Is Philips OLED807 the ultimate TV? OLED EX, game functions and four-sided Ambilight

The Philips 807 is an OLED UHD TV that runs on Android TV from Google. The TV uses an OLED EX panel, so the maximum brightness is relatively high. The TV features two HDMI 2.1 inputs with support for 120Hz and vrr. The device delivers very good image quality and supports all HDR formats. It has good sound and supports all major audio codecs. Unique to Philips TVs is Ambilight, where the TV projects the atmosphere of the image onto the wall behind the screen.

Pros

  • High brightness
  • Excellent image quality
  • Good sound quality

Cons

  • Resolution at vrr not optimal

While LG Electronics, Sony and Panasonic prefer not to say exactly which OLED panels they put in their televisions, TP Vision did not make it difficult at the beginning of this year: the new Philips 8 series would be equipped with LG Display’s latest generation of OLED EX panels. We had to wait a while, but the Philips OLED 807 is now for sale. We have tested the 55″ version.

That new panel is the most important on paper, but not the only improvement over last year’s OLED806. The 807 also has an upgraded version of the P5 dual-engine image processor that works with the ambient light sensor to better match the image to viewing conditions. In addition, Philips has added a Game Bar menu and the TV has an IMAX Enhanced mode. The design has also been adjusted: the flat minimalist legs of the 806 have made way for a larger T-shaped base.

The Philips OLED 807 series is available in image sizes from 48 to 77 inches, with the models from 55 inches being equipped with OLED EX panels anyway; the smaller 48″ version will initially have to make do with a panel from the previous generation. The TV also has HDMI 2.1 ports with support for hfr and vrr, among other things, with the TV unfortunately still having a number of limitations Just like its predecessor, the TV is equipped with four-sided ambilight , whereby the atmosphere of the image is continued on the wall by LEDs behind the screen. the 77″ version. Our 55″ test model is for sale at the time of writing from 1419 euros, making the TV a few hundred euros more expensive than LG’s popular 55″ C2 OLED and Samsung’s 55″ S95B QD OLED . It’s time to find out whether the Philips 807 is worth the extra price.

Appearance and connections

All modern (OLED) televisions are flat and have extremely thin bezels. Unless televisions are equipped with a visible speaker bar, the difference in design is mainly in the foot. This is no different with the Philips OLED 807. The new model stands on a large T-shaped metal base with a chrome finish. Personally, I find the foot particularly beautiful, but that is of course a matter of personal taste. The foot protrudes relatively far in front of the screen, so that a possible soundbar will also be placed quite far in front of, instead of under, the TV.

The TV has narrow bezels that are surrounded by a black border that has a light relief. The ‘drop’ containing the receiver for the infrared signals from the remote control and the light sensor are located on the 807 in an elongated, angular protrusion right below the screen, which in terms of design fits well with the also angular shapes of the base . As with many recent Philips TVs, the brand logo is only applied to the base and not to the screen.

Ambilight

The OLED 807 is equipped with four-sided Amblight. Around the housing are RGB LEDs on the back that can illuminate the wall behind the TV. This allows you to have the wall color along with the image, but if desired you can also have the LEDs react to the sound or let them shine in a color of your choice. A link is also possible between the TV and Philips Hue lamps.

Ambilight LEDs are now controlled individually, instead of in groups, so that the transitions between different colors are now less abrupt.

Connections

Most connections are hidden behind a cover at the back. There is a recess in the flap so that you can put it back to finish the back nicely. This only works well if you don’t connect too many cables and don’t use the connections on the side. The only connection that is not behind the cover is for the power cord. You will receive a long copy of 2.5 meters. It is equipped with an angled plug, very handy for wall mounting.

All connections, except for the power cord, are mounted at an angle of 90 degrees, so that the plugs do not get in the way when hanging on the wall. At the bottom we find the following connections: an optical digital audio connection (Toslink), a network connection, a satellite connection, an antenna connection, two of the four HDMI connections and one of the three USB connections. All HDMI ports feature an audio return channel , but only HDMI port 2.1 also features e-arc, which allows higher bitrate sound to be sent to a connected audio system.

