Updated: June 8, 2015 12:13:53 pm
Smart televisions have been around for a few years now. Bu they have not flown off the shelves because they are both expensive and well, despite being smart, not that easy to use. However, they are gradually becoming popular as the televisions become cheapers and access to high speed internet which is the lifeblood of these sets becomes more ubiquitous in countries like India. The other big pain point, that of controlling a smart TV with a dumb remote, is also being allayed in some of the newer devices. I recently used the Philips 8500 series Ultra Slim Smart 4K Ultra HD LED TV and here is what I felt.
58-inch Philips 8500 series 4K Ultra HD LED TV
The Philips 8500 series has been built to impress and is a stunner in every sense of the term. The first thing that will hit you is the 16:9 ratio of the screen that will set it apart from the other big screens in the neighbourhood. It also make the screen ideal for watching movies. The TV has a very thin bezel and a stylish metal stand, both of which make it easy to blend this large screen into the rest of your home.
Price: Rs 2,35,000
What is good?
First things first, though it is a large smart TV, it is among the simplest when it comes to installation and set up. Most buyers will not have to install the TV on their own, but I had the good fortune of doing it myself. From the moment I opened the box, to watching my first 4K video on the inbuilt YouTube app, there was a gap of less than 30 minutes. That is a great achievement, given that most smart TV users never manage to connect their screens to the Internet.
As I said before, a big pain point is having to use a dumb remote to control a smart TV. Controlling is relatively easy, but you will break into a cold sweat trying to connect the TV to a WiFi network as typing a password is the last thing you want to do on an old fashioned remote. Philips has found a go around by offering a full keyboard at the back of its large remote and this makes life much easier. But with a lot of the Google apps, there is also the option of using a smartphone to do the content selection.
The Ambilight is really innovative. We have all heard how a light behind the TV makes it safer for your eyes. Philips just went a step ahead and incorporated the lights into the TV itself. There are a whole lot of controls available for the lights right from colour selection to different modes. My suggestion is that you keep it static at a low intensity or you will be looking at the lights more than the TV.
Stunning. There is no other way to describe the picture quality on 4K UHD televisions. I stick to my belief that they are better than natural vision, at least my vision. I was equally impressed with the broadcast content that I tested on the Videocon d2h 4K channel as well as on YouTube. The 4K test content supplied by Philips on a USB drive was a notch better. Of course, there is the option to watch 3D or transform 2D content to 3D. Results are good, though I have always ended up with a headache at the end of a 3D session.
Smart features on the TV are really easy to access. The remote is a big help in case you want to browse the web or search for stuff. There are a lot of pre-loaded apps, but they don’t obviously have an India focus. Most of the apps, except for YouTube, might not be relevant for Indian users. But the fact that you can play 4K content on the YouTube app just makes this television much more relevant.
What is not that good?
Not much that I could fault with this television. However, when the screen is all black it is used to kiss some grey blobs on the screen. These don’t bother you at all during viewing, but yes they are there.
Given the size of the television and the quality of the pictures, the audio just does not match up. I would have loved the speakers to be a bit more loud. You might need to invest in better speakers to really enjoy this telly better.
Even 1080p content is not good enough for a 4K screen so there is no way you are going to enjoy regular content on this one. And there is no abundance of 4K content.
Should you buy it?
Yes, if you have the money and don’t mind not having the content to play on your stellar television. If you are playing one channel on a DTH service or watching videos on YouTube then go ahead for sure. Otherwise wait for good 4K content to come to India. When it does this should be on top of your shortlist.
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