back to article Philips Cinema 21:9 56in LCD TV

Think of a widescreen TV. The widest one you’ve seen, you know, one with big, garish speakers stuck on the side. Well, whatever it is, it’ll be nowhere near as wide as this new, premium-priced LCD TV from Philips. Philips 21:9 56PFL9954H Philips' Cinema 21:9 56PFL9954H Current widescreens have an aspect ratio of 16:9, so …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. D@v3

    yeah, but...

    can it display 3D films?

    Or when that hits the big time are you going to find yourself with a £4500, no longer top of the line TV?

  2. Pete 2 Silver badge

    there are cheaper alternatives

    Namely: going to the cinema.

    Really, while this screen might be useful to someone who watches blu-ray movies all day and night, for normal folk, who might sit down to one (maybe) once or twice a week, it would be far cheaper to haul your arse out of that armchair, step outside your front door and go out for the evening. You never know, you might even make an occasion out of it .

    Most people will spend most of their time watching TV - whether HD or normal (discuss: HD doesn't actually make the programmes any better - the dialog, scenes and storyline are still the same. A better picture for crap content isn't much of a deal) so the very expensive extra screen real-estate is wasted. Further, although this puppy will show the full width of a movies, every producer, director, actor and audience member knows that all the "good stuff" happens in the centre 4:3 section of the screen - so that it can be later chopped about when it gets sold to the telly companies. So all you're paying for is a few bits of peripheral scenery - it's a lot of cash to lay down for what amounts to a bunch of trees.

  3. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    On Geometric Progressions

    640x480/768x576 = 1.33:1 = 4:3

    1920x1080 (16x9) = 1.78:1 = 4²:3²

    2560x1080 = 2.37:1 = 4³:3³ (81:27)

    Bring on 256:81.

  4. Richard Cartledge

    I don't like it

    Cinema screens are very wide because of the relative viewing distance and the field of vision we have with some peripheral vision. This TV is the same aspect ratio but much smaller and so at it's relative viewing distance it is just a letterbox shaped TV in the room. 16:9 has it about right, and film-directors set-up their shots to be 16:9 friendly anyway.

  5. Secretgeek
    Thumb Up

    I want one.

    Nope, that's it really.

  6. Anonymous Coward


    Why don't htey have an option whereby you can watch two 4:3 programs netxt to each other? Or use the excess screen space for normal hdtv to display a website, or a chat-session?

  7. Mark Baker 1
    Thumb Down

    Not for me.

    Its Simply way too expensive, as some one already said, to just sit and watch rubbish programming. The TV maybe very good, but the programs are still the same old rubbish...Any one for Big Bro?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DIY widescreen

    Would love to have one of these . (for £500)

    Meanwhile a top tip for people stuck with a normal 4:3 telly. Just stick a few inches or tape over the top and bottom of the screen to create a 'widescreen' effect and sit a blt closer.

  9. Scott Mckenzie

    16:9 Stretching

    I don't like the way it stretches 16:9 content, otherwise the whole concept is indeed stunning.

    For the above criticisms, I don't believe at any point this product was pitched at the average film goer, this is for out and out enthusiasts only.... but many of them have projectors anyway, with much bigger screens.

    I struggle to see where it will really sell.... but i do want one!!!!!

  10. richard 69

    when watching 'this morning'

    will holly's lady bumps look bigger?

  11. Paul M 1

    Ah, the good old days!

    About 1996 when I bought my first widescreen TV, a Nokia 32", the only thing that filled the screen were the special "widescreen" editions of selected VHS tapes. This meant zooming in to remove the black bars, resulting in a huge screen being filled by about 200 (fuzzy) lines of picture data.

    So similarly, unless I'm mistaken, a bluray disk at 1920 x 1080 will be displayed as about 1920 x 820 which is obviously an improvement over the VHS days but still not ideal.

    Why didn't they choose a variable screen resolution and just let the player or TV scale it appropriately? Or even, a variable pixel size to allow anamorphic stretch at either 16:9 or 21:9 sizes? While widescreen formats like 2.35:1 etc are used, they are by no means the majority so there will always be a need to cope with varying aspect ratios, even if we ignore the huge history of film already out there. And I don't think that any fixed size standard will do that.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    What a bucng of whiners

    1. If you can afford to blow several grand on a TV, do you really care about cost. It's one of those, if you need to ask items. You don't buy a Ferrai andthink, wow I could of easily bought Ford Mondeo, how silly of me.

    2. At home you don't have bleach throing chav scum bags to worry about talking through the film.

    3. People will spend thousands on a Hifi, yet you could go an see concerts all the time, it's called convenience.

    4. 3D tv, yes, like every release will be in 3D, give me a break. It's aimed at film buffs, not the people who want to see Jordan's tits.

