Philips Audio Visual Extravaganza - Obsessed With Sound & Vision

Philips' Audio Visual Extravaganza - Obsessed With Sound & Vision

Philips' Home Entertainment Invasion

The home cinema palette just got a little bigger. Just moments ago, Philips kick started their 2010 AV campaign with a fleet of audio visual toys designed with the perfect soundscape in mind. If you recall, we gave you a glimpse of Philips' upcoming audio devices during our recent trip to Leuven as we tracked their "Obsessed With Sound" campaign. Nothing has changed since, for Philips is still very much in pursuit of an immersive sound production as highlighted in their obsessive crusade. Today, however, the Dutch company finally officiates the same five hero products, and these babies are set to arrive on retail shelves before the month is over. On top of that, we also spied a small selection of new HDTVs of the LED-backlit genre on display. Without further ado, here are some additional takeaways we've managed to extract from the event, held at the rather luxurious Hard Rock Hotel in touristy Sentosa.


Mr Usman Qureshi started the ball rolling with a brief presentation on the ingenuity of Philips new audio suite. Notably, Philips is positioning itself as a serious player in the AV industry with an aggressive push in the direction of Blu-ray as well as providing an authentic listening experience for the consumer and sonic purists.


Audio Obsessions

As covered in our previous article, Philips current campaign is spearheaded by a number of audio flag bearers, which include the DS9000 Fidelio docker speaker, GoGear Muse MP4 player, HTS9140 Blu-ray Soundbar, HTS9520 5.1 Home Theater System and MCi900 Streamium player. Based on what's been shared by Mr Usman Qureshi, Manager of Philips Consumer Lifestyle group, Philips is intent on bringing an all-embracing sound to the masses with their new range of audio peripherals. He also mentioned that whilst Philips is a relatively late to the Blu-ray scene, having only entered the market emphatically last year, they've managed to gain traction against the other bigger players already entrenched in the field. In addition, Philips has made it their prerogative to focus on Blu-ray aspects rather than basic DVD playback for their home entertainment offerings. As such, it wasn't much of a surprise that the Blu-ray capable HTS9520 Home Theater system took center stage during the event with its radical tri-pole configuration and convincing surround sound performance, dubbed as 360Sound. Another prominent product which attracted a fair amount of curious looks was the rather odd looking MCi900 Streamium and its pair of floating tweeters.

It might look like a conventional 5.1 home theater system, but the HTS9520 actually hides four satellite drivers with a tri-pole configuration. Each satellite speaker packs a single front firing driver and two side firing speakers to produce what Philips call a 360Sound, which doesn't require the listener to be at the center of the sound field to enjoy a convincing surround sound effect.

The MCi900 Stremium isn't your conventional micro system for sure. It features a pair of bug-eyed tweeters above its woofers, and houses an internal 160GB hard drive for your audio files as well. The MCi900 has a recommended retail price of S$1,299, and like the rest of the obsessive range, it is poised to reach you by end June 2010.

Finally, Philips has a portable media player with a 3.2-inch HVGA touchscreen to boot. The new GoGear Muse comes in a sexy metallic body with a HDMI output. For the audiophiles, you might want to know that it supports the lossless FLAC CODEC as well.

You've met the black and brown iteration previously. Now meet the white and grey offshoot of the new Fidelio docking speaker. It is compatible with any iPod or iPhone, and comes with a control panel designed with proximity sensors. The Fidelio is yours for $699.


Visual Obsessions

Although Philips didn't reveal many details during the event, we managed to obtain some vital information about the company's plans for their upcoming fleet of HDTVs. For starters, Philips will focus their attention mainly on LED-backlit panels for the year ahead. According to Mr Qureshi, LED driven systems are touted to be the "next generation technology" with a higher demand from consumers compared to CCFL-based LCDs. Furthermore, the Dutch will also continue the LED legacy with both Full and Edge types. As we know it, Philips will be adding 46 and 52 inch sizes to the current 8000 series, which is currently available in the 40 and 42-inch iterations. More importantly, they will be adding a flagship 3D panel to the count - the 40-inch FL9705. The 9000 series will carry Philips' Ambilight Spectra 3 technology, meaning you get to enjoy cool Ambilights on all three sides of the TV. Plus the 1080p display will also feature direct LED backlights alternatively known as "LED Pro" in Philips marketing terminology. Although the FL9705 is a 3D-ready set, you might be required to obtain the accessory 3D upgrade kit and glasses (Philips PTA02) to complete the 3D experience. Details are still sketchy at this point, but the FL9705 is expected to hit the decks in the third quarter of this year, and is priced at S$5,999 (52-inch) and S$4,999 (40-inch) respectively. Keep your eyes peeled.  

Philips' upcoming 9000 series (the one in the middle) is just a mockup of the actual display. If realized, the 3D-capable screen will tout some visual treats such as a three-sided Ambilights and full LED backlights. Although nothing is cast in stone at this moment, there is a chance you might have to purchase its 3D glasses (PTA02) separately.

As shown, Philips has coined their upcoming Full LED backlighting technology as "LED Pro", while the currently deployed Edge LEDs are simply known as "LED". Hmm, we wonder if Philips might want to consider the moniker "AmbiLED" instead?

Like peas and carrots, the 8000 series LED-backlit HDTV was made to go with the Blu-ray ready HTS8140 SoundBar. Besides its claim of delivering 4 trillion colors based on it Pixel Precise HD engine, the 8000 series is now available in 4 sizes - namely in 40, 42, 46 and 52 inches.