First Look: Philips 3D Cinema 21:9 Platinum

Over a year on, and Philips has launched the second version of its impressive 21:9 Cinema television at IFA 2010. Pocket-lint was on hand to have a look at the new model, and more importantly to see how it fares against the previous version. Should the early adopters have waited just that little longer? Read on to find out.

Those that do take the plunge will get the world’s first cinema proportion 3D TV with, as the name suggests, a 21:9 aspect ratio. That means movies shot in the 2.39:1 format (think Star Wars and other greats) completely fill the screen without those black bars.

To complete this one-and-a-half TVs in your living room the TV will also come with three-sided Ambilight Spectra, which if you've ever experienced the technology from Philips, makes the image seem even larger as the colours from the on-screen picture are cast across the walls behind the TV.

The Philips 3D Cinema 21:9 Platinum comes this time with 3D built in.

It will come with two sets of active shutter glasses to get you started with the sensor for the glasses built-in to the television rather than you having to find space for a separate dongle. Combine that with glasses that automatically detect when 3D content is being played and automatically come on and you're on to a winner (most require you to turn them on manually).

It's not until you see a film with no black bars that you start to realise the impact that the 21:9 aspect to the Cinema television actually means. The TV really is the canvas on which to paint the story and the Philips 3D Cinema 21:9 Platinum pushes it to the max.

When it comes to 3D we watched a couple of clips from demo tapes and movies including the fireworks clip from G-Force - you might laugh when we say this, but because of the thin bezel and the lack of black bars, the images really do leap out of the television, while all the time offering you a crystal clear image that will be hard to beat.

That crystal clear image is possible in 3D because of the lack of crosstalk (described by Wikipedia: "In Stereoscopic 3D Displays, crosstalk refers to the incomplete isolation of the left and right image channels so that one leaks or bleeds into the other - like a double exposure") - basically Philips has done everything it can to combat this, something that has plagued some existing 3DTVs.

A new thinner bezel means the you now get more screen too. The two televisions pictured above might be the same size in physical dimensions if you include the frame, but the new model manages to squeeze in another 2-inches of screen into the mix, meaning you get a 58-inch screen rather than a 56-inch one.

It might only be 2 inches, but any man or women will tell you that really can make the difference between something that's, well okay, and something that's mind blowing. We wouldn't go as far as saying the extra 2 inches on the Philips model is mind blowing, but it's certainly welcomed.

What is mind blowing however is the improvement in colour and the improvement in black handling thanks to a number of new proprietary technologies from Philips whether you are watching 2D or 3D images. That means stealing tech from the company's current 9000 series including Direct lit LED, 400Hz and Perfect Pixel HD Engine picture processing, while LED Pro operates over 1500 LEDs as a backlight for the display.

You'll also now get Philips Net TV offering so the likes of YouTube and possibly iPlayer some time next year although we doubt either would cope that well as this size, and you do have to consider that for all the glory of a CinemaScope display, your standard 4:3 TV content will look a little odd.

Verdict

Sounds, amazing doesn't it? And for the most part it is, however it's not all yes, yes, yes. You won't get a Freeview HD receiver built-in although for the movie fan this won't really be a problem, and because it's one and a half televisions you will be expected to pay one and half times the usual price of a high-end televisions - £3999.99 to you and me.

Then there is the most important factor, finding a space in your house. Of course the lack of tuner, price and dimensions means the Cinema 21:9 is most likely to reside in a bespoke home cinema rather than tucked in the corner of your living room.

If you've got the space, enjoy movies, and want to go 3D, the Philips 3D Cinema 21:9 Platinum might just be better than going to the cinema.