    5. film-directors set-up their shots to be 16:9 friendly anyway. No they don't unless it a made for TV film.

    This is aimed for people who want the best not a bunch of whingers.

    PS before you think I'm a fanboy I have a CRT with a cheap DVD player, but I have a £2000 Hifi, because I love my music (and that is a cheap system).

  13. Chris C

    The problem

    The problem with televisions is that nobody can agree on an aspect ratio. Even film studios (or the director, or whoever decides the aspect ratio for a film) can't agree. I've seen movies in 1.77:1 (16:9), 1.85:1, and 2.35:1. Then we have 1.33:1 (4:3) TV standard for all of our television shows up to 2004 or so (which includes all of our favorite shows on DVD).

    What I find most interesting from the television's specs is that it lists the panel resolution as 2560x1080p, but the highest "computer format" resolution it allows is 1920x1080p (using HDMI; 1360x768p using VGA). I would seriously question why you lose 25% of your usable resolution when using a PC, but not when watching a movie.

  14. EvilGav 1

    @ Pete

    The "shooting for 4:3" was true a few years ago, but is no longer the case (and even back in the day there are films that deliberately used the full screen, e.g. Star Trek : The Motion Picture).

    This was also because the aspect ratio was typically only 1.78:1 (or around 16:9), it was only an exceptional film that would get the ultra-wide 2.35:1 ratio.

    Today this has moved on again, as directors now routinely shoot in 2.35:1 but are now also shooting IMAX scenes - photographing to allow a 2:35:1 crop for the cinema generally, but allowing for the larger IMAX screen too. In a bizzarre twist, the full IMAX screen is around 16:9 in dimensions - which is why the action scenes on the Dark Knight BD are from the IMAX cut and fill the screen at home.

    It's all very confusing, tbh, for your AMITS.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Why why why... TV manufacturers insist on putting all the connections on the back!! It's a TV designed to be wall mounted (hell, they even give you a bracket) but having all the plugs on the back leaves you struggling to add more at a later date without getting your mates and neighbours round to help you, it also prevents you from flush mounting them to the wall. Put the plugs underneath please.

    Oh, and good to see El Reg reviewed with titles such as Spiderman, I am Legend - and of course ART ATTACK!

  16. The Indomitable Gall

    Re:On geometric progressions

    Your calculations assume that all pixels are created equal.

    A hint: pixels have aspect ratios too.

  17. Alex 32

    @Richard Cartledge

    All will change my friend, all will change :o)

    I actually like it, just don't like the price..

  18. Mark 65


    Surely you're better off...

    1. Going to the cinema for the content that looks best in this format

    2. Getting a projector because who cares if the sides of a wide projection screen don't get used.

    This just does not work for me in any sense and seems so niche given the time taken for full HD flat panel take up that each one will surely be more hand crafted than an Aston Martin.

  19. TeeCee Gold badge

    As you said.

    The film buff's telly. Broadcast is 16:9 and I don't think that's going to be any different for the foreseeable future.

    Personally, I've never had a problem with black bars when a film's aspect ratio doesn't match that of the screen it's displayed on, I'd much rather see the whole thing as the director intended. But there are some right ignorant bastards out there (usually Merkins*) who insist that black bars are some sort of conspiracy to do them out of the full use of their expensive telly. As a result and as you pointed out, it's become quite trendy to "crop" film to 16:9 for the DVD release. My feelings on this subject are that it would be far more artistically productive to declare complaining about black bars a capital offence. It'd do the human race a favour to boot by draining the swamp near the shallow end of the gene pool.

    So, two things then. First, with content being fiddled with to be 16:9 friendly, where are you supposed to get the original version of films affected to display on this beggar? Second, all you're getting here is a move of black bars from above and below film to the sides of broadcast TV (you could just get a bigger 16:9 you know). A film buff's telly for film buffs with very low ceilings then.

    *My favourite one of these was a Yank posting on the subject of the words "16:9 anamorphic widescreen optimised for your television" on a DVD case. The question (asked in all seriousness - I kid you not) was "How does it know what TV I've got?". God help us.

  20. Charles 9

    Ambilight and the film analogue

    The reason Ambilight is so comfortable even though there is no film analogue is because there IS an analogue in the cinemas--the analogue is the projector. Projectors throw out those cones of light to display their images, and this light tends to reflect off the screen, splash over the edges, and so on. Ambilight is the closest thing to this projected light effect without resorting to an actual projector.

