TP Vision, which releases televisions under license under the Philips TV brand name, unveiled its line-up for 2023 this week. Tweakers was of course there and although some of the TVs will not actually be on the market until the third quarter of this year , we were able to preview almost all of them. The most important news for fans of high-end televisions is that Philips TV will use LG Display’s new META OLED panel in the 908 OLED + top model this year. These panels have a much higher brightness than the brightest panels of 2022 due to the application of micro lens array technology.
What we also know is that a number of model series will be equipped with the new MediaTek Pentonic 1000-soc. This applies to the new 708, 808 and 908 OLED televisions, and to the 8508 and 8808 The One LCD televisions. This new chipset makes it possible to combine 120Hz (VRR) playback with Dolby Vision signal format, which was not possible with the previous generation of chips.
Philips TV also comes with new ‘affordable’ mini LED televisions, which places it between the mainstream The One models and the more expensive OLEDs. These TVs will be marketed as The Xtra and will be available with and without a built-in soundbar with B&W speakers. The The One series is also getting an update, including 120Hz display for 60Hz models, albeit with a small catch.
Furthermore, TP Vision has a striking strategy for using two different smart TV systems and showed a new, smaller remote control with invisible numeric keys.
MediaTek Pentonic 1000-soc
With the exception of Samsung and LG, (almost) all television manufacturers use MediaTek socs. Both the smart TV operating system and video decoding run on it and they take care of (a large part of) the image processing.
The new Pentonic 1000 is the successor to the somewhat aged MT5895-soc. Although the new soc still has four Arm Cortex A73 CPU cores and doesn’t seem to offer much progress in terms of CPU power, the Pentonic chip has a faster GPU and, above all, some specific improvements for the video pipeline. As a result, it is now possible to decode up to eight video streams at the same time, deeper integration with Calman calibration software is possible and the chip supports 4k Vrr up to 120Hz and 120Hz playback in combination with Dolby Vision without detours. The latter was not possible until now with televisions with a MediaTek chipset.
The new Philips televisions with the Pentonic 1000 chip all get improved ‘super resolution’ image sharpening and have the common denominator that they use Google TV as the operating system. However, those who had hoped for four full-spec HDMI 2.1 ports will be disappointed. As had already become clear in recent weeks, the Pentonic 1000 also only supports two HDMI ports with 48Gbit/s bandwidth. When asked, TP Vision said that there was never any question that the chipset would have four HDMI 2.1 full bandwidth ports, but MediaTek suggested that until recently on the now modified product page .of the Pentonic 1000. If you absolutely want more than two HDMI inputs with support for 4k120, then you will continue to rely on the top models from Samsung and LG in 2023 as well.
Smart TV – Next Gen Saphi and Google TV mixed up
In recent years, TP Vision has used Android TV for its more expensive Philips TV models and its own Saphi for the cheaper model series. This year, that will change in two ways. First, TP Vision is switching to Google TV. That builds on the Android TV, but has a new interface. It supports integration of live TV, but not (yet) in the Netherlands and Belgium.
With Google TV, however, Google also seems to be setting stricter requirements for how the interface is built. Where with Android TV as a user you often had the option to arrange the home screen according to your own wishes, that option is no longer available with Google TV. What is also striking is that the underlying TV interface of Google TV models is increasingly in Google’s Material Design style. Whether that is a hard requirement from Google, we cannot confirm, but the fact is that TP Vision is also abandoning its own menu style for its new TVs with Google TV and is embracing Material Design. As far as I’m concerned, that’s not necessarily a negative point.In fact, the first demos I’ve seen showed an interface that looks simpler, clearer and above all a lot more modern.
The fact seems that Google offers TV manufacturers less freedom when using Google TV than before with Android TV. Perhaps that is why TP Vision is taking the step to further develop Saphi this year, providing it with an interface that is basically very similar to the latest version of Android TV and Google TV, but with details such as TP Vision that want. TP Vision does not seem to have decided what this renewed platform will be called; the event spoke of an ‘enhanced and expanded smart TV experience’.
