With Philips already setting tongues wagging and tills ringing this year with its brilliant new mid-range OLED807 OLED TVs, it’s fair to say expectations are high for the brand’s significantly more premium 65-inch 65OLED937.
This £3,199 model features a higher grade of OLED panel than the OLED807, a more powerful two-chip processor, and an upgraded Bowers & Wilkins audio system so potent that it’s been moved out to an external speaker enclosure, rather than Philips trying in vain to fit it all inside the main TV’s bodywork.
Add a four-sided version of Philips’ trademark Ambilight technology to all these other premium goodies, and it’s hard to think of a TV that talks a better talk.
We can’t really make sense of the 65OLED937’s picture performance without getting into the technology behind it.
This starts with the fact that as its name suggests, it’s built around an OLED panel. This means that every single pixel in the 4K picture can produce its own light, entirely independently of its neighbours, resulting in levels of local contrast and shading subtlety that no LCD TV can truly compete with.
The panel inside the 65OLED937 is no run of the mill OLED, either. As noted earlier, it’s one of the latest so-called EX panels, fresh out of LG Display for 2022 that have been proven to deliver as much as 30% more brightness than you get with standard OLED panels. It also, though, boasts a built in heat sink element, enabling it to be driven even more brightly without you having to worry about its screen becoming more susceptible to permanent screen burn.
It’s worth adding here that the OLED937 also uses advanced image analysis to constantly detect static image elements that could potentially contribute to screen burn and gently dims just those areas down to neutralise their ‘threat’.
This specific advanced processing element is just one small cog in a much, much bigger machine: the latest (6th) generation of Philips’ P5 engine. This processor works on the principle that there are five key pillars of picture quality, colour, contrast, detail, motion and accurate source identification, and applies dozens of different processing tools to optimising each of those five key picture areas. It applies these processes in a very specific order, too, to ensure they achieve the optimum results, and in the OLED937’s case the processing system is powered by two separate chips to deliver even more effective results in real time.
The sixth generation of the OLED937’s premium version of the P5 engine improves on what’s come before with a new Advanced HDR system that optimises detail, brightness and colour foreach and every frame of an HDR10 source.
This Advanced HDR system is also something you don’t get with the OLED807’s version of the P5 processor, with further key enhancements exclusive to the OLED937 coming from its application of AI machine learning to key parts of its processing.
AI has also been applied this year to the 65OLED937’s ambient detection features. These are designed to take into account a wider range of ambient light factors when trying to optimise the way pictures are adjusted to suit the current room conditions.
The 65OLED937’s onscreen features are backed up by Philips’ Ambilight system. This uses banks of LEDs ranged around the screen’s rear to cast out coloured light from all four of the TV’s sides that can, if you wish, match with uncanny colour and location accuracy the colours of the pictures showing on the screen. This actually works more effectively on the 65OLED937 than it does with Philips’ previous OLED TVs thanks to the new panel’s higher brightness, which makes it less likely that Amibilight might overwhelming/draw attention away from the pictures on the screen. Though I’d still recommend turning down the Ambilight brightness a touch for the most immersive effect.
The extra brightness unlocked by the 65OLED937’s combination of an EX panel, heat sink and Philips’ latest processing really is a sight to behold. This is especially true when it comes to the brightest highlights of HDR images, such as car headlights and reflections on glass or metal, which explode off the screen with a lifelike intensity beyond anything I’ve seen before on a WRGB OLED TV. (If you've not heard of a A WRGB OLED, fear not, it's a recent technology where a white subpixel has been added to the traditional red, green and blue (RGB) to make an even brighter picture). And even LG’s latest G2 OLEDs don’t push bright highlights quite as far as the 65OLED937, serving up just over 1000 nits of peak brightness versus 1103 nits of peak brightness on the 65OLED937. This actually sees the 65OLED937 entering the sort of peak brightness territory of new Quantum Dot OLED technology.
Full screen brightness is also remarkably good - and this is in someways even more indicative of just how next-gen the 65OLED937’s panel and processing are. Even just a year ago it would have been hard to imagine that WRGB OLED TVs might be capable of this level of HDR experience anytime soon, if ever - yet here it is.
