Televisions mysteriously have never really been about themselves. The conventional wisdom says that as long as they have an acceptable viewing panel to watch whatever it is that you are watching, the physical shell of the television itself was never meant to be a visual treat. In a way that it would sit around, bereft of any personality, waiting for you to switch it on and focus on the screen. No one would even cast a glance at the TV itself. Think about it, do you really remember if your TV has a grey frame, black frame or a silver frame? So much loneliness. Yes, slimmer bezels, perhaps a dash of brushed aluminum and that was pretty much it. But what if we were to say that the television itself is about to become a thing of beauty? That is exactly what Philips have done with the 6700 series 4K LED TV with the three-sided Ambilight technology. At present, TPV Technologies makes these TVs for Philips as part of a strategic partnership, and you can buy the 65-inch variant in India priced at Rs 1,38,999 and that is, whichever way you look at it, a great value for that massive screen size.
When the Philips 6700 Ambilight TV emerges from its packaging, you immediately realize this isn’t just any other run of the mill design. Most certainly, this looks very sophisticated, complete with a thin frame with a brushed metal look. The table-top stands are quite minimalist too, though they sit quite close to either end of the TV and that means you need to have a table wide enough to place this. But then again, if you have just spent money on a 65-inch TV, you probably won’t fret about a table anyway. All the ports are at the back, though at a measured depth of 87.5mm, this isn’t the thinnest TV. But would you really mind? If we have one gripe, that would probably be that the length of the power cable isn’t too long, and that can be an issue if your power strip or power ports aren’t exactly near the TV table.
It would be best if you place the Philips 6700 Ambilight TV is against a pure white wall, because when this is switched on, what you’ll get is a rather appeal visual experience around the TV. This is what Ambilight is. These are basically three-sided LEDs integrated in the rear panel, which light up the wall behind the TV. But this isn’t any ordinary congregation of LEDs. In fact, these LEDs match the exact colours that you see on the screen—at least the ones closest to them. Imagine a scenario where you may have a palette of colours adorning the screen—red to the right side, green near the top and blue to the left, and you’ll see the wall behind light up in the corresponding colours. And this isn’t some random skill, and we noticed how seamless the Ambilight colour changes were depending on the changing visuals on the display. In fact, even rapidly changing visuals on the screen do not stump Ambilight, and it changes fast enough. There is the option of changing the intensity of these LEDs depending on your preference, or you can turn this off altogether. But why would you?
At this point, I’d like to reminisce a bit about the past. Back around the year 2008 or 2009 (if memory serves me well) is when Philips bought generation of the Ambilight TVs to India. The idea was the same, to make the TV viewing experience more immersive and colorful by utilizing the wall behind your TV. However, I do remember that the Ambilight implementation in that was slightly different though—the LEDs were placed behind a translucent strip of plastic, and you never saw the naked LEDs in action. The Philips 6700 Ambilight TV does things a bit differently. The implementation of the LEDs this time around doesn’t have a translucent protective layer over it. While this is fine for us adults, but if you have a toddler running around at home, the little one might actually look at the LEDs intently, and that could lead to some eye discomfort after a point.
The Philips 6700 Ambilight TV indeed follows through on the smartness with actual performance too. Before you ask, this is a 65-inch 4K panel (3,840 x 2,160 resolution). This supports the HDR+ standard too, a feature that has become an essential on the smart TV checklist. Philips has also included the Pixel Precise Ultra HD feature, which monitors each pixel on this display panel, to ensure the black levels are deep enough and the contrast isn’t compromised. There is also the micro dimming feature, which helps the contrast aspect too. The way this works is that the TV has made as many as 6,400 clusters across the entire display panel, and then the pixel illumination of each of these zones is then managed accordingly, as per the visuals on the screen. Simply put, the difference between differently illuminated areas of any visual frame are well distinguished, as they should be. There really is no doubt in my mind that the Philips 6700 Ambilight TV ticks off all the requirements one may have from a premium TV.
But what about the performance? What I instantly liked about the Philips 6700 Ambilight TV are the extremely detailed picture and sound settings. There has been a rather perplexing trend off late for TVs (particularly the up and coming brands) to offer just the basic brightness, contrast, sharpness, colour and hue settings—and that’s it. Luckily enough, Philips bucks that trend. While some may criticize these multitude of options, power users (and the finicky ones, yours truly included) will find this very relevant. I did, most certainly, thank you very much. The really fine controls let you set aspects such as various layers of contrast, colours, HDR effect, how fast-moving visuals (movie buffs would love this too) are handled and so on, exactly to how you prefer them.
The net result is pristine picture quality. The colours look beautiful, contrast is more than adequate, this is a bright panel too and sharpness is right on the point as well. With Full HD and 4K content, the Philips 6700 Ambilight TV really shines through in terms of the large screen TV viewing experience. I had the opportunity of testing this with various video sources, for different types of content, and the Philips 6700 Ambilight TV really took everything effortlessly in its stride. Gaming on the PlayStation 4, some football matches on the Tata Sky HD DTH and 4K movies on the Nvidia Shield console, all looked brilliant on this display. Watching movies and binge watching on TV shows on Netflix and Amazon Video just transcends into a different realm of brilliance on the Philips 6700 Ambilight TV.
For all the brilliance of the visual experience that the Philips 6700 Ambilight TV offers, sound doesn’t really take that much of a leap forward. On paper, this has everything, a 20-watt rated speaker setup included. However, the lack of proper lower frequencies while watching movies in particular just takes some amount of fun from the experience. That said, the built-in speakers do very well in terms of clarity and room-filling loudness. Yet, you’ll probably want to pair this TV with a soundbar, to get the perfect audio-visual experience. All said and done, the built-in speakers in televisions are mostly never up to scratch in terms of the audio experience one may expect—and that includes significantly more expensive TVs too.
Under the hood is a quad core processor, though Philips doesn’t specify the amount of memory and storage paired with this. Nevertheless, what we are interested in is the Saphi TV system. This is yet another smart TV platform that we have experienced, after Samsung’s Tizen OS, LG’s WebOS and Google’s Android TV on televisions made by Sony and Xiaomi, for instance. In a way, Saphi TV is more minimalist than WebOS, except perhaps Android TV which still is the slickest to use. Nevertheless, it doesn’t take long for you to get used to the interface of the Saphi TV. Basically, you get apps such as Netflix, Amazon Video and YouTube preloaded on the TV. There is an app store that lets you search and download many more streaming services. It takes a while to tune yourself to the fact that Saphi TV’s layout is biased towards the lower half of the screen. App switching is quick enough, and at no point did we feel this slow down. One observation though is that we couldn’t find any quick access key to get to the picture or sound settings in individual HDMI sources, and had to always press the home key and select the Settings menu from there.
It finally boils down to the value for money proposition. Does the Philips 6700 Ambilight TV deliver on the visual experience you may expect from a large 65-inch television? The answer is a vehement yes. Most definitely. It is not to say that the Philips 6700 Ambilight TV has no competition. What are your options? There is the Samsung RU7470 4K TV (around Rs 1,56,000 for the 65-inch version) and the LG 65UK6360PTE (around Rs 1,43,000 for the 65-inch screen size) which are in the same ballpark as the Philips 6700 Ambilight TV’s price tag. And each offers similar set of features and performance. However, remember, none of them have the brilliance of the Ambilight feature, which just is the proverbial cherry on the cake of television brilliance that the Philips 6700 Ambilight TV is. For me, it is also more about the sentiment, having used Philips TVs for years, during my younger days—and I am just glad that the Philips brand is back in the TV space in India, as a serious player.