It is striking that this successor to Saphi will not only be used in the lower models from the 2023 line-up, but will also be used in the new Xtra miniled series. The confusing thing about this is that the lower-positioned The One does have Google TV, just like the OLED televisions in the top segment. An unequivocal answer to the question of why TP Vision weaves its own smart TV system through the lineup was not given.
Previously, Saphi was clearly positioned as less advanced than Android TV, but TP Vision clearly wants to get rid of that message this year. The message seems to be correct that the further developed Saphi will be placed next to Google TV as a fully-fledged alternative and not below it. TP Vision thus seems to be preparing for a future in which it does not want to be too dependent on Google and its strict(er) requirements. It is therefore interesting to see how the renewed smart TV system is received this year. If it turns out to be a success, it is obvious that TP Vision will use it in more model series in the coming years.
The first impression of the new OS – we only got a limited demo – is positive in my opinion. The look and feel is very similar to Google TV and the interface seemed to run fine on the entry-level TV we were demoed on. The big question is, of course, what about the app support. Under the hood, the new platform is based on Saphi and TP Vision confirmed that existing Saphi apps will work on the new platform. When introduced this spring, apps for all major international streaming services must also be available immediately and ‘in the course of the year’ (all) local services must also be added. In addition, TP Vision said, it is possible to cast content to the TV for services for which a native app may not yet be available. Or the TV
The 2023 Philips TV models
TP Vision usually announces its new televisions at the end of January or the beginning of February, but that does not mean that all TVs will be on the market soon. Also this year, some of the announced models will only be for sale ‘in the third quarter’. That certainly applies to the new OLED + 908 top model and the new The Xtra mini LED TVs. The OLED808 series and the new The One models will be in stores from May. For all 2023 models, the type numbers end with an 8, where last year’s models ended with a 7. Another common denominator of all new TVs that we discuss: they all have Ambilight (of course). No mention was made of prices yet; they will be announced later.
The new top model of Philips TV will be the OLED + 908, a television that looks very similar to the OLED + 907, which came on the market last fall. Like its predecessor, the new TV features a Bowers & Wilkins designed speaker system in the form of a speaker bar under the panel and woofers at the rear. The 908 stands on a small, central base, on which the screen can rotate left and right.
The TV will be available in 55″, 65″ and 77″ and the most important new achievement is LG’s improved META OLED panel. This makes Philips TV the third TV manufacturer to use these panels after LG Electronics and Panasonic. new MLA panels also means that Philips TV will not market QD OLED televisions this year, it confirmed to Tweakers.Last year TP Vision informed us that it would investigate whether it will (also) market televisions with QD OLED panels would bring, but that choice has so far turned out negative.
TP Vision says that peaks of up to 2100cd/m² are possible with the new panel and that full-screen white display comes out at 250cd/m². It also provided more specific information about the viewing angles and the improved anti-glare filter of the new panels. The half-luminanceviewing angle, the point at which the brightness halves compared to directly in front of the screen, should increase from 100 to 160 degrees with the new panels, while reflections from incident light should be reduced by 30 percent overall. We already saw these advantages in demos of LG’s new G3 OLED at CES at the beginning of this year. Philips TV this week showed the OLED+907 with last year’s OLED EX panel and the new OLED+908 with the META panel right next to each other. Both the higher brightness and the better reflection suppression of the new model were clearly visible.