On the side at the top are a CI + slot, a 3.5mm headphone jack that can also serve as an analog audio output and two of the three USB connections. One of them is suitable for High Speed, or 480Mbit/s-USB 2.0. At the bottom are two of the four HDMI connections. Only HDMI ports 1 and 2 are capable of 4k images at up to 120fps; 3 and 4 go up to 60fps. There is also a serial connection on the side, but it is only intended for service applications.

Smart TV and remote control

The Philips 807 runs Android TV, version 11, from Google. Just like its predecessor, this TV still uses the MediaTek MT5895-soc. It is equipped with 3GB of RAM and four Arm Cortex A73 CPU cores that run at a maximum of 1.8GHz. There is also a Mali G52 GPU that renders the interface in 1920×1080 pixels.

As mentioned, the TV uses Android TV, and not the newer Google TV. That does not matter much, because the same basis is used and the implementation on the Philips 807 is also very similar to Google TV in terms of appearance. The home screen contains a row of pre-installed apps, with content recommendations (from Netflix), a help section and links to Google Play content, followed by recommended apps and then more content suggestions from ViaPlay, AppleTV and Prime Video. So a lot of sponsored content, a trend that we unfortunately see with all smart TV platforms in recent years. Fortunately, with Android TV it is still possible to fill in the main screen (largely) according to your own taste, where you can choose to turn off the content suggestions.

Android TV 11 offers apps for almost all streaming platforms. Casting to the Philips OLED 807 is of course also possible thanks to the integrated Chromecast functionality. The TV switches correctly to the correct frame rate depending on the source.

Philips has built its own menu structure for all functions of the TV. There is also a handy quick menu, for which a button with frequently used settings has been reserved on the remote control. The normal settings menus are also arranged in typical Philips style. That means that some settings are hidden a bit deep in the menu structure. This is less useful for power users, but most users will not often need these advanced settings.

The electronic program guide looks clear, but when you consult it, the current program disappears from view. With most competitors, the current channel remains visible in a corner of the screen.

Remote control

The Philips 807 comes with exactly the same remote control as its predecessor: a flat, silver-grey model that has all the usual keys, including a numeric keypad and built-in microphone that can be used to voice search within Android TV and apps. In addition, this model is equipped with LEDs that illuminate the buttons in the dark. The keys extend all the way to the sides, so the edge feels a bit sharp.

The remote control is relatively narrow and there is no space between the individual buttons, so it can happen that you accidentally press the wrong button. However, those are minor drawbacks as far as I’m concerned; the remote control fits comfortably in the hand and the fact that all common functions are located directly under a button is a big advantage in my opinion.

Gaming and hfr

Just like its predecessor, the Philips 807 has two 2.1 connections that make it possible to send 4k images to the TV at 120fps. It also has auto low latency mode , which can automatically put the TV in game mode when you play a game on your console. There is also support for variable refresh rate ie vrr, G-Sync and FreeSync. Frame rates are possible between 48 and 120fps. In practice, our test model also turned out to swallow 144Hz signals, although the TV did show the message ‘unsupported format’.

Input lag

If you like to play games on a TV with a PC or game console, you will benefit from the lowest possible input lag. A higher input lag means that the TV takes longer to display the images, so that you feel that the game responds more slowly to your commands.

The Philips 807 scores reasonably to well on this point, because measured in game mode with our Leo Bodnar lag tester, we came up with a delay of approximately 7ms with 120fps images, which is an excellent score. When inputting 60fps images, the delay doubles to about 15ms. That is less than a single frame delay and certainly not bad, but some other televisions do this better.

Chroma subsampling and 120Hz limitations

Processing UHD images takes a lot of bandwidth and computing power. A single image has more than 8 million pixels and if you also have to handle 60 or 120 of them per second, the required bandwidth increases rapidly. Many televisions try to relieve the image processing chips by applying chroma subsampling to the incoming signal when displaying 2160p images. This sacrifices color resolution, but because the resolution of the brightness signal is preserved, it goes unnoticed in most natural images.

