When all there is to rave about High Definition content has dried up, TV makers have little choice but to think of something zany and refreshing to entice consumers once again. How about a TV scaled to fit the cinema's 2.39:1 aspect ratio? Besides unveiling this new 9954 model (or better known as the Cinema 21:9 LCD TV) under the 9000 series, Philips has stormed the AV frontier with a new collection of consumer lifestyle entertainment products, including a handful of new LCD and LED-backlit TVs, Ambisound SoundBars, DVD Micro Theaters and iPod Docking entertainment systems. Do read the next few pages to find out what's the entire buzz about.
Are the days of widescreen TVs numbered? Philips has gone where no TV maker has gone before with the unveiling of the ultra-widescreen Cinema 21:9 LCD TV. Bearing a Full-HD (2560 x 1080p) native resolution and a 21:9 aspect ratio, Philips' new brainchild does make the typical HDTV's 16:9 aspect seem a little dated.
This 56-inch goggle box is an ultra-widescreen monster built to handle blockbusters filmed in Panavision's 70mm anamorphic aspect ratio of 2.39:1. The perks? You won't spy any hideous letterboxing effects from such sources so no more black bars in your movies. Then again, there aren't many titles designed for this aspect to date.
However, this doesn't mean that you have to start throwing away your old DVD collection though. The Cinema 21:9 still accepts your conventional 4:3 or 16:9 formats and scales them to fit its mega-broad screen. However, we'll keep our comments to ourselves for now about how this plays out in practice, till we get our hands on a review set to see if this baby can scale as well as it looks.
That isn't all there is to it though. The Cinema 21:9 is also touted to be Philips' 'fastest' LCD TV with a 200Hz frame-rate and 1ms response time. And to soothe your tired eyes, Philips has pushed their Ambilight Spectra technology to the max with not two, but three-sided LED lights that frame the Cinema 21:9 TV with multihued lights to accompany your onscreen action.
What's a new-fangled TV these days without internet access? Knowing this, Philips has fitted it with the Net TV application as well, so that you get to surf sites such as YouTube and eBay from the Net TV's launch pad. Expect the Cinema 21:9 to hit stores in July, with a not-so modest asking price of $10,999. And no, it's backlighting is still the conventional CCFL tubes and not LED-based yet. Cutting edge TVs from this point onwards should be embracing LED backlighting, so that finding came us quite a surprise for us.