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Philips Cinema 21:9 3D TV - Wide Load
I was quite sore that I missed out on the launch of this TV, but sure enough, it landed on our AV room’s doorstep a short while after. I was amazed at the sheer size of the package, and was even more amazed when I actually got the monster out of its box. This 58-inch TV is definitely one of the biggest TVs I’ve ever seen. But will it live up to the massive hype?
Super-wide, super cool
Design and Features
Apart from the width, this TV has quite an ordinary design. One would really expected a lot more from a TV of this stature in terms of style, as Philips is obviously aiming at making this one a part of the big boys club. It has a pretty thick border, although I do like the matte, brushed-metal finish. The Philips logo at the bottom centre of the has these really cool looking menu buttons right under it that light up when you turn the TV on.
Cool, sci-fi menu buttons
The stand that comes with the TV is huge, and also doubles up as a wall mount. It allows the TV to be swiveled horizontally, but it does seem a little flimsy, though. The back of the TV has all the usual suspects when it comes to connectivity. What’s important is that it does have 4 HDMI inputs, including one 1.4 port. This TV also has a component connection, but Philips has done away with composite sockets.
The remote looks a little like an elliptical dish and fit nicely in my hand. My only problem with it is that nothing is marked, so it may take you a little time to figure out which button does what. For instance, I kept trying pressing the ‘Home’ button when I wanted to go to the main menu. But it does get easier after a while.
I was really disappointed with the active 3D glasses that came with this TV. They’ve got that cheap movie-theatre vibe happening and are not really comfortable. I’m not really a big fan of 3D, and these glasses just seemed to increase my dislike towards it, as my eyes started hurting after a while.
Plenty of connections, but no composite input
The Cinema 21:9 has a bunch of features apart from its cinemascope aspect ratio. It supports 3D Blu-ray playback in addition to the side-by-side and top-and-bottom formats used in broadcasts. It also has an LED backlit panel with local dimming for better blacks. But the icing on the cake is definitely the Ambilight Spectra 3 feature which makes the overall viewing experience a lot better by mirroring colors around the top, left and right edges of the screen to emit a halo of lights.
Other features include the Net TV function, which allows the downloading of apps like YouTube, etc. it also supports the playback of 1080-p MKV files via DLNA. Philips has included a copy of he Philips MediaConnect software which allows you to duplicate anything from games to videos on your PC screens and you can do this wirelessly in up to HD resolution as long as your TV and computer are connected to the same network. However, all is not peaches and cream, as this TV does not support 2D-3D conversion. I don’t really care about it, but a lot of others might.
Using this TV was a bit of a pain. It’s not really intuitive, and I had to set up everything from scratch. It took a while for the TV to realise that I’d plugged in a Blu-ray player, as I had to go to the menu and actually tell it which HDMI port I’d plugged the device into. While this was a breeze for me, it might not be for others. However, there also is a wizard that tells you exactly what to do if you get too confused. I also found the menu to be a little slow.
The colours on this TV are beyond incredible. I have never seen better colours on any other TV – ever. Everything from the shadow detail and black levels to the skin tone were absolutely stellar. Philips had graciously provided us with a 3D test disc, and it had some pretty nice clips on it. I must have watched some of those clips at least 10 times. It really was that good.
A mega-sized TV deserves a mega-sized stand
As for 3D performance, this is definitely the best I’ve seen so far, triumphing even over my now dethroned favourite, the LG Infinia 55LX9500. The depth is really good, and the images are a lot less blurry than the other 3D TVs I’ve seen so far. Of course, the 3D viewing is not perfect, and there is some amount of crosstalk. However, I did notice that the entire viewing experience is a lot better when you’re sitting further away. I tried watching 3D content at various distances, and found that 10-12 feet yielded the best experience.
When it came to gaming, the Alienware rig came to our rescue once again. Playing Left for Dead and Crysis was a real treat on this TV for the visuals and details, but there was a lot of lag in movements for some reason. This was a total downer, as I expected a lot more.
One of the awesome speakers that makes this TV sound so good
As for audio performance, this TV has really got it covered. The Cinema 21:9 definitely has the best audio I’ve heard from internal speakers. This is probably because of the double woofers and twin dome couple with a 30W amplifier. The dialogues are crisp and clear, and the bass is tight and thumpy.
I really like the Cinema 21:9 and it is definitely one of the better TVs I’ve ever had the pleasure of testing. It has great picture reproduction capabilities, awesome sound and some nice features. However, there are these tiny things that Philips should’ve paid attention to like the 3D glasses, the slow and unintuitive menu and the crosstalk when it comes to 3D. Oh, and did I mention that it costs Rs. 4,50,000?
The Joker says buy this TV, but only if you have that kind of money
I give this TV 3 ½ stars, as it is way too expensive, and has some issues that definitely need to be sorted out. But it is a great TV, and is definitely one of the better ones available. If only they’d shave off the price a little. Well, I’d still not be able to afford it, but it would definitely tempt a lot of other buyers to go in for it.