How do you make the ultimate TV? That was the challenge set to the engineers at Philips TV and Bowers & Wilkins. Create a TV that sets new reference standards for both picture and sound performance while also leading the market for design and build quality.
The result is the Philips OLED+984 is the company's flagship television for 2019. The new 65-inch OLED+ flagship TV uses the new third-generation of Philips' P5 picture processor, which boasts better HDR performance for HDR10 and 10+, and Bowers & Wilkins sound, thanks to the partnership between the two companies started in 2018, designed to offer dramatic sound without filling your room with speakers.
"The P5 processor has been a huge success for Philips, allowing the company to consistently claim the best picture quality in the market," explains Danny Tack, director of product strategy and planning at TP Vision, the company behind the Philips TV brand. "We have continually developed the P5 and with the third-generation version we have added a second chip, doubling the processing power to provide 30 per cent more picture performance over the second-generation version - which we would suggest was already the best processing engine available."
The Philips P5 engine is the company's most comprehensive picture solution yet to ensure you are getting the best viewing experience no matter the source material. You can be watching a standard definition TV broadcast, a Blu-ray or 4K Ultra HD content and the P5 Engine will enhance and improve the visuals to provide the very best images.
But it's the latest third-generation that Philips believes is really starting to push what's possible.
"The additional power of the third-generation P5 has allowed us to improve the performance of our unique Perfect Natural Reality feature which uses an intelligent algorithm to give SDR content the performance of HDR material," adds Tack.
The move means that the third-generation P5 also allows the company to be one of very few brands to offer both Dolby Vision and HDR10+ compatibility allowing Philips to deliver a deeper, darker, black level that maintains image detail plus more vibrant, accurate colours while still maintaining natural and realistic skin tones, plus better contrast, improved noise reduction and better sharpness.
And that Dolby Vision support is more than just a sticker on a box.
"Philips has enjoyed a long relationship with Dolby," comments Tack. "Not only does the third-gen P5 allow us to offer superb Dolby Vision performance, but our partnership with Dolby has pretty much uniquely allowed us to offer the benefits of P5 directly on Dolby Vision encoded content, bringing improvements for noise and artefact reduction plus both sharpness and motion enhancements."
And it's something that customers are asking for more and more with the Philips man acknowledging that although "HDR is key" TV makers also have to "acknowledge that the majority of content is still available in SDR."
For Philips that means making sure the company offers its Perfect Natural Reality feature to bring HDR levels of performance to SDR images.
But the picture is just one side of the story. Philips has worked closely with B&W to create an even more immersive sound experience above and beyond the 2018 range, something that was possible, says Andy Kerr, director of product marketing at Bowers & Wilkins, because the company was able to start with a clean sheet of paper with the 2019 sets.
"The key improvement is that we have been given a free hand to create the optimum audio solution with the 2019 sets," Kerr tells Pocket-lint "In 2018 we had to adapt our system to an existing TV design."
The decision means that the two companies have been able to "to create dedicated, rigid speaker enclosures mounted outside the set for both the OLED+934 and 984 models."
This advance in turn allows for the inclusion of more and bigger drive units that can be driven harder without affecting the panel or the rest of the set.
And deliver it has.
"The good news is we have extensive of experience of creating great sound in 'difficult' or constrained spaces, thanks to our work on headphones and wireless audio plus our in-car work with companies such as BMW and McLaren," explains Kerr when we asked him about some of the challenges it faced with the need to recreate a movie-quality sound experience from such a small set of speakers. "With TVs, we have the challenge of creating a wide, room-filling immersive sound from a single point source, while that soundstage must also remain stable and consistent, with dialogue being clear and 'locked' to the correct part of the screen. Happily, we actually have more space in terms of acoustic volume within the 2019 TV sets, so we can achieve a great deal more in terms of acoustic performance."
And that means even including support for Dolby Atmos.
"The OLED+984 is a flagship product and as such we recognise that the customer will expect an exceptional performance whatever content they want to listen to, whether that's bringing audiophile quality to music reproduction or bringing a realistic, immersive experience to movies. Dolby Atmos is a key part of that experience and with so many new movies, TV shows and games being offered in that format, we're delighted to be able to support it."
It's not just consumers enjoying the benefits of the partnership. Both companies are official partners of Abbey Road Studios which boasts the TVs in its control and live room spaces.
"As one of the world's premier film scoring destinations, Abbey Road Studios exists at the intersection of world class sound and vision," Jeremy Huffelmann, head of partnerships at Abbey Road tells Pocket-lint. "Bowers & Wilkins speakers are synonymous with best in class sound and our partnership with Philips TV recognises a similar commitment to excellence in their field. Together it combines to deliver a world class experience for our recording clients."