Since all codecs used for video distribution also use chroma subsampling, you won’t be affected when watching video. However, if you look at computer images from a PC or game console, there is a clear reduction in image quality. This is unfortunately also the case with the OLED 807, just like with its predecessor.

You can do something about this by navigating in the menu to All settings > General settings > HDMI Ultra HD. There you can choose between Standard , Optimal and Optimal (Auto Game) for all four inputs. The latter two provide the best image quality, because no chroma subsampling is applied. The ‘Optimal (Auto Game)’ mode is necessary in order to send images to the TV with a variable frame rate. However, this mode has the disadvantage that the vertical resolution is halved, because the TV always skips an image line. The image is then scaled back to full resolution, resulting in a much less sharp image.

By not choosing the game mode in the menu, but the monitor mode, 4k images with 120fps are displayed perfectly, and therefore without chroma subsampling. The input lag in the monitor preset is also just as low as in game mode. Unfortunately, there is no vrr support in this mode. So with this TV you have to choose 4k120 display with a vertically halved resolution, but with VRR, or a perfect display without VRR. We also saw this problem with the OLED806 last year, which is related to a limitation of the MediaTek chipset used. It is a pity that this has still not been resolved, especially since competitors such as Samsung and LG do not have this problem.

Energy use and noise

With energy prices rising to one euro per kWh, the energy consumption of devices that are switched on for several hours a day is an issue that is being taken into account by an increasing number of people. We test the power consumption when displaying a black and white checkerboard pattern with two different brightness settings: 120cd/m² and 250cd/m². The first scenario is a good brightness for when you look in a dimmed room at night, while the higher brightness corresponds to a normal brightness for the daytime.

At the same brightness settings, OLED televisions are usually slightly less economical than LCD models in our test method, and that is also reflected in the Philips OLED807. The consumption of the TV corresponds to that of other woled televisions that use LG Display panels. In our lower brightness test, the TV uses just over 80W, making it one of the most energy-efficient OLED TVs this year. When measuring with high brightness, the picture is slightly different, LG’s C2 is more than 10W more economical.

Sound

Philips usually pays a lot of attention to the sound of its high-end televisions, especially the top models equipped with Bowers & Wilkins speaker technology. The OLED807 is just below those top models and is therefore not equipped with that speaker technology, but the OLED807 still has a great speaker system.

The TV produces a good audio volume and the low reproduction of the woofer at the back is very decent for a flat TV, thanks to a built-in woofer with two passive drivers at the back of the TV. The basses are tight and have enough ‘weight’. It all sounds a bit less at the higher volumes, but it never overdrives, so even the maximum volume is very useful.

Dialogues are easy to understand and the stereo image is not disappointing. The speakers, which are placed at the bottom of the housing and radiate the sound downwards, are equipped with separate drivers for the high and mid tones. Speakers placed straight forward sound even better, but there was no room for that in this design.

Like its predecessor, the Philips OLED 807 has a function to adjust the sound to the acoustics of the room using the microphone in the remote control. Depending on the space, this can actually have a positive effect. We tested the function in two different scenarios, where the effect seems to be particularly positive when the TV is placed close to a wall.

Another feature worth mentioning is Mimi Sound Personalization. The software emits a series of rising and fading beeps of different frequencies amidst background noise, requiring you as a user to indicate by pressing the remote control when swelling sound first and fading sound is heard for the last time. A profile is then created for your hearing, and the television applies compensation for frequencies that you hear less well. In my case, that correction slightly boosted the tones in the upper range, producing a ‘fresher’ sound without, to me, appearing strident.

Sound formats and DTS Play-Fi

In addition to the various Dolby audio formats, including Atmos, the DTS audio formats are also supported. This gives the Philips 807 a clear advantage over televisions from Samsung, LG and Panasonic, among others, which all no longer have DTS support to save on licensing costs. In addition to the DTS audio formats, the 807 also supports Play-Fi, which allows it to send sound to wireless speakers to make the TV part of a multi-speaker system.

