We might be seeing OLED TVs finally hitting the big time in 2020 as prices fall, but many sets are still out of reach for everyday consumers. The OLED+ 984 is certainly one of these, sitting at the top end of the market with a £4,500 price point, but it boasts audio and picture quality to die for.
Audio first, then, since that’s this particular TV’s raison d’etre. This 65 incher – yes, it’s only available in one size - is a superb follow-up to the Bowers & Wilkins infused OLED that we saw launched at last year’s IFA tech fair in Berlin.
Then, B&W had teamed up with TP Vision, the company behind Philips TV, to produce a TV that not only looked supreme, but had a picture and audio quality to match.
At this year's IFA 2019 the partnership has doubled down and produced not only this TV, but another new OLED set, the £3,000 834 OLED+ with Dolby Atmos. The new sets support both Dolby Vision and HDR10+ for a broad church of HDR content and once again run Android TV based on Android 9 Pie.
Philips actually has a third new OLED at the show this year - the 754 OLED doesn’t have a lot of the extras in this year’s model, but it’s designed to appeal to the entry-level OLED market. It also boasts Amazon Alexa built into the remote.
Anyway, back to the flagship. The new OLED+ 984 features the latest third-generation version of the P5 picture processor and, we were shown demos of how it can further reduce noise and make colours even more punchy – colours really do pop superbly.
As you can see, the 984 is also a class act in the design department, using glass and metal throughout and Kvadrat cloth for the front of the sleek speaker enclosure beneath the screen.
It's quite understated. However, what isn't understated is the four-sided Ambilight is on board, so the TV can show superb light shows reflective of the content on screen. While some still see Ambilight as a gimmick, it really does add something to the experience.
So much engineering effort has been bestowed on what’s inside the enclosure by Bowers & Wilkins engineers and the audio we were treated to in our demo was mind-blowing – you almost can’t believe it comes out of such a slender bar.
We watched the epic Mad Max trailer clip which we’ve seen a million times, listened to some audio streamed from Spotify (you can turn the screen off if you just want to use the TV sound system for audio) and watched plenty of other demo footage.
Look closely at the bar under the screen and you’ll see a small circular speaker – this is dubbed the ‘tweeter on top’ and is located there so it is decoupled from the three larger speaker drivers inside the enclosure. There are also two more tweeters at the ends of the cabinet for extra detail, and they’re truly very effective at what they do.
Of course, the OLED+ 984 is a premium TV at a premium price, but it shows what can be done with TV audio; in other words, there’s no reason why audio should be substandard for TVs of a certain level.
Of course, it helps that the image quality shown here is pretty mind-blowing, too. What a package (which you do pay handsomely for, of course). It's a worthy winner of one of our Best in Show IFA 2019 awards.