back to article Philips Cinema 21:9 Gold 50in ultra widescreen TV

CES 2012 Week You’ve got to hand it to the guys at Philips – they’re plucky. They introduce Ambilight, the strange but effective backlighting effect which plays coloured lights on the wall behind your telly for a more relaxing, more immersive experience. Then they create a TV that’s super-wide, perfect for film aficionados. …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How does the input lag compare with a CRT? Need-to-know info for gamers (or ignore it at your fragging peril).

  2. Buzzword

    Ambilight is patented

    That's why other manufacturers haven't copied it.

    1. Blake St. Claire

      Patented? Srsly?

      Maybe in addition to Really Novel they should make Not Trivial part of rules for granting patents.

      I was coming here to say I could try out the Ambilight experience with a $5 set of LED christmas lights hung around the back of my TV.

      But now I can add Philips to my list of Companies Abusing The Patent Process instead. Much more satisfying in some ways.

      But wait. I can certainly see how adding some little dohicky or lever to loom that makes the loom better, but honestly, adding some lights on the back of a TV set? How is that patentable? Sheesh.

      1. Piro Silver badge

        I'm not sure I agree entirely

        It's not just some lights on the back of a TV, it's sampling data from the video to adjust the lights.

        I don't think it's an obvious innovation, and it certainly isn't necessary for a TV to work, and it doesn't necessarily improve your TV, so I'm not sure I entirely oppose the patent.

        I have a Philips amBX kit at home with just the lights, and although it is a real struggle to get it set up right software wise, once I found a custom piece of software someone wrote (Aurora Synaesthesia) then it was absolutely fantastic.

        Then I upgraded to Windows 7, it was a struggle again to get the software working, and the custom software didn't work with Aero, so I gave up. A shame..

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "adding some lights on the back of a TV set"

        There is rather more to it than that. How did you plan to get your $5 set of LED christmas lights to change colour according to what was appearing on the screen?

      3. Levente Szileszky

        RE: Patented? Srsly?

        Yes, seriously.

        "I was coming here to say I could try out the Ambilight experience with a $5 set of LED christmas lights hung around the back of my TV."

        You should really read the article first so you can avoid embarrassingly stupid posts like this one.


    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Not copying Ambilight is hardly surprising because as you say, it's patented to buggery (excuse my legalese), but it is odd that no one else in the telly market has experimented with 21:9 screens.

      1. Peter 48

        one other

        i believe there is only one other 21:9 tv manufacturer: Vizio in the usa

      2. Blank Reg Silver badge

        There is a good reason why 21:9 screens haven't caught on

        Not only is most content not in 21:9 but there is actually little benefit to such a screen.

        For most people that aren't limited by budget the next limitation in buying a TV is the size. I may be able to afford a 70 inch TV but that doesn't matter if I've only got room for a 55 inch TV. And the limitation is normally in the width, not the height. So I can buy a 16:9 TV that is the same width as the 21:9 and still have the same size image when viewing 21:9 content, the only downside is the black bars top and bottom. The upside is that 16:9 and SD content will be bigger on my 16:9 TV than it would be an a 21:9 TV of the same width.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stupid Aspect Ratio

    No wonder Phillips is loosing money hand over fist with daft overpriced ideas like this. If I want the same effect as 21:9 I'll just put my TV in the hallway and watch it through the letter box.

    You can keep it, I'm waiting for OLED.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      "daft overpriced ideas like this"

      You want overpriced? Wait for those 50 inch OLED screens to hit the shops.

    2. Bassey

      Re: Stupid Aspect Ratio

      Do you mind clarifying what is "Daft" and "Stupid" about a TV built to be the same aspect ratio as the majority of films? I find it hugely frustrating that I have spent good money on a widescreen TV but still get huge black bars at the top and bottom of most films. I don't watch telly (naff all on worth watching the last few times I looked) so I would love a 21:9 screen. That means either a projector or one of these.

      I just can't see what is daft about having a film screen designed correctly for films? Please enlighten me?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Clarification of "Daft" and "Stupid"

        Films are designed for a 21:9 screen. Blurays are designed for a 16:9 screen (which in HDTV terms means 1920x1080 including black bars). So although you can watch your 21:9 movie without black bars, you end with an upscaled version rather than the original. Kinda like upscaling SD images to fill a HD screen (but not quite as bad).