That turned out to be less easy than we had hoped. Pairing both devices isn’t complicated, but we struggled to get the subwoofer to work well with the TV. After pairing, you can adjust the volume of different DTS Play-Fi speakers, in this case the TV and the subwoofer, by playing noise across all speakers. No further explanation is given here and in the case of the Philips TAFW1 subwoofer, the sound of this speaker was only audible when we increased the relative volume very high. The result was that the sub was way too loud in relation to the TV. In the end, the sub turned out to match the TV reasonably well with a volume offset of -20. What is special is that the sub will only participate if the volume of the TV is set to at least 17;below that, the sub seems to get no signal and the sound of the TV therefore sounds a bit thin. The integration of TV and subwoofer did not work very well for us. In addition, the TAFW1 subwoofer was found to never use less than 9.7W during our test period, even if the device had been in standby for several hours.

Panel and image processing

As mentioned earlier, the Philips OLED 807 uses an OLED EX panel from LG Display, which is the panel that LG Display allegedly calls the ‘prestige panel’, the version without a heatsink. This is the same panel used by LG Electronics in this year’s C2 series. The ‘royal panel’, the version with heatsink that offers even higher brightness and is used by LG Electronics in the G2 series, will be used by Philips in the upcoming OLED+ 907 and OLED+ 937 models. They will therefore offer an even higher brightness than the 55OLED807 from this review.

Sixth Generation P5

TP Vision places great value on its P5 image processing, a combination of algorithms that help to polish poor quality images by optimizing colour, contrast, sharpness and image noise. In addition, motion compensation and the upscaling of HDR images to pseudo-HDR also fall under the P5 flag. The more expensive models from Philips use a dual engine P5 that consists of two separate chips. TP Vision does not want to say much about the precise operation, but what is important is mainly what we see in practice.

The previous versions of the P5 were already strong in improving images, although it is a matter of personal taste whether ‘improving’ really makes the image better. With poor quality source material with low contrast and, for example, many compression artifacts, there is certainly something to be said for using some computing power, but with a 4k Blu-ray that is not necessary and the image is changed as the director intended in a way that was not his or her intention. The sixth generation P5 succeeds well in making images sharper and richer in contrast, and the noise reduction is also very good. For most settings, it is best to set them to a low setting, otherwise the image will look unnaturally sharpened or too colorful. motion compensation,adding in-between images to get smoother motion is also a strong point of TP Vision, and the OLED 807 is no different from its predecessors. Of course adding calculated intermediate images always involves some image errors; I therefore prefer to turn it off.

New with this year’s sixth generation P5 is ‘Ambient Intelligence’, a collective name for a number of functions that make smarter use of the light sensor built into the TV. In addition to a normal adjustment of the screen brightness to the brightness of the room, which Philips calls Eye Care, there is also Dark Detail Optimization, where dark details are deliberately brightened when there is more ambient light. This helps prevent shadow details from being obscured in incident light. New is Color Temperature Optimization. If you enable this function, the TV will automatically choose a higher (cooler) color temperature when there is a lot of ambient light, so that the TV can achieve a higher brightness. The first two functions work fine;

The same also applies to the possibility to automatically switch to a film mode when film material is recognized. This function should make it possible to switch automatically between, for example, a clear mode with extra image processing when you watch normal TV broadcasts and a true-to-life film mode when film content is recognized. This sounds like a good addition, but in practice I noticed that during a Formula 1 race, for example, the TV automatically switches to film mode during a slow-motion replay and then switches back to normal mode with images at normal speed.

Measurements and HDR

We know that all modern high-end televisions score well to very well with SDR display and that gray color accuracy with HDR display is also improving. The biggest differences in the higher segment are in the (maximum) brightness and contrast of the televisions.

We measure the color properties with a Spectracal C6 colorimeter and an X-Rite I1 Pro 2 spectrometer. To generate images we use the Spectracal Videoforge. All of this is controlled by Portrait Displays Calman Ultimate software.

