Philips first HDMI 2.1-enabled OLED TVs go on sale

Mike Wheatley

Philips has announced the European launch of its high-end OLED TVs just days after it debuted its first Mini-LED models. That should give fans of the brand a nice headache if they’re considering buying one this year.


The new Philips OLED TVs are the first from the company to feature HDMI 2.1 ports, which makes them an excellent choice for video games fans that want to get the best possible performance out of their next-generation PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles.

Philips has already launched one OLED television this year and it was quite a tempting offer. The Philips OLED705 carried a very attractive price tag of just £979 for the smaller 55-inch model. That made it one of the cheapest OLED TVs on the market, but of course carrying a lower price inevitably means sacrifices have to be made, with the most notable omission being it didn’t have any HDMI 2.1 slots.

That’s changed with the next step up model, which is the Philips OLED706. We first caught sight of it in January. It’s a 4K TV that costs £1,399 for the 55-inch model and £1,799 for the 65-inch version. Like the PhilipsOLED705, the OLED706 features three-sided Ambilight, which is the company’s iconic mood lighting technology. The real draw though is the HDMI 2.1 ports, which enable new gaming features such as 4K@120Hz, Auto Low-Latency Mode and Variable Refresh Rate. The Philips OLED706 comes fitted with the new P5 AI processor that throws in some neural network-based smarts to improve image quality, as opposed to the older P5 picture processor found on the Philips OLED705. Another advantage is it runs Android 10, rather than the Android 9 OS that powers its cheaper cousin.

Some of the shared features include support for FreeSync and enhanced Audio Return Channel, as well as Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HDR10 and HLG. Dolby Atmos and DTS Play-Fi multiroom audio support also appear on both models, as does the specialist Filmmaker Mode that eliminates all processing effects.

What then, do the more premium 8-series models have, you may well ask? There are a few things. The most obvious difference with the 4K Philips OLED806 and Philips OLED856 (pictured) appears to be the addition of four-sided Ambilight. Viewers will therefore be treated to a beautiful light display that surrounds the entire TV. It promises to be an especially cool effect for those who choose to mount their TV on the wall.

Other features not seen on the 7-series include 120Hz black frame insertion (marketed as "Fast Motion Clarity"), CalMAN auto-calibration support and something called HDR10+ Adaptive, which improves the HDR10+ viewing experience by adjusting for the ambient light in the room. Finally, the Philips OLED806 and OLED856 come with the anti OLED burn-in technology that was previously exclusive to last year's Philips OLED+935 flagship model.

The OLED806 also has more sizes to choose from, with a 48-inch version and a 77-inch model available, in addition to the regular 55- and 65-inch options. The Philips OLED856 is only available in the 55- and 65-inch variants, though.

The only real difference between the two 8-series OLED TVs themselves is the stand. The Philips OLED806 has small, dainty feet, while the Philips OLED856 has a nice T-shaped stand instead. So, it's really just a matter of taste.

The Philips OLED806 starts at £1,299 for the 48-inch model. The 55-inch version will cost £1,599, while the 65-inch model is priced at £2,299. It’s not clear yet what the 77-inch variant will cost, as that won’t go on sale until later in the year. At the time of press, Philips hasn’t revealed pricing for the OLED856 model, though there’s unlikely to be too much difference.

Philips is also said to be planning to launch an upgraded version of its flagship 9-Series OLED TV later this year.

Here's a closer look at the Philips OLED806 and OLED856: