Amidst a lack of ultra high definition (UHD) content and ample competition, Dutch electronics manufacturer Philips nevertheless plans to release three new series of 4K televisions. To help them stand out, all three series feature Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) with Google certification, giving users access to apps specifically oriented for a TV's screen size with room for further development in the future.
Perhaps even more exciting, Philips' Ambilight 4—an ambient lighting system that features rows of LEDs along a TV's rear casing—enhances these new 4Ks, providing instant mood lighting. And rather than just invoking ambiance by casting light on the wall behind them, the Ambilight TVs can also read ambient light sources in the room. Using Micro Dimming Technology, the displays dynamically adjust these LEDs to provide the best contrast and black levels.
The 7900 Series
As for the individual TVs, first up is the 7900 series, featuring screen sizes ranging from 49 to 55 inches. Despite being a "budget" line, the 7900 series includes all the fancy extras you'd expect from a line of smart, 4K TVs. Granted, it's not the trendiest or most attractive TV, but it's what's on the screen that counts. The 7900 series uses Ambilight enhancement on two sides of the screen.
Even at the budget level, Philips has included a processor powerful enough to make using the 7900's smart features smooth and seamless. Given the rarity of UHD content, consumers will be glad to have the 7900's upscaling engine, called Pixel Precise Ultra HD, which promises to upscale current full HD content into crisp and clear 4K content. 600 Hz Perfect Motion Rate Ultra Motion enhancement will allegedly improve motion performance, too.
The 8900 Series
One step up from the 7900 series, the 8900 series aims to continue the same quality of image reproduction with a more attractive form factor. The first thing you'll notice about the 55-inch Philips 8909C TV is that it's curved, and rests atop a simple metal ribbon. It makes for an impressive display, even with the TV turned off, and is the first curved Android TV on the market.
Once powered up, the 8909C displays images using the same image enhancing features as the 7900—high-performance upscaling, dynamic backlighting, and a 1000 Hz motion enhancement engine—continuing Philips' aim for a near-cinema experience. The 8900 series wields Ambilight enhancement on three sides of the screen.
The 9800 Series
Marrying fashionable design and ultimate performance, the 65-inch 9800 is Philips' flagship television.
The 9800 TV has all the same features as the 8900 series, but adds local dimming through 144-zone full array back lighting, which will enhance contrast and black level even further. The 9800 TV will also deliver great sound, equipped with a wireless subwoofer that can be placed anywhere in the room to deliver the bass. Naturally, the premium 9800 series has Ambilight on all four sides of the screen.
What to Watch
At this point, there are probably more 4K TV models than actual individual pieces of content, which Philips also aims to change. With the UHD 880 media streaming box, early adopters earn an easier way to tap additional 4K streaming providers. As an added incentive to adopting early, Philips will actually provide a free media streamer to everyone who purchases an 8900- or 9800-series TV.
If you're more into music than video, Philips has you covered there, too. In a collaborative effort with Spotify, each new 4K TV gives users access to Spotify Connect, making it easier than ever to use the popular music streaming service.
Philips is also actively going after gamers in these latest TV series. Each TV has integrated OnLive cloud gaming support, allowing users to access premium gaming content on their TVs, effectively bypassing the console as the living room entertainment system.