        No thanks, I've rather have proper quality.

        1. Levente Szileszky

          RE: Clarification of "Daft" and "Stupid"

          ...din't help much, you still sound stupid.

          "No thanks, I've rather have proper quality."

          But that's the point: you turn off scaling and you have it.

          Magic, huh?

    3. unwarranted triumphalism

      What's so stupid about it?

      Have you never been to the cinema and watched a movie shot in Cinemascope (2.35:1 / 2.55:1), Panavision (2.39:1), Cinerama (2.35:1), Super35 matted to 2.35:1, Super Panavision (2.2:1), or Ultra Panavision 70 (2.76:1), then?

      That's the kind of thing this TV is intended for. To show wide-format material.

      If you prefer 4:3 / 16:9, that's fine, just say so. No point in slagging off other aspect ratios just 'cos they're not what you're used to...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Is that like a toilet with a good baritone voice?


  4. Really? I need a "handle"?

    Shame that more and more films are being made in 16:9

    The Kings Speech being one that sticks in my mind. Next time you go to the cinema and the curtains don't draw back that little bit more either side when the actual film starts, that's because the director has made the film in 16:9 - the normal TV size. Presumably to look better on DVD, Blu-ray and TV. I think it's a real shame as 21:9 (or whatever the exact ratio is) is much more immersive. But, admittedly, only when on a bigger TV or at the cinema. And even if a film is 21:9 at the cinema, lots of DVD/Blu-ray versions of films are then "panned-and-scanned" from 21:9 to 16:9. E.g. Back To The Future. Shame, as I really want to be able to justify buying one of the beauties!

    1. Fuzz

      Back to the future

      Back to the future was shot in 16:9 (well 1.85:1 but close enough). I don't think any new DVD releases are panned and scanned these days, there's no point. People are quite used to seeing the letterbox and most people have TVs big enough to cope.

      But this TV has serious issues, it's great for watching films in 21:9 ratio, but only films are really shot in this ratio and if you spend a lot of time watching films then a significant proportion of them are going to be in 1.85:1 suddenly the TV doesn't look so great. Then you have the fact that the resolution of the screen is 2560x1080. This means that to watch a film filling the screen it has to be upscaled by the TV 1.3x in each direction.

      If you're that serious about films and you have the money then you'd be better off with a nice projector that doesn't suffer these issues. Or you could just get a bigger 16:9 TV and not worry about the letter boxing.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Will widescreen movies broadcast still appear in an even smaller letterbox when shown on this beast?

    I'm willing to be yes.

    I thought these widscreen TV's were supposed to be able to show Widescreen movies without losing the LH & RH edges and have bo black stripes top and bottom?

    I call this a failure. Not just because of this TV but this whole widescreen silliness...

    1. Alex Rose

      The country went to the dogs...

      ....when they stopped teaching mathematics in schools. I have to admit I didn't notice anything in the news about it; but they must have done so for you to be unable to understand something as simple as an aspect ratio.

      Let me try to explain it for you. Film made 21:9 not show good on TV made 16:9 - no silly complain complain make laws of number county changey changey!

      Does that clear it up for you?

      1. fourThirty

        Nicely put sir!

      2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        I think they meant

        that the TV would show a widescreen picture inside at 16:9 (as that would be how it is broadcast) the 21:9 display.

        Assuming that this is what they meant,

        you would get a still cropped (i.e. missing the left and right edges as Widescreen Cinema is not 16:9 AFAIK)

        looking like a letterbox inside a letterbox screen.

      3. Olli Mannisto

        Numbers, aye..

        >Let me try to explain it for you. Film made 21:9 not show good on TV made 16:9 - no silly complain >complain make laws of number county changey changey!

        It's always ironic when someone takes this attitude.. and is wrong.

        There is NO source of 21:9 movie material available at the moment for consumers. BD is 16:9 with no support for aspect ratio correction, something that caused moderate angst with projector freaks when the format was introduced.

