The thinner TV designs have become, the more manufacturers have struggled to offer acceptable sound quality.
It's now common for households to have to invest in a separate soundbar so that they can partner the awesome pictures of their new TVs with the sort of audio quality they deserve.
A different approach
The latest Philips OLED TVs, though, prove that actually it really is possible for ultra-stylish, ultra-slim TVs to deliver great sound quality. Especially if their sound is designed in collaboration with one of the most respected brands in Hi-Fi…
Advanced sound was at the heart of Philips’ latest OLED TV plans right from the start. For the OLED803 series, Philips managed to fit a number of key new sound quality features into the TV’s spectacularly slender form. For instance, two passive radiators were added to the patented long-throw bass driver Philips introduced in 2017’s award-winning 9002 OLED TV. The new long-throw driver grew from 2.5 inches to three inches, too, to deliver even deeper, cleaner, more powerful bass.
The previous OLED generation’s pair of down-firing, combined high & mid-range drivers, meanwhile, were replaced in the 803 series by dedicated silk dome tweeters and separate ‘race track’-shaped paper mid-range drivers, to boost high frequency response and clarity.
These changes make the OLED803s some of the best-sounding OLED TVs yet. But it turns out Philips was only just getting started. Its drive to keep making TV sound better led to a new partnership with renowned British Hi-Fi brand Bowers & Wilkins. This in turn led to a frenzy of collaboration and innovation that resulted in the flagship 65OLED903.
Look carefully at the new 65OLED903’s gorgeous design and you’ll see that there’s a slender soundbar running along its bottom edge. At first glance you wouldn’t imagine that such a trim speaker might be capable of rewriting the flat TV audio rulebook. Look behind its stylish cover, though, and it soon becomes clear why the 65OLED903’s built-in sound system humbles many an external soundbar.
Bowers & Wilkins inside
Every part of every driver and speaker element has been revised, redesigned and manufactured by Bowers & Wilkins, resulting in levels of immersive clarity, power, and even musicality that go beyond anything heard on a ‘mainstream’ TV before.
The Bowers & Wilkins team, for instance, managed to stiffen the mid- and high-frequency enclosures to reduce unwanted resonance. Their interior volume was increased too, to give the sound more room to breathe, without expanding the size of the external enclosure.
More than just a badge of honour
B&W introduced glass fibre ‘racing track’ drivers and 19mm titanium-dome concentric tweeters, both mounted flush to the baffle in their own enclosures. This improved clarity and reduced distortions, while tweaks to the drivers’ proportions boosted their wide angle performance.
The mid-frequency driver was additionally rebuilt with an improved motor, to enhance its range of sound. What’s more, crucially the OLED903’s mid and high-frequency drivers all face forward for a more direct, punchy sound.
There's bass too
No great TV sound system would be complete, of course, without some serious bass to bring Hollywood’s explosions, dinosaur footprints and alien spaceship engine rumbles to life. Tucked away on the 65OLED903’s rear is a bass array that delivers far more low frequency impact than you’d imagine possible from such a slender TV design.
B&W’s engineers again found a way to increase the internal volume of the bass enclosure while barely impacting its exterior size. The upgraded bass system also incorporates two larger, stiffer, oval-shaped dual passive radiators, based on the design of B&W’s legendary T7 speaker. Plus there’s a larger main low frequency driver that hits depths of rumble other TVs just cannot reach.
Just the start
The 65OLED903 is a truly ground-breaking and outstanding example of what can be achieved when a TV brand and a Hi-Fi brand get their heads together. Here’s hoping this is just the beginning of a beautiful TV/Hi-Fi friendship.