OLED displays are the next big thing in smartphones, but they’ve been the next big thing in televisions. Samsung and LG were two of the earliest adopters of the new technology, which has better color contrast than LCD televisions, and last week we saw another television giant get on board. The Ambilight 901F is Philips’ first OLED television, and unsurprisingly, it’s getting the star treatment — smart features, Philips’ best imaging technology, HDR, and 4k resolution.
For now, Philips only has a 55″ model of the new TV, which they announced last week at IFA in Berlin. The star feature is the OLED panel, which has been sourced from LG. Before OLED TVs we saw LED TVs, which used LCD displays with an LED panel for backlighting. It made the picture brighter, but at the expense of contrast — because the LED display was fully lit, it brightened up darker areas of the screen, making details in nighttime scenes a little harder to see. OLED displays are full of pixels lit independently, so the pixels that are supposed to be black stay completely black, without being distorted by a backlight.
On top of that, the 901F is 4k resolution and has a quad-core processor to power Android Smart TV, Google’s smart TV interface. Philips’ Ambilight feature can gently light up a dark room for more comfortable viewing with the lights off, while the picture itself is aided by their Micro Dimming technology, which dims or brightens individual pixels automatically to optimize the scene (it’s enough for the 901F to be HDR-certified). The color gamut has been widened by their 17-bit color booster. The most interesting bit might be Philips’ Perfect Natural technology, which can actually generate new frames. If a fast-moving scene starts to look choppy because the frame rate is too low, the TV can automatically create new frames in the scene to smooth it out.
Philips has plenty of experience in audio, and that usually carries over into their televisions. The 901F has a 6.1-channel 30-watt sound system, which uses six forward-firing speakers arranged in a soundbar. The bass comes from a port on the back located on a Triple Ring speaker.
Add in a couple of sturdy, shiny metal legs and a barely-there bezel, and you’ve got Philips’ best all-around television yet. We just don’t know if we’ll be able to get it — Philips hasn’t said anything about price or a release in the United States.