back to article Philips 21:9 Cinema 58in LED backlit TV

How much do you like your movies? Enough to spend £4,000 on a telly? If so, you’ll find the new 21:9 ratio TV from Philips to be very good value. Not only does it give you the best way to watch widescreen movies in close to native proportions, it has some of the best image quality yet seen. Plus Ambilight, oh and outstanding 3D …


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  1. Gashead

    Or maybe just go for the older model

    The 56PFL9954 is a 5p under a grand at Richer Sounds.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Old model for £1K

      The Register review for the old model says it's £4500. I know prices drop, especially just before a new model comes in, but that's more than just a bit of a drop.

      Why has it dropped from £4500 to £1000 in such a short period of time (and two VAT rises). There must be a catch with this model?

      1. Hermes Conran
        Thumb Up

        The old model was a commercial flop,

        I picked one up for £1,300 at richer sounds, it is the best way to watch DVDs! I'm suprised at Philips trying again though.

  2. Wibble

    £4000 is an utterly eye-watering price

    This is many times more expensive than it's direct competition. With 55" tellies due to become mainstream this year, prices will likely drop to a quarter of the price of this telly this year.

    Goodness knows how Phillips make money as they're always difficult to get hold of and rarely competitive against the mass market competition, i.e. the far-Eastern mega-corporates.

    1. Anton Ivanov

      55" mainstream?

      Is it me or I'd rather have the dwelling shown accommodating this TV on the advertising materials go mainstream instead.

      I have a house that is definitely not "small" by the UK standards. None the less I do not see where exactly I can fit anything above 40" without it becoming a chavish eyesore.

      In order to 55" to look good you need 3m ceilings and a 4-5 blank empty wall (as on the pic in the ad) to put it on. There are not that many dwellings in the UK that can provide this without a lengthy intervention from your local Bob and the gang.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        rather comically

        my tiny flat has a 12 foot ceiling and a very suitable blank wall, that this would go swimmingly on :)

        Some of the older building conversions have high ceilings, unfortunately, you aren't allowed to drill holes for the mountings so it would need an unobtrusive stand.

  3. Andreas W.

    Quality lost?

    Explain to me how you would bloat a 1920 pixel wide cinema-scope material to 2560 pixels without loosing some picture quality.

    You have pixels XYZ and you need to fit them into four new pixels ABCD.

    This TV is a stupid concept. Just buy a bigger 16:9 screen.

  4. TheItCat
    Thumb Down


    I'm sorry, I can't take seriously any high-end home cinema review where the reviewer talks in a positive light about zooming the picture to fit the screen. DON'T DO THIS! The bars on the side of the screen are there for a reason and really don't make a difference to the viewing experience.

    And besides, for that price you could get a far better projector which throws a picture twice as big, with better colour reproduction and a screen that discreetly hides away instead of overpowering the room when switched off.

    1. Annihilator

      Happens on broadcast too

      I agree wholeheartedly!

      Annoyingly, I've noticed that this is happening in broadcast too. All seem to be exclusively 16:9, and when showing old/repeated 4:3 footage, they rarely just put vertical black bars, they either zoom it or stretch it. Heck, even inverting a pan 'n' scan (tilt 'n' scan I think?) process would be good.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Channel One...

        Seem do this, on my Samsung TV all the Star Trek repeats are stretched out to 16:9 when the TV is set to auto mode. However Windows 7 Media Centre correctly recognises 4:3 content and uses black bars at the side... so I think it depends on the receiver somewhat.

        1. Sooty


          try setting your tv to 'just scan' instead of auto. It's likely your tv doing it rather than the broadcast being tweaked.

          16:9 will overscan and stretch the image, samsung's generally have per input settings too, so your media centre could be set differently to your dvd/sky/cable

  5. Steve X


  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe I'm wrong, but

    if you can't get films in the 20:9 ratio, then every film you watch on this TV will be stretched, and therefore a imperfect picture?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Out of my considerable movie collection

      ...and by considerable I mean close +/- 400, I think I only have maybe 10 that are filmed wider than 16x9. I love the ultrawide aspect ratios (I am also a big fan when it comes to my photography) but going more than 2x1 (18x9) just seems a little ridiculous.

      That said, if I ever win the lotto I'm buying one of these for my office and saying goodbye to my current multi-monitor setup :)

    2. Greg J Preece

      Don't know about now

      But I've certainly seen them before. One of my old copies of Die Hard 2 was in 21:9, which was a pain in the arse as at the time I only had a 4:3 TV!