We test in advance which image preset delivers the most accurate gray gradient for both our SDR and HDR measurements and choose that preset to perform the rest of our tests. We give all televisions a fair chance by turning off all (AI) image optimizations, because they distort the measurement results. Options such as Dynamic Contrast and Live Color provide a more intense color experience, but also saturation errors.

We measure color fidelity in ΔE2000 and ΔE ITP, where ΔE2000 is the standard used for decades to indicate image performance. ΔE indicates the extent to which the measured value deviates from the expected value, and for ΔE2000, as a rule of thumb, values ​​less than 3 are regarded as very good and less than 1 as perfect.

However, ΔE2000 has limitations with HDR, which means that unrealistically low, so good, scores are often achieved, while the image errors can be clearly visible. ΔE ITP solves this and also weighs the color deviation differently, so that colors that we quickly recognize as right or wrong, such as skin tones and plants, have more influence on the score than, for example, neon colors. The results of ΔE2000 and ΔE ITP are therefore not mutually comparable.

SD display

Our test model recorded the most accurate gray rendering when using the ‘Expert 1’ preset, which we used for all SDR measurements.

The accuracy of the Philips OLED 807 when displaying SDR images is reference level. The gray gradient is almost perfect, so that the average deviation according to the ΔE2000 calculation is 1.9. The ColorChecker test, which combines both grayscale and a wide range of common color tones, results in an average ΔE2000 of 1.3W, which is again very good.

HDR view

For HDR signals, we chose the HDR Filmmaker mode, because it showed the smallest deviations.

When displaying a completely white screen, the Philips 807 is slightly brighter than the LG C2 using the same panel, at 185 to 170cd/m². However, the peak brightness of the C2 when displaying a white area that covers five percent of a black background is a lot higher: with the Philips 807 we measure a maximum of 743cd/m², while LG manages to squeeze 803cd/m² from the C2 . Philips therefore seems a bit more reserved with pushing the panel to the maximum.

On the other hand, the color accuracy in HDR mode is very good. The average gray deviation according to the ITP calculation is 2.96, while the average deviation in the extensive ColorChecker test is only 2.54, the best score of all TVs we measured this year.

Conclusion

The Philips OLED 807 builds on the foundation of last year’s OLED 806, with the main achievement being the new OLED EX panel that offers the TV a higher maximum brightness. In addition, TP Vision has provided the TV with a new base and improvements to the image processing.

That makes the OLED 807 an excellent all-round television that offers very good image quality and excellent sound. The design of the new foot is beautiful in my opinion, but you have to like the many chrome and the foot protruding far forward may not be ideal in combination with a soundbar. The Ambilight function that emits RGB light behind the TV above, below, left and right on this TV is unique for Philips televisions. If you want a good OLED television with Ambilight, this TV is an excellent choice.

The image processing from Philips is fine and if you are a fan of image interpolation, this TV is fine. The contrast, sharpness and color improvements of the P5 are also great to use if you apply them in moderation. For purists who are horrified by this, there is of course also a Film Maker mode in which the image is left untouched and the TV offers very accurate reproduction in both SDR and HDR mode.

The only point we’re critical of is the HDMI 2.1 implementation. Nothing has improved on this point from last year, meaning the OLED 807 only has two full-bandwidth HDMI 2.1 ports, where LG and Samsung offer this on four ports. Now you won’t (for the time being) connect more than two devices that use this, so we don’t want to be too difficult about this. More annoying is that the TV lowers the vertical resolution internally when displaying a vrr signal. As a result, when using a PS5 or Xbox Series X in combination with vrr, the image is not as sharp as it could be.

The competition in the market for high-end televisions is cutthroat, which is why price is important and probably even decisive for many people. The current retail price of the 55OLED807 that we are testing is at least 1420 euros without any cashbacks, making it about 200 euros more expensive than the popular LG C2 and the Samsung S95B . The latter two have an advantage in terms of gaming, while the Philips 807 offers slightly more accurate color reproduction, slightly better sound, and Amblight. What matters is a matter of personal consideration. We give the Philips OLED 807 an Excellent Award because of its good image and sound quality.