Find out what’s new with the latest Philips TV lineup - and which model you should buy
Philips’ flagship flatscreen TVs are right at the cutting-edge of televisual technology, and every year the Dutch corporation manages to outdo itself. Its range includes some of the best-looking TVs available, with super-slim designs, huge near-bezel-free screens and some of the most amazing visuals you’ll see on a consumer screen. Add top-notch audio enhancements and smart features to the list, and a top-of-the-line Philips TV can be just about the most exciting bit of kit you can buy for your home.
But why does Philips (along with every other TV manufacturer) give its televisions such unwieldy, borderline incomprehensible model numbers? The simple answer is that there are just too many models and variations to give them all proper names. Instead, they are given an alphanumeric designation of letters and numbers that help retailers instantly understand which model is which. This is of little help to would-be buyers, so in this article, we’ll show you exactly how to decode Philips TV model numbers and pick the right set for you.
READ NEXT: Samsung TV models explained
What you need to know about Philips’s 2021 TV line-up
Following an exceptional year for Philips, in which its innovative 2020 TV range garnered over 100 Best TV awards from European media, the Dutch manufacturer has not rested on its laurels, rolling out a range for 2021 that includes XXL OLED screen sizes, 5th Gen P5 AI processors and HDMI 2.1 ports aplenty.
And, like many of the big players in the smart TV world, Philips has elected to go down the Mini LED route this year with its 9636 and 9506 series, offered in 65- and 75-inch sizes. Meanwhile, Ambilight integration has been extended to cheaper models in the lineup and anti-burn-in tech can now be found in the firm’s mid-range OLED sets.
The Dutch brand is also taking its style to the next level. Where other manufacturers mostly make do with curves and near-invisible bezels on their pricer sets, Philips is offering what it calls the ‘Best of European Design’ in its TVs, featuring Kvadrat and Muirhead cloth, leather and steel. Snazzy. And expensive too, no doubt.
Philips TVs 2021: The new technology
As stated above, after racking up the awards in 2020, Philips has gone all-out to ensure 2021 sees similar returns. In terms of new tech, the first thing to mention is the company’s in-house developed 5th Gen P5 AI, which can be in Philips’ top-end models. The AI functionality uses neural networks and machine learning to analyse millions of PQ test clips from a unique database created by the Philips TV and TP Vision development teams over the past 30 years. The software then creates a better balance between the five pillars of PQ (source, colour, contrast, motion and sharpness) by analysing all elements of the content, frame by frame, to reproduce a more realistic, natural image.
By adding Film Detection to this as a sixth element analysing ‘Landscape/nature’, ‘Face/skin tone’, ‘Motion/sports’, ‘Dark/contrast’ and ‘Other’, the AI aims to automatically select the correct category and analyse the PQ pillars to adjust the balance accordingly. A new Fast Motion Clarity Mode also enhances image quality for gamers and sports fans alike by eliminating motion blur. Philips also continues to be one of the few manufacturers offering support for every single mainstream HDR (High Dynamic Range) format: HLG, HDR10, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision.
Both Philips’ OLED and Mini LED TVs will possess all the benefits of HDMI 2.1, including eARC, VRR for 4K content from 40Hz to 120Hz at 48Gbps, Freesync Premium Pro and an automatic Game mode.
On the audio side, the new OLED models feature a meaty 50W 2.1 sound system with a dedicated triple ring, rear-facing bass driver supported by four passive radiators. Philips Ambilight is also very much in evidence, with some models now exhibiting ambient lighting on all four sides to help extend the image beyond the TV’s bezels. Finally, handling smart duties for most models is the Android TV 10 OS, which serves up an intuitive menu of all the key streaming services.
READ NEXT: LG TV model numbers explained
Philips TVs 2021: The new models
With 11 new models on offer, there’s something for everyone from Philips this year, whether you’re in the market for an all-singing, all-dancing cinematic and gaming marvel, or just something on which to enjoy 4K content without having to remortgage the house.
Let’s kicks things off with the new 800-series, comprised of the OLED856 (55- and 65-inches) and the OLED806 (48-, 55-, 65- and 77-inches). Each one packs the 5th Gen P5 AI processor with all the benefits that brings, including Film Detection Mode, alongside full next-gen gaming capability, four-sided Ambilight, HLG, HDR10, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision plus a 50W 2.1 channel audio system and Android TV 10 handling the smart part.
From there we hit the 700-series with the OLED706 and OLED705, stepping down to 3-sided Ambilight, and in the case of the 705 dropping from the P5 AI Intelligent Picture Engine to the older P5 Perfect Picture Engine and from Android TV 10 to Android TV 9. Aside from that, both sets feature HDMI 2.1 ports that support next-gen gaming (including 4K at 120Hz) and 2.1 channel audio systems with 50W and 40W of power respectively.
That brings us to the two new Mini LED options, the 9636 and 9506. In the case of the 9636 (65- & 75-inches) we find a local dimmable backlight for deep blacks, the 5th Gen P5 AI chip with Film Detection and intelligent light sensor, the full roster of HDR formats and complete next-gen gaming support, DTS Play-Fi compatibility for high-resolution multi-room audio, four-sided Ambilight and a 70W Bowers & Wilkins 3.1.2 channel sound system. The Mini LED 9506 (65- & 75-inches), meanwhile, offers all of that, save for the Bowers & Wilkins sound system, shifting instead to a 50W 2.1 sound system. Neither model has gone on sale yet.
After this comes the 9206 100Hz 4K LED (55- & 65-inches) featuring the older P5 Perfect Picture Engine, support for next-gen gaming, a Direct Dimmable backlight, DTS Play-Fi, a 50W 2.1 channel sound system and four-sided Ambilight.
Then there is the 8506 LED (43-, 50-, 58-, 65-, 70- & 75-inches), also known as Philips ‘The One’, marrying a Direct Dimmable LED backlight with the P5 Perfect Picture Engine, DTS Play-Fi, next-gen gaming support, three-sided Ambilight and a 20W audio system.
Finally, we come to the entry-level 4K Philips 7906 and 7506 models, the former running on the Pixel Plus Ultra HD engine and the latter on the P5 Perfect Picture Engine. Both are 60Hz models with 2.0 channel 20W sound systems. The 7906 features three-sided Ambilight, while the 7506 has no ambient lighting – the spec differences are very much reflected in their price tags.
READ NEXT: What’s the best smart TV platform?
Philips TV 2021 line-up model names explained
When it comes to decoding the often baffling array of digits and letters that make up a Philips TV model number, there is actually an incredibly simple secret formula known only to a select few. Okay, it isn’t so secret, but it is simple! Basically, if we take the full designation of one of the new models here, say, the 65OLED706/12, it breaks down as such:
65 = Screen size (inches)
OLED = Prefix/Consumer range.
OLED+ = Flagship range with Sound by Bowers & Wilkins
MLED = Mini LED
PUS = LCD/LED
7 = series. (9 = Best PQ, 8 core PQ and down)
0 = sub series
6 = year launched (with 6 referring to 2021 models)
/12 = retail country (12 being the UK)
Therefore, the 65OLED706/12 is a 65-inch OLED, 7 Series (with no sub-series), launched in 2021 for retail in the UK. Easy.