        In other words, you gain absolutely nothing over getting this TV over regular 16:9 wide-screen TV that has the same width. Source material is still 1980x1080 and actually you get only 1980x800 since there is no aspect ratio support. Considering scaling always hurts picture quality, that 60" (too lazy to check exact figure) 16:9 TV actually has better image quality with 21:9 films.

        There's of course nothing stopping BD standard from being updated to support anamorphic aspect ratio but I wouldn't hold my breath over it. Breaking backwards compatibility is a biggie when you have great numbers of BD players out unlike in the infancy of the standard (profile 1.0 and 1.1 players..)

        21:9 would be useful for PC games, thought.

        1. Alex Rose
          Thumb Down

          They've stopped English comprehension as well?!?!?!?!?

          Are you trying to say that a film made for 21:9 would display properly on a 16:9 screen? I see from your post that you aren't so where in my post am I wrong?

          If you are going to celebrate the irony of somebody pointing out somebody else's mistake being wrong you really should make sure it doesn't backfire on you!

          Let me explain. The original poster was lambasting the WHOLE widescreen silliness as if to.....

          Frankly I can't be bothered.

          1. Olli Mannisto

            >Are you trying to say that a film made for 21:9 would display properly on a 16:9 screen? I see from

            >your post that you aren't so where in my post am I wrong?

            In the part that you can NOT GET 21:9 film to your TV right now. BD is 16:9 and so is digital broadcast. So you always get 16:9 film with black bars no matter what..

            If there was BD Pro or whatever with 21:9 aspect ratio support, 21:9 TV would be nice, right now it's pointless.

    2. Patrick R

      "I call this a failure..."

      The word springs to mind indeed.

  6. MJI Silver badge

    A few questions

    Are there BluRays which support that resolution?

    If not it will always be rescaling for 21:9 mode.

    Personally I'll put up with letterboxing and no rescaling.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    sleep button?

    we have only philips at home. still no sleep button on the remote. it's very annoying - the remote you present here seems to have the same problem. i'm thinking of replacing it with a logitech, could i there program a button to go straight to the sleep slider?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can the full resolution be directly addressed?

    This would make one hell of a monitor : D

  9. teacake

    Well, anyway

    I've got one of the first edition LCD 56" 21:9 Philips TVs, which I got cheap when they released the current model. All I can say is, before you spark off about how pointless Ambilight is, or useless 21:9 is, or how the upscaling will ruin the picture, just try viewing one.

    I thought all the same things, and then I gave one a viewing, and they are simply amazing. The upscaling is really, really, good. I simply can't tell from the image quality whether it's native resolution or upscaled. The Ambilight is brilliant. After a while you stop noticing it and it just helps draw you in to the screen. Turn it off, and the picture suddenly seems too large, imposing and eye-straining. If you don't like these features, that's fine, but they're hardly pointless and they do work well.

    Yes, you do get black bars either side on 4:3 content. Yes, low quality SD content doesn't look great, but do you really expect it to on a 56" TV? On decent DVD or BluRay content, these TVs are epic.

    1. Levente Szileszky
      Thumb Up

      RE: Well, anyway

      Thanks for telling us your first-hand experience - of course, all the loudmouthed bums here who never seen it in life and were quick to dismiss it will also quickly rate down your post but don't worry, it really does not matter.

      However I have one big problem with it: it's LCD and as such it's still no match for plasma when it comes to watching movies (no, I don't care about LED panels or brightness levels until banding isn't gone completely and panels are not uniform, let alone catching up with plasma's black levels, wider color/gamut/etc.)

  10. S Watts

    Ambient + Letter Box

    The Ambient light feature is appealing; but when the picture does not match the screen's aspect ratio, the usual blank bands would disassociate the effect.

    So why not blend the ambient light tones into the screen in place of the black banding?

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      By jove!

      To the patent office, posthaste, dear sir!

    2. teacake

      Re: Ambient + Letter Box...

      "The Ambient light feature is appealing; but when the picture does not match the screen's aspect ratio, the usual blank bands would disassociate the effect."

      I'd have expected that problem too, but from experience it really isn't a problem. There's a bezel round the edge as well, which doesn't cause a problem either. It would seem that the Ambilight effect is not dependent on being so close to the image as all that.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like