TV

A decent TV set but its HDR feature is lacking

Philips uses its own HDR Plus branding for the 65UT7101.
Philips uses its own HDR Plus branding for the 65UT7101.PHOTO: PHILIPS

Preloaded Netflix app does not support HDR, omitting a widely available source of HDR content

Like Sony, Philips has decided not to comply with the HDR guidelines set by the UHD Alliance industry group.

Thus, the Philips 65UT7101 lacks the Ultra HD Premium logo. In any case, with a peak brightness of 400 nits, this TV set does not meet the 1,000 nits required by the industry group for the certification.

Instead, Philips uses its own HDR Plus branding for this model. It plays HDR content in the HDR10 format. Dolby Vision is not supported.

In my testing, the 65UT7101, which uses an edge-lit backlighting system, was clearly not as bright as other HDR TV sets. It switched to HDR mode when I started playing a 4K Blu-ray movie.

HDR picture quality is less impressive compared with the other HDR TV sets I have tried - blacks are not as dark and colours look more subdued.

I also noticed some vertical bands on the screen, but they were evident only when the picture was entirely black.

TECH SPECS

PRICE: $4,299

PICTURE FEATURES: Maximum resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, HDR

AUDIO FEATURES: 30W output

OPERATING SYSTEM: Android TV (5.1)

CONNECTIVITY: 2 x HDMI 2.0a, 2 x HDMI 1.4, 3 x USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi Direct


RATING

FEATURES: 3/5

DESIGN: 4/5

PERFORMANCE: 3/5

VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

OVERALL: 3/5

To my surprise, the standard Blu-ray version of The Revenant looks almost as detailed as the 4K Blu-ray version on this TV set. While this says a lot about the excellent 4K upscaling done, it also means the HDR reproduction was less than impressive.

But the biggest downside is that the preloaded Netflix app does not support HDR, omitting a major and widely available source of HDR content.

The 65UT7101 is not super skinny, but it looks handsome. I liked its brushed, dark metallic frame. Most of its ports are conveniently located at the side.

Like some of its competitors, Philips has dropped 3D support from its latest TV sets - unsurprising as the feature has been a flop.

But the company has retained its gimmicky Ambilight feature.

First introduced in 2004, Ambilight uses rear-facing LEDs to create mood light that changes dynamically, depending on the video content. Philips says this lighting feature produces a more immersive experience.

But I found it more distracting than immersive. The Ambilight feature can be enabled even with the TV set off, turning the set into the most expensive lava lamp.

The Ambilight feature can also be synced to work with Philips Hue light bulbs.

Like Sony, Philips has adopted the Android TV platform for its TV sets. It supports Google Cast, which lets you cast apps like YouTube from your mobile device to the set.

But Philips has done a better job at customising its TV interface, which feels more polished and slick than Sony's implementation.

This model comes preloaded with the useful apps like a file manager and there are plenty more to choose from in the Google Play Store.

Unfortunately, Philips has also included some apps that appear to be glorified video ads, such as the Berliner Philharmoniker digital concert hall app.

The included remote control has a Qwerty keyboard at the back that simplifies text input, and a Netflix shortcut button to get you streaming shows quickly.

• Verdict: Despite being much cheaper than other HDR TV sets, the Philips 65UT7101 is not the best advertisement for HDR content.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 06, 2016, with the headline 'A decent TV set but its HDR feature is lacking'. Print Edition | Subscribe