The eye-popping new brightness levels the 65OLED937 manages to hit are achieved without compromising the beautifully deep, neutral black tones that we’re more accustomed to lapping up with OLED TVs. As well as enabling the 65OLED937 to deliver dark scenes with real authority, balance and beauty, the outstanding black level reproduction combines with the new brightness to produce the widest dynamic range an OLED TV has ever delivered.
The 65OLED937 isn’t just about extremes, though, despite its new AI-driven HDR enhancements undoubtedly pushing those extremes further. The latest processing and panel also combine to fill in a phenomenal range of light and colour tones between the darkest and brightest elements, delivering everything from near perfect shadow detailing in very dark corners to fully detailed (‘unclipped’) bright highlights and a huge array of cleanly blended, stripe-free colours and colour blends.
Having such nuanced but also expressive light and colour control at its disposal also helps the 65OLED937 produce one of the sharpest, most detailed pictures you’ll find on any 65-inch TV. It’s like 4K on steroids, honestly - where those steroids are actually a genuine benefit rather than just pumping the picture up into something that looks artificial or ridiculous.
The sharpness holds up superbly, too, even if there’s motion in a scene, thanks to Philips’ excellent (provided you leave it set to its relatively low-powered Pure Cinema or Movie modes, anyway) motion processing system.
The 65OLED937’s brightness, colour and sharpness talents make it an excellent gaming display too, for the most part. Stunningly so at times. There are a couple of niggles with gaming, though. First, only two of the TV’s four HDMIs support the latest gaming features of 4K at 120Hz and variable refresh rates. You also have to make sure the TV has switched into an Optimal Game setting for the HDMIs you’ve got your gaming sources connected to if you want to achieve the full range of features the TV supports, and finally, due to some mysterious limitation in the 65OLED937’s otherwise super-powerful twin-chip processing system, 4K/120Hz game graphics actually only appear with half their correct vertical resolution. And there’s no fix for this via the set’s Monitor mode like there is with Philips’ cheaper OLED807 range. That’s not to say 4K/120Hz graphics don’t still look impressive, though; the 65OLED937’s core picture performance is way too strong for that.
There are a trio of other issues to be aware of too, though. First, Dolby Vision pictures can look a little forced at times, with slightly over-saturated colours, exaggerated colour noise and some crushing out of subtle detailing in very dark picture areas. Second, the Ambient AI adjustments tend to make the picture a bit dark if you’re watching TV in a darkish room, so I’d suggest leaving those features turned off.
Finally, while the range of picture presets Philips provides is impressively wide-ranging, nearly all of them benefit from some manual intervention. Particularly when it comes to its noise reduction options (which are best turned off or set to minimum at most with native 4K content); motion settings; and the relationship between the Advanced HDR Tone Mapping option and Maximum HDR Perfect options proving capable if activated in tandem of causing some distracting background brightness adjustments with scenes that feature the sudden introduction of very bright elements.
Most of these issues can be worked round via a little careful manipulation of the huge roster of picture adjustments Philips provides, though. And the pay off for spending a little time familiarising yourself with the deeper recesses of the 65OLED937’s menus is nothing short of glorious.
Philips’ decision to not only involve acclaimed British Hi-Fi brand Bowers & Wilkins in the design of the 65OLED937’s audio system but give its engineers serious room to work by building all the speakers into a large external box that doubles up as the TV’s desktop support turns out to be a stroke of genius.
Dialogue, for starters, is beautifully presented. Gorgeously clean without sounding too dominant or shorn of context, slightly elevated to lock it to the onscreen lip movements, and able to adapt effortlessly to the deepest male baritones or shrillest horror movie screams.
The speaker enclosure also has the power, projection and sensitivity to handle both subtle and aggressive details in complex movie mixes superbly. Everything sounds clean, pure and free of harshness or sibilance, and the placement of specifically located sound effects, particularly with Dolby Atmos mixes, is remarkably accurate. This includes a very clear height dimension alongside a strong and clean left and right splay.
The immense power at the 65OLED937’s disposal doesn’t just help with its clarity and projection, though. Together with an excellent dynamic range that includes bass so deep it’s hard to understand how it’s possible without a separate external subwoofer, the power also helps the TV’s sound open up to accommodate even the loudest, densest mix moments