  21. Andrew Garrard

    Oh no, not again

    This is up there with anamorphic projectors as a silly idea. I'm all for extra pixels, but the inability of a 2560x1080 panel to map each pixel of 1920x810 to a single pixel in the panel (when stretched up) is going to make a mess of high frequency content - in the same way that a 1366x768 panel will do a worse job of 720p content than a native 1280x720 set. If you really want widescreen content to look good, you'd be better off making a 1920x810 panel and throwing away the black bars. If it's not very good for 2.35:1 video content and it's (obviously) wasteful for 16:9 content, let alone 4:3, I'm unconvinced. I'm sure it does a very expensive lovely job of upscaling a 2.35:1 DVD, though.

    Still, best of luck to them for innovating. It'd have been a better idea than saddling everyone with 16:9 as a compromise format in the first place, but these days complying to a standard is a better idea than any oddball proprietary solution. It might make an interesting gaming monitor, if you can drive it at full resolution.

    It's not really an option for my house: the space my TV fits in is limited horizontally (my walls are filled with book shelves), whereas I'm prepared to lose the clock on the wall if anyone switches to a really tall standard aspect ratio.

  22. B Candler Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Don't worry about the black bars...

    ... at this price it should have built-in curtains which automatically roll out from the sides :-)

  23. mark 63 Silver badge


    90% of the widscreen tvs i see at friends houses and in pubs are distorting the picture.

    I hate to think what that would look like on that thing

  24. Adam 10
    Thumb Up

    Oh great

    Now, the 4:3 rule went out the window years ago. If you watch DVDs in 2.35:1 (rather than cropping them to fit a 16:9 screen) then you'll notice a surprising amount of action at the sides. Also, all new telly (from UK at least) has been made in 16:9 since at least the end of 2000, and may have been earlier but that's when I got my first digibox. The US took a lot longer to switch due to the "let's all go high-def but using square-screen!!!" brigade (Friends was square-screen right to the end), but I know Neighbours was in widescreen in 2000 so presumably the Aussies picked it up sooner too.

    Right, so when these screens become commonplace, when I go round other people's houses, they will stretch 4:3 pictures even more out of shape in order to "Fill the screen". Yay, lots of very short, very fat people waddling about.

    I really wish the TV manufacturers would just lock the aspect ratio settings away in an engineer's menu that has to be changed every time you want to deviate from the native ratio of the material. The number of times I've sat through a 2.35:1 DVD wondering "what the hell is going on at the sides?!" because the person with the remote has cropped the hell out of the video.

    Either that or they should rename the "Smart" setting to "Stupid".

    And why 5 HDMI slots on a £4500 TV? Anyone with such a screen will use a proper Home Cinema amp to do all their video switching so only needs one input (possibly with a second, easily-accessible one for auxiliary devices)

    </rant over>

    Anyway, it's a lovely telly, wish I had one.

  25. Andres
    Thumb Up

    miserable nit-picking knuckle-scrapers

    Once again, the joyless pedants and pessimists get to proclaim all that is wrong with life, the universe and the next big TV.

    Because you wear sackcloth shirts (why wear silk? doesn't last as long, shows up stains too much), you really believe everyone else has the same weary view of the world?

    To be replaced by 3D TV? ROTFLOL - maybe you do have a sense of humour.

    All the good stuff happening in the middle? Not sure where to even start dismantling this miserablist view of the art of film making. Why bother even watching films at the cinema then? Or at all? Stupid directors, think of all the money they could save by filming in 4:3. What were they thinking?

    This is a great TV for watching films, Corrie is secondary. End of discussion. I would get one in a heartbeat if I had the cash.

  26. Edward Noad

    How retarded... it possible to be?

    1) If you've got a 16:9 ratio TV and you worry about black bars on the sides or top when watching stuff, you're an idiot. Especially if it's the tiny ones you get when watching 1.851:1. It may not be exactly what's used in the cinema, but the sheer number of slight variations used pretty much neuters the possibility of ever getting an exact universal standard. Get over it.

    2) 16:9 is the middle ratio between 4:3 and 2.35:1, that's why we moved to 16:9 from 4:3. Remember trying to watch 2.35:1 content on a 4:3 screen? It's going to be exactly as bad watching 4:3 content on a 2.35:1 screen, and there is *far* more 4:3 content from TV than there is 2.35:1 from everything put together.

    3) 2.35:1 is *not* the next technical step forward. Have you ever noticed how "Alien" is 2.35:1 and "Aliens" is 16:9? Spotted how "The Dark Knight" on Blu-Ray has those iMax scenes in it which effectively change between 2.35:1 for most of it and 16:9 for the really cool spectacular scenes? It's an artistic distinction. It always will be.