The OLED + 908 will be supplied with a new remote control, with TP Vision opting for an interesting concept. In recent years we have seen a trend whereby manufacturers are increasingly simplifying their remote controls, removing buttons and merging functions. Samsung leads this field and no longer has numeric keys on the remote control of its televisions. If you don’t watch much linear TV or use an external receiver, that’s not such a problem, but if you do use the internal tuner, it’s pretty inconvenient. TP Vision wanted to make its new remote control clearer, but still keep the numeric keys. The solution that has been chosen for this seems quite charming. By default, there are no numeric keys visible,
How this works out in practice, we will test when the TV actually comes on the market in the autumn. What makes us less happy are the six advertising buttons at the bottom of the concept model that we got our hands on. With the current models there are ‘only’ four, but TP Vision also seems to be following the trend that this is becoming more and more. A final note is that TP Vision is moving away from normal batteries for the first time; the new remote control will have a built-in battery that can be charged via a standard USB-C port.
OLED 808 and 708
Under the OLED+908, TP Vision also comes with two cheaper models: the OLED 808 and 708. No information has been released about the latter and, as we understand, this model will not be widely sold in the Netherlands.
The OLED 808 is the successor to the OLED 807. The innovations in this TV are mainly in the use of the new MediaTek Pentonic 1000 chip, the implementation of Google TV and the use of (normal) OLED EX panels, with which the variants of 55″, 65″ and 77″ get a claimed brightness of 1000cd/m². For the smaller 42″ and 48″ variants, TP Vision deliberately does not make this claim, because although LG Display also seems to have switched for those smaller screen sizes, to the new production line, these smaller panels do not achieve higher brightness than their non-EX predecessors.
9008 and 9308 – The Xtra
Later this year, TP Vision will also launch two new mini LED TVs under the marketing name The Xtra. That ‘extra’ must refer to extra functionality, image quality and/or sound quality that these models offer over The One, the mainstream series of Philips TV. The main difference with The One lies in the fact that The Xtra uses mini LED backlights with local dimming and a brightness of 1000cd/m². TP Vision did not want to say anything about the number of zones yet, but it seems to be fewer than with the previous miniLED models from the 9506 series. The aim of these TVs must be to bring miniled to an affordable price level, although prices have not yet been announced.
The Xtra comes in two variants: the 9008 with normal down firing speakers and the more expensive 9308 with a Bowers & Wilkins soundbar under the screen. Outwardly, the 9308 is very similar to the OLED + 908, with the same compact foot in the middle of the screen. We understand that the 9308 will probably be equipped with a VA panel, while the final panel choice for the 9008 has not yet been made. TP Vision also has some time for that; these models will also not be available until autumn. The Xtra will be equipped with TP Vision’s own smart TV system and not Google TV.
8508 and 8808 – The One
The 8 series, which TP Vision unofficially promotes as The One, has been the best-selling Philips TV model series for years. The motto here is: ‘a good TV for a good price’. This year there will be two new variants on the market: the 8508 and the 8808. The main difference between the two is that the 8508 has a 60Hz panel, while the 8808 has a 100Hz panel. Both models use the MediaTek Pentonic 1000 chip and Google TV.
It is interesting that the 8508 with its 60Hz panel can still display 120Hz content. To make this possible, the vertical resolution is halved and the panel driver simply doubles the remaining lines, or some form of interpolation is applied. The technology used seems to depend on the panel supplier, with our understanding being that the 65″ model uses interpolation and the smaller 43″, 50″ and 55″ variants use line doubling. This trick enables 120Hz display with panels that have a 60Hz driver, albeit with a lower image sharpness.
A demo with the 65″ version of the 8508 showed that the image does run clearly smoother than on the TV hung directly next to it in normal 60Hz mode, but that the image sharpness is somewhat less than on a real 120Hz screen. there to be a bit more smearing than on the 120Hz panel that hung next to it, possibly because the transition speeds of the panel itself are also less high than with the real 120Hz panel next to it.
The last TV that TP Vision showed is the new 8108. This mainstream model has a 60Hz panel without 120Hz capability, uses its own smart TV system and seems to be intended to offer many features at the most competitive price. to deliver. The TV will be available in 43″, 50″, 55″, 65″, 70″ and 75″. The TVs should be on the market around May, prices are not yet announced by TP Vision. Under the 8108 series there will also be a 7698 model series, about which no information was given.