    3. NorthernSands
      Thumb Up

      You can, but...

      There are some films out there that are in a wider format than 16x9. The Lord of the Rings trilogy comes to mind. Except they aren't really wider, they're still 1920 pixels wide, and 1080 pixels high (if HD), it's just that a few of those horizontal pixels, at the top and bottom of the picture, are black.

      So, as has already been mentioned, even these films that are 'wider' than 16x9 will still be stretched to fill this display and therefore will be of a lower quality than a proper 16x9, 1080p TV (assuming all things other than resolution are being equal).

      In other words; you're correct.

  7. John Drumm

    The Film buffs' Telly?

    The Film buffs' Telly is most certainly NOT the Philips ambilight; it is now and always will be the Pioneer Kuro (2009-2010) RIP Kuro, we miss you and your black blacks.

    1. Levente Szileszky

      RE: kuro

      "now and always will be the Pioneer Kuro (2009-2010) RIP "

      Only if you are totally clueless.

  8. JDX Gold badge

    For home cinema only...

    It's only great for watching films, so for most that would mean putting in a separate "movie room" - which people spending £4k on a TV probably have, fine.

    But if you have your nice home cinema just for films, why have a TV rather than a projector? How do TVs and projectors compare for quality - this would actually be an interesting article IMHO.

    1. Shane Sturrock

      projector versus panel

      A modern HD projector is like going to the cinema. A digital cinema at that. I recently saw Tron Legacy (ick, but rhe ticket was free) in 2D 35mm and the picture was far inferior to what I get at home on my modest HD DLP setup. Technically, 35mm should be better but the typical cinema setups never are. A digital cinema image is impressive and that is what you can get at home. It depends how much you want to spend but even a single chip DLP is an impressive image thrower and the scale of the image makes any plasma or LCD look very poor by comparison. Properly calibrated and fed with good HD material, a projector is definitely the way to go if you don't mind having the dark room and needing to have another smaller TV for normal viewing.

  9. Anonymous Coward


    at first glance i thought that was Kryten. i am dissapoint.

  10. Shane Sturrock

    Not for home cinema buffs

    Any home cinema buff worth his salt is running an HD projector on a wall size screen. Mine is 100" and drops down from the ceiling. It makes 50" screens look like a little telly and you don't worry about black bars (not that a film buff would). Finish the film and put the screen away and you're back to a normal living room. I have a small 27" LCD for normal watching which doesn't dominate the room when off. I would like a blu ray player to keep subtitles in the image rather than letting them slip into the black bars so I could matte my screen to the exact ratio safely but that is another issue entirely.

  11. bodski

    Nice idea, flawed design

    What you've failed to mention is that this TV doesn't support a 1:1 pixel mapping - a major flaw in my opinion. You certainly can't use this TV with an HTPC, as the image is upscaled from 1920x1080 to 2560x1080, for a 21:9 movie that's 1920x800 > 2560x1080 (2560 x 1067 if it retains the aspect)

    I really don't understand why they didn't include a dual-link DVI port.

  12. Tom 35

    Such is the power of the image processing ...

    it can easily make content look over-sharp

    So it's the usual crap. Works best when you turn it off.

  13. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    @Maybe I'm wrong, but

    Every film you watch on this will have had it's RGB colours compressed into YCbCr, throwing away half the red and blue information, then chopped into 8x8 pixel blocks, then interpolated from frames before and after it, the fourier transformed then have all the fine detail coefficents thrown away

    Rescaling it to 20:9 is the least bad thing that happens to it !

  14. me 13

    I don't need no stinkin' title!

    Ambilight is merely there to hide poor black levels in a panel.

    Philips can't build a panel with decent black levels so Ambilight is there to fool the eye.

    Did the Kuro have Amblight?!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      home made ambilight

      but even a Kuro looks better with 'ambilight'. Mine is in a corner and I a spotlight mounted behind it shining onto the wall. I've tried viewing with it on and off and definitely find it better when it's on. I'd not pay for it to be built in - even if you wall mount it would be easy enough to DIY with some minature strip lighting and the colour change of Phillips system is just distracting.

  15. Chris Stephens


    Its time you review a plasma. Panasonic plasma is unbeatable in picture quality and price. Why anyone would pay more for a lesser quality LCD I have no idea.

    1. bygjohn

      Easy: adverts

      ... in the Panasonic EPG. No matter how good the picture, I wouldn't buy one until they drop that ludicrous idea.

