Philips has been a relatively small player in the OLED TV market over the last couple of years, with just two sets being made available: the 901F and 9002.
However, both have been very well received, critically and in sales terms, so it is upping the stakes considerably in 2018. There are several new models coming around spring time, including the OLED 873 – a 65-inch version of the 9002 – and the OLED 973 – similar but with an integrated 6.1 channel soundbar.
The other new addition is the Philips OLED 803, which will come come in 55 and 65-inch screen sizes and it combines minimal design aesthetics with some interesting extra features.
Woof, woof, woof
For a start, you get three subwoofer units in the rear, so the bass response should be mighty. Unfortunately, during our demo session in Amsterdam, we didn’t get to test the audio properly – that will have to wait until we fully review the set in the coming months. What we can say now though is that it certainly looks the business.
The picture quality is identical to the current 9002, the 973 and the 873. All three use Philips’ proprietary P5 Picture Engine, which crams so much clever processing nous into a single chip solution that it is as clever and accurate as it is speedy in operation.
The P5 chip is so named because it addresses five specific areas to improve image performance: source perfection, sharpness, colour, contrast and motion.
The end results, as we’ve seen in the 9002 previously, can be staggering. Motion is particularly impressive, with rival processing systems often struggling with some objects, such as a fast-moving football. The P5 Engine ensures that it is always visible, with no judder or ghosting.
Detail representation is also excellent, without the older plastic-style veneer that older picture processing software introduced. Admittedly, we viewed the 803 running Philips’ own test 4K footage, so will feed it a wider range of sources when in test, but our current feeling is that we’ll be happy with all results.
It works wonderfully with the three-sided Ambilight too, which you can see in our pictures.
The Philips OLED 803 TV, like the others in the range, will support HDR10+ from the box. That means it will dynamically adjust tone mapping to suit each frame, rather than apply static settings for scenes regardless of bright or dark areas, as is the case with conventional HDR.
It is a 4K set, naturally, and also supports HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) – the HDR tech to be adopted by broadcasters. And in comes with Android TV M, with Google Assistant being added at some point in the future. That’s because it requires Google to add UK English as a recognisable language, which is expected soon. You get an extra remote control in the box though, with a microphone in the top so you’re all set for when it activates.
A quad-core processor is dedicated to the Android smart functionality, and 16GB of on-board storage is available for app installation. This can also be expanded externally.
What strikes the 803 apart from its stablemates aesthetically is its desk stand. You can barely see it.
There’s two steel rectangular feet and that’s it. Even the Philips’ logo is subtly etched into one of them. It’s as minimal as they come and gorgeous.
We certainly need more time with the TV to give an overall impression, but it’s looking good for now.
And considering it will come in 55 and 65-inch screen sizes it should appeal no matter your room real estate.
The only real question is whether to get the 803 or look at the 873 or 9002 – even the 973. One thing’s for sure, choice is good and now Philips has plenty on offer.
We don’t know the price of the 803 yet, and only that it’s coming in the second quarter, but it’s definitely worth keeping an eye out for.