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Philips Unveils Expanded TV Line

New York — Philips used a Holidays in June media event here to take the wraps off its revised 2007 flat-panel TV line featuring expanded 1080p models, including versions with 120Hz refresh rate technology and five new Ambilight LCD TV sets.

This year, Philips is playing up the ability of all of its new 1080p TVs to deliver “the best picture performance on any source” using an advanced picture processing and scaling engine which Philips’ is calling “PerfectPixel HD.” The system was designed to support “all of the picture formats and frame rates that are out there,” said Todd Richardson, Philips’ connected displays VP.

In addition, a new “Settings Assistant” feature, which is found on all Philips LCD TVs measuring 26 inches and larger and on both of Philips’ remaining plasma TVs, steps users through picture setting adjustments using split-screen demos that give A/B picture comparisons for brightness, contrast, flesh tone, sharpness, color saturation and detail. Users simply select the image on the side of the screen that looks best to them. For audio it offers a smile-shaped graphic equalizer and audio demo to help set bass and treble levels.

A more detailed picture setting system is also offered for more advanced users.

“We need to make a mark with our TVs this year and we are doing it with picture quality and design,” Stewart Muller, Philips president told TWICE, adding that styling designs have been updated with narrower frames and gloss black cosmetics.

All of the TV models feature HDMI 1.2a inputs this year, although company executives are looking to add HDMI v1.3 with x.v.YCC expanded color gamut capability in 2008. USB inputs are added for picture slide shows, mp3 playback and firmware updates.

The signature Ambilight LCD TV line now consists of five models in the 32-inch ($1,050 suggested retail), 42-inch ($1,899), 47-inch ($2,399), 47-inch ($2,799) and 52-inch ($3,799) screen sizes. The latter two add Philips’ ClearLCD 120Hz frame rate technology.

All models feature full HD 1080p resolution, and independent left and right sided rear-panel surround lighting. Gone from the line is the

full-surround model introduced a year ago

. All Ambilight models now use a new LED lighting system for the back screen illumination to reduce power consumption, to offer more lighting control and to reduce frame size.

Ambilight adds a 6,500-degree Kelvin setting that provides a static cool white backlight to the picture.

This year, the Ambilight system allows users to keep the surround lighting on when the picture is turned off to add mood lighting to a room.

Philips’ two Ambilight HD 1080p models with 120Hz refresh rate technology — which Philips calls ClearLCD for the smoother reproduction of fast motion sequences — will be offered in the 47- and 52-inch screen sizes. The 47-inch model ships in August and the 52-inch model ships in September.

All 768 flat-panel models, including plasma sets in the 42- and 50-inch screen sizes, use Philips’ PixelPlus 3 video processing technology. Philips’ branded LCD models with 768p HD resolution are now offered in the 32-, 37- and 42-inch screen sizes. Models in the line include a 19-inch LCD/DVD combo model (shipping this month at $599) and a new kitchen white 26-inch 768p LCD model called Modea ($799) that is targeting women buyers. Philips will sell that model exclusively through Target.

The 63-inch plasma set introduced late last year will be phased out by the end of the third quarter, Richardson said, due a lower than expected demand.

“The CEA is reporting year to date that a little over 20,000 greater than 58-inch units are being sold, and that market is just not growing at the rate that we need it to,” said Richardson. “We will put more effort and emphasis on 52-inch and you will see later introductions from us in 57-inch and things of that nature. We will go larger in LCD faster, because there seems to be a higher traction rate for LCD large screen.”

Richardson said, “It’s pretty obvious that more of our energy and effort is going toward LCD and the retailers are shifting their floors faster to LCD. For us, we are on the wave and in the trend of which way the consumers are voting.”

Philips also used the event to unveil audio and accessory lines.