Philips made quite the impression with the OLED 803 (and sound-boosted 903) in 2018, but if you were thinking about buying one of those excellent televisions, just hold on one second.
Newly announced for 2019 is the Philips OLED 804 and OLED 845, which boost the performance of the previous models.
Before we continue, let's explain the difference between these two different models.
Philips OLED 804 vs OLED 854: What's the difference?
The stand is the difference. That's all that's in it - the OLED 804 has feet on the bottom and the OLED 854 has a centre-mounted stand.
The OLED 854 stand is actually pretty useful because it has some swivel in it, so it's easy to change the angle of the TV once you put it in your room. If you have your TV in the corner and the sofa in the centre of the opposite wall, it solves that problem.
Once you remove the stands, everything else about these TVs is the same - same sizes, performance, hardware, exactly the same panel and connections. If you're wall-mounting and don't want the stand they are identical.
A performance boost
- P5 Pro engine dual chip
- Dolby Vision support
- HDR improvements
When we reviewed the OLED 803 we were really impressed with the performance of that model and we're expecting much the same from the 804/854. While you're still looking at a 4K OLED panel, the big changes are behind the scenes.
The new models get a "pro" configuration of the P5 Picture Processing Engine, using a dual-chip configuration, so there's more power - and more power than the OLED+ 903 too. That brings with it a number of changes to the handling of HDR content.
One of the criticisms of HDR in the previous generation of OLED TVs from Philips was that it could be too dark - while highlights shone, often dark surrounds were too dark to be useful. That's changed considerably in the new models, as well as the introduction of support for Dolby Vision.
Philips will be offering Dolby Vision in dark or light settings, with the "light" getting a processing boost to lift the darker scenes for a more balanced picture. The dark setting is unprocessed Dolby Vision, but from the early tests we've seen, the light is a more natural and watchable picture.
The OLED 804/854 supports HDR 10+ too, with Philips committing to wide support of HDR standards. Supporting both dynamic HDR standards is no longer the preserve of the Panasonic GZ2000.
We've only had limited time in front of the OLED 804 and 854 models so we can't fully judge the picture performance, but we've seen some really impressive visuals coming from it. If the price stays in check, it could once again be a hot number in 2019.
These OLEDs will be available in 55 and 65-inch sizes, with Philips keeping sizes focused on those most likely to sell. There are four HDMI, all of which are HDR compliant and have three-sided Ambilight, which remains a unique selling point.
Connected skills from Android and Alexa
- Android TV
- Google Assistant
- Works with Alexa
The new OLED models use Android TV and that means support from a lot from the Google universe. That includes Google Assistant, although Philips uses a mic on the remote - with a dedicated Assistant button - rather than far-field mics on the TV, which are more prone to accidental triggers.
As your TV will become part of the Google Home system you'll be able to control other devices as well as controlling the TV from a Google Home device. You'll also be able to Google Cast direct to the TV.
In addition it works with Alexa, meaning you can use your Echo to play content on your TV, so it's fully equipped for a modern home.
Then there's Dolby Atmos. Don't get too excited - it's merely Dolby Atmos support rather than a full speaker setup, so the TV can decode Atmos and make the most of it, but the internal speakers, while pretty good, won't come close to a soundbar or separates sound system.
Having impressed us in 2018, Philips is back with another hot OLED. The prices haven't been confirmed, but we like what we see, with Philips offering a viable alternative to LG, Sony and Panasonic in the high-end OLED stakes.
There's still a lot to learn about the performance of these TVs, but we'll be sure to bring you a full review as soon as we can.