LAS VEGAS – There's something to be said for making something that the average consumer can afford. Philips has revealed its television lineup for 2016, and the only big advancement is the industry-standard addition of high dynamic range support to its sets. On the other hand, Philips has kept its 4K TVs relatively low in price, which will let more shoppers experience better picture quality.
I met with Philips at CES 2016 to check out its new lineup of TVs, and was generally pleased with what I saw. Philips will release UHD TVs in two different series during the year: the 7000 and 8600. As the numbers increase, so, too, do the bells and whistles associated with them. All TVs feature 4K resolution and support for HDR content, however.
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The 7000 series is the less fancy of the two, although based on what I saw, the sets still look fine overall. A 49-inch TV will retail for $850, while a 55-inch model will cost $1,000. Both will launch in July. The TVs themselves are also quite thin: about an inch thick. When I watched stock footage of exotic locations around the globe, the colors looked rich and perhaps just a bit oversaturated, particularly the vibrant reds and greens.
If you're willing to dish out a bit more money, the 8600 series offers the same 4K resolution and HDR features of its 7000 counterpart, but also makes use of an innovative backlight known as BrightPro. This functionality gives the screen deeper blacks and better contrast overall. When I looked at a bright white sign with black writing, surrounded by reds and browns in the background, each color was perfectly distinguishable. A 55-inch model will cost you $1,200, while a 65-inch will go for $1,700, and both will hit shelves in July.
Philips TVs run on an OS known as NetTV, which is competent, if lacking a few channels. Users can access Netflix and YouTube in 4K, as well as Vudu and Pandora in standard HD. Consumers looking for Hulu, Amazon Prime and other networks will have to supply their own streaming device.
Overall, Philips new sets aren't terribly exciting, but they support the latest industry standard features, and the displays all look good for a reasonable price.