfectPixel HD Engine. The system is said to employ a more powerful processor to enhance picture sharpness and contrast at the higher resolution level. The engine also adds MPEG noise-reduction circuitry.

In the flagship Ambilight LCD TV series, Philips will be adding 1,080p resolution to two 42W-inch LCD TV models, a 47W-inch model and a 52W-inch model.

Cosmetics in the Ambilight line this year move to high-gloss black bezels.

The Ambilight models begin with the 32W-inch 32PFL7332D (shipping in March at a price to be announced). The set includes two-sided Ambilight surround, Philips PixelPlus 3HD system and 1,366 by 768p resolution.

The line steps to the 37W-inch 37PFL7332D (shipping in April at $1,499) and the 42W-inch (April, $1,799). Both have 768p resolution, Pixel Plus 3 HD and two-channel Ambilight,

Two more 42W-inch models will be offered in the 42PFL7432D (April, $1,999), which features two-sided Ambilight, Perfect Pixel HD and full 1,080p resolution, and the 42PFL9832D (shipping in June at $2,999) with Ambilight full surround. It features a 120Hz motion-response system, Philip's ClearLCD technology producing a 4ms response time, Perfect Pixel HD and 1,080p resolution.

Two 47W-inch models are also added, both with two-sided Ambilight. The 47PFL7432D ($2,499) offers the PerfectPixel HD system and 1,080p resolution, while the 47PFL9732D (June, $2,799) adds 120Hz Motion Response, ClearLCD and Perfect Pixel HD.

The lone 52W-inch Ambilight model 52PFL7432D (pricing and availability date to be announced) offers two-sided Ambilight, 120Hz Motion Response, ClearLCD, Perfect Pixel HD and full 1,080p resolution.

Even in non-Ambilight models, Philips is following the industry trend into larger screen sizes; it will continue to offer plasma display panel (PDP) TVs.

This year's PDP mix includes 42W-inch, 50W-inch and 63W-inch (the latter is available now for a $5,999 suggested retail) screen sizes. The currently available 768p 63W-inch model will shift to 1,080p resolution in July at the same price.

Under Philips, smaller screen LCD TVs will shift to all widescreen formats and will start with 19W inches. The company will also offer an LCD/DVD combo with slim-profile slot-loading designs. Three combo models will be added to Magnavox.