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In an attempt to break into the Australian “premium” TV market, Philips the European electronics company has rolled out an all flashing all flickering $6,000 42″ ambilight LCD TV called the Aurea that looks more like it is suited for a pole dancing club than a home.

SmartHouse has taken a first look at the screen and what is immediately obvious is that anyone who purchases this screen which goes on sale in Australia in November 2007has got to be into bright colours and flashing screens. Let me explain. Firstly the screen has hidden behind it a fluorescent type light system that Philips calls Ambilight technology. It is designed to create an emotive lighting environment.


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The light emanates from the back of the television onto the wall, but that isn’t all. The user can adjust the light intensity and colour to either red, green, blue or a combination thereof to fit the consumer’s personal preference.


Now Philips have taken their Ambilight technology one step further by also including a white surround to their TV screens so that the colour from a movie bounces around the front of the screen. It is very distracting and busy.


Ironically Philips failed to play a traditional TV signal to the screen or a known movie. Instead they used a short movie from award-winning director Wong Kar Wai to promote the “Aurea” television. In running the movie colours danced from one side of the white frame to the other which in a home after a hard day in the office would be hard to take.

 

Another key factor is that ideally the screen has to be against a white wall to ideally reflect the colours which in itself is a problem.


While Philips has a reputation for high quality products they are struggling to make it globally in the TV market and the release of the Aurea appears to be a desperate attempt to differentiate themselves from other LCD TV vendors who are outselling Philips in the Australian market.


 At a launch event held at the Establishment in Sydney the Company showed the $6,000 screen for the first time to the Australian media.


 Claiming that they hope to boost sales of its higher-margin, flat-panel TVs like the new “Aurea” model Philips have failed to clearly identify the market that will buy the new screen. Currently the Philips range of TV’s are sold via Harvey Norman and not the specialist CEDIA channel.


Matt Moran the General Manager of Philips CE Group in Australia claims that Philips’ “Ambilight” range of televisions, which create a glow of colour around the set that changes along with the colours on the screen and sells at a premium, already represented a share of between 50 & 60  percent of its TV sales in value in Australia. However Philips has a very small installed based when compared to Sony or LG or Samsung.  “We want to grow that number,” Moran said.

 

Philips’ consumer electronics business represents a major chunk of the company’s sales, but is only marginally profitable. The “Aurea” must help to boost profits in the second half of the year so that the business can meet its financial targets.
Rudy Provoost, head of Philips’ consumer electronics business, said the company was looking for ways “to put new fuel in the engine” with the release of the “Aurea” television.
“We simply have to make sure that all the building blocks are in place… (and that) the commercial successes are there to underpin the financial commitments,” he said.


Also announced by Philips Australia is the launch of the Perfect Pixel HD Engine across all of the TV models they sell in Australia.
The arrival of HD Sources and 1080p Full HD panels has put an even higher emphasis on image processing quality – as the most important element in defining overall picture quality said Philips at the Aurea launch.


The Perfect Pixel HD Engine builds upon previous Philips systems such as Pixel Plus 3 HD, to offer a new level of resolution and detail. Competing head on with similar picture engines from the likes of Toshiba, Samsung and Sony Pixel HD also has 100Hz Clear LCD and HD-Natural Motion management capability.


The Perfect Pixel HD Engine brings together a suite of Philips picture quality improvement technologies including: 100Hz ClearLCD, Digital Natural Motion, Horizontal & Vertical Luminance Transient Improvement (LTI) and Colour Booster with 14-bit processing.  

 

 And while the Philips numbers are impressive – with 6.2 million pixels resolution, 8,000:1 contrast ratio, 4 trillion colours and the claimed fastest response time of any LCD TV the Company is competing with a swag of other engines in this market.


Perfect Pixel HD’s proprietary Horizontal & Vertical LTI process works at the sub-pixel level to increase the number of lines and pixels per line to precisely match the resolution of the display panel. The Perfect Pixel HD Engine also goes a step further by changing the luminance value of each individual pixel to match the surrounding pixels in the signal.
The Perfect Pixel HD Engine also includes a Colour Booster system with 14-bit colour processing capable of generating a palette of 4 trillion colours.


Most Flat panel TVs simply show each picture within the movie twice, however the number of actual motion changes stays the same causing the classic motion judder problem.  Now all vendors like Philips are scrambling to deliver new technology that can handle the problems associated with a new generation of LCD TV’s.
In all the Aurea is a gimmick TV and at $6,000 is well outside any value bracket. But If you are into watching TV surrounded by bright lights and neon flashing image this TV screen is perfect for you.

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