Seeing the idiot box in a new light

| Updated on: Apr 15, 2015
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Philips’ new range of TVs gets more real and colourful with the addition of Ambilight and a step up to 4K resolution

While the debate rages on about whether it is time for us all to upgrade to Ultra HD TVs, prices of 4K ‘Teles’ have been steadily falling down, and more and more 4K content has finally become available to be streamed online or viewed via dedicated 4K set-top boxes.

Some of the country’s top service providers have launched 4K set-top boxes and a few channels and some programming are now available to be viewed in 4K resolution. YouTube has also taken the lead and launched 4K videos and some of them are just spectacular.

So, going 4K is now more than ever, looking like a sensible decision to make. 4K screens are soon going to pop up in even cell phones. Also, if rumours are to be believed, Apple is expected to launch an 8K Mac later this year. But, that is treading into a very different category altogether.

New series

Consumer electronics giant Philips has joined the others in attempting to woo buyers into the Ultra HD fold. Its latest range is the Ultra Slim 8600 series LED 4K TVs with its proprietary Ambilight technology. We got one shipped to our test bench at Technophile to figure out what it was all about.

We have had a taste of Philips’ Ambilight technology even in the past. Combining the company’s expertise in the fields of display and LED lighting tech, Ambilight attempts to enhance the TV viewing experience by intelligently projecting complementary colours around the edges of the TV. The tech has now been offered for the first time in 4K TVs.

Back to the future

The fundamental assumption behind Ambilight is that humans are natural-born peripheral viewers and that we tend to take in more of the surroundings and not just the TV screen alone. So, the logic behind the programmable Ambilight tech was to make sure that the LEDs behind the TV throw soft lighting to improve impact and don’t become an unwelcome intrusion.

Opinion has been divided about whether Ambilight offers a pleasurable impact or is vaguely strenuous on the eyes. Our team’s opinion too was divided, but some of the strain while viewing the new 58-inch 8600 Series 4K Ambilight TV we were testing might have been due to the short viewing distance in the cabin.

Also Ambilight’s impact seems to be best experienced with some amount of other ambient lighting in the room and not when it is completely dark like in a theatre.

The 58-inch Ultra Slim Ultra HD TV which we had on our test bench had a strip of LEDs at the top and sides of the rear panel. It has a range of six colours and white tones too. The display is really thin and is 3D capable in addition to its 4K resolution.

Black levels were adequately deep and picture clarity was quite literally stunning when 4K content was being streamed. When the content being played was over ripe with colours, the Ambilight feature seemed to overwhelm the experience a bit. But, at other times, it was acceptably mild.

This 8600 Series is said to be also loaded with Digital Natural Motion, which attempts to eliminate motion blur when viewing content with swift camera pans, action and movements.


There is the usual bunch of Smart TV functions and there is also Miracast, an application for mirroring content from an android phone or tablet. You can also connect and access content from your Dropbox or other Cloud resources.

The new range of 4K Ambilight Philips TVs can be a great addition to your home, if you are clear you want the step up in resolution, and the price tag doesn’t intimidate you.

₹1.55 lakh to ₹ 3.72 lakh

Love : 4K picture clarity, Slim form

Hate: As yet pricey, inconsistent remote controller

Published on January 23, 2018

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