  16. Chris Stephens

    Complete failure

    This TV has reached new heights of complete BS in the TV industry. Just when you thought it could not get any more ludicrous along comes this set. I mean come on 20:9 ?!? Its not even 2.35 its 2.33 ! Ambilight ?! That changes color with the picture ?!?! WTF.. Zoned LED backlighting, come on this is a horrid technology.

    You can stretch a 4:3 to 20:9 ?!?? OMFG.. WHY ON EARTH... What moron would use this "feature"

    Looking at the reviewers choices of TV's to review its clear that there is a pattern. I would expect more from El Reg then to get in bed with one manufacturer.

    As I said before. REVIEW A PANASONIC PLASMA. Incredible value. Incredible picture. Here in the states you can buy a panasonic 42" 720P plasma for $499 at Walmart. or a 50" 1080P for $789.

    Maybe review one of these


    "Panasonic's proprietary IPTV functionality is expanded and enhanced for 2011, with a new identifying name, VIERA Connect, reflecting the transition from the walled garden approach of VIERA Cast to the interactive and inter-connected philosophy behind the new Internet enabled platform. VIERA Cast's popular sites, including Netflix, Amazon VOD, YouTube, Pandora, Twitter, Bloomberg News, a weather channel and Skype) continue on VIERA Connect and are joined by a host of exciting features and apps, all optimized for the best possible user experience. Incorporated in VIERA Connect are such apps as CinemaNow, Hulu Plus, Napster, Facebook and popular sports sites including MLB.TV, MLS Matchday Live, NBA Game Time, and NHL Game Center. "


    Thats a TV... And these things are very reasonably priced.

    1. Kristian Walsh
      Thumb Down


      21:9 is the product's name, not its specification. The true aspect ratio of the screen is 2.35:1.

      1. Chris Miller

        Since we're being pedantic

        The screen resolution is 2560x1080, which means an aspect ratio of 64:27 or just over 2.37:1.

        Is there some deep reason why these are powers of 4:3? 4:3, 16:9, 64:27 - will the next size be 256:81??

      2. Chris Stephens


        A-hahahha... 21:9 is the name of the set ?!?! a-hahaha... so they were thinking 16:9 only bigger ! hahahaha... Man is that freaky, cuz the set is not even 21:9 its 2.35 not 2.33.

        And this TV got a high rating. Shame on you. It fails in every single category.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    no Freeview HD tuner on-board

    Surely not an HD tv then? just a standard TV with an overspecc'd screen.

    when will they learn.

  18. Craig 12

    Equivalent 16:9 size?

    I've seen the old model in Richer Sounds, felt smaller than my 50" 16:9.

    Also, any film buff would be kicking themselves for not being able to see the 16:9 IMAX scenes in the Dark Knight. They truly show how awesome, screen filling 1080p can look. With the crossover in to IMAX becoming more common, hopefully this will be a feature on more and more releases...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    high price, missing features

    no FreeviewHD...and no FreeSat HD either. for a price that high its shameful.

    the government should mandate that ALL HD TV's now come with the required

    tuner(s) - this would save quite a large amount of energy too..right now all these HD

    sets have an HD settop box helping them out.

    1. wwwclassiccameraexchangecom

      DVB-T DVB-C DVB-S2 HD Freeview Tuners

      The Philips has ALL TV Tuners built in including the Freeview HD Satellite Tuner which can accept 4 different Satellite LNB's. Thee is nothing missing. Add NetTV and PC Connections including WIFI Networking.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Black bars + ambilight

    makes for a strange combo. (The sides of the wall are lit up, but the sides of the screen are dark..?)

    Maybe somebody should invent coloured letterbox/pillarbox bars ("ambibars"). Or would that look even sillier?

  21. Anonymous Coward

    It's called 21:9 'cause it is 21:9....

    ....'cause the pixels ain't square dudes, they're rectangular. This isn't a computer monitor, it's a TV and it's designed differently.

  22. wwwclassiccameraexchangecom


    I am a PIONEER Fan. But - this is a great TV. In fact its the best I can think of. No wonder its been receiving superb reviews worldwide.

    Its a great concept and it works beautifully.

    Take your BLURAYs (best 1:2.35) and DVDs (best 1:2.35) to a Dealer, watch them on this TV and then write your comments.

    I have bought one for £2,5k and I am extremely pleased. Can only recommend it to all of you. Replaces all those compromise 16:9 "blocks", avoids 60" monsters and no need for complex and inferior LDP Projection Setups.

    Sure Panasonic, Sony, and the others will offer these 21:9 when they have figured out how to do it.

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