    Result: It makes no sense what-so-ever to go for anything other than the middle ground, and anyone who buys one of these things quite obviously has more money than sense. This will *NEVER* take off.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    I went to a wedding the other day

    And, being in India, there was a fair amount of video equipment around, complete with monitor screens around the very large hall.

    I was quite puzzled by how fat the poor bride appeared on the screens --- until I realised that everybody else did too: mismatch between camera aspect ratio and screen aspect ratio.

    Anything to do with anything? Well, not really, so I'll just hit Post Comment on the way out...

  28. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    Re: The Indomitable Gall

    Yes I took a liberty with the 4:3 NTSC/PAL resolutions, you'll notice I didn't use 720 or 704 for either horizontal dimension. HD pixels on the other hand are square.

    I also made a silly mistake with the maths, 4³=64, not 81, and it doesn't look like anyone picked up on that oddly.

    Anyway the idea here was to highlight a mathematical curiosity, not some conspiracy theory.

  29. Andrew Kemp


    So, adding the bit lopped off the top and making this back up to a 16:9 screen, what size would that be then...?

    I'd rather just put up with horizontal bars when needed rather than having stuff squashed to fit in this.

  30. Eddie Johnson

    Why, why, why?

    I don't go thru life looking thru a gunslit like in that old tank game, why do filmmakers insist on this horrible format? Its just not the way a person's field of view works. 16:9 wasn't too bad but the 2.35:1 and its approximations just suck and I avoid these films at all cost.

    2.35 movies, aka Cinemascope are generally crap, it only works well for scenic views, shots of people generally give you a bunch of disembodied heads.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    @Pete 2

    "...every producer, director, actor and audience member knows that all the "good stuff" happens in the centre 4:3 section of the screen - so that it can be later chopped about when it gets sold to the telly companies."

    I don't even know where to begin with such an utterly wrong-headed, myopic, idiotic comment. I don't think you got the most basic shred of correctness in there.... it almost defies belief that anyone who's actually SEEN a movie could think this way.

    Ugh. I'm with Andres on this one... though I guess it makes sense that the quotient of (IT-industry) Reg readers who would know art if it walked up and bit them on the ass is pretty low.

  32. Mark Eccleston

    Really a stretched 42" tv

    So, let me get this straight. I currently own a 50" 16:9. When watching 16:9 I get the full 50". When watching a cinematic bluray I get the bars above and below. What it seems I am paying extra for is the loss of a full 50" 16:9 HD picture, so that I can watch a cinematic movie without bars. hmmmmm.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Eddie Johnson

    I think the reason why cinema screens are ridiculously wide is quite simply to allow more seats to be positioned in front of the screen. And I agree with your sentiment that only certain types of shot are suited to the 2.35:1 aspect ratio - e.g. the skyscraper shots in "Towering Inferno" or "Die Hard" are not those types!

    Where's the 2.35:1 aspect-ration icons. I refuse to use outdated 1:1 icons!!!!111!!ONE!1!1:1

  34. Shane Sturrock
    Paris Hilton


    Back when I first got a 16:9 set in 1992 I started collecting LaserDiscs but for many films the studios would use the black part of the picture to hold subtitles and assume it was being shown on a 4:3 set so if I zoomed the picture then I would lose the lower line often. With the switch to DVD and native 16:9 support this practice has continued and you still get subtitles in the black part for a 2.35:1 film so on this new TV you will lose the black bars but also lose the subtitles. I used to matte my projection screen for 2.35:1 but these days I just put up with a 16:9 100" screen even when watching 2.35:1 just because of the subs even on Blu-ray. Not to mention the fact that films like The Dark Knight which switches ratios between the IMAX portions and regular 35mm sections.

    It just isn't worth worrying about. Paris because I suspect she is stupid enough to buy into this thing just to get rid of the black bars.....

  35. Ben Rosenthal

    My god

    it's full of stars!

  36. This post has been deleted by its author

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I want I want I want

    intro, tech stuff - tick

    200Hz refresh, massive width - tick

    special freeview features and good visuals - tick

    easy interface, 5 HDMI - tick

    great ambilight improvements - tick

    this is a great set..I'd love to buy one.

    oh, wait....THATS the price???!?!?! ouch! I think I'll have to stick with my toshiba Regza for now :-)

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I watch all my films on the iPhone using a cool program called ffmpegx. It makes every film fit the screen perfectly. What do I need this thing for then??? I guess because some people think size matters. Well they are wrong, size is relative. And relations are more important than size. Remember you choose your friends, but you do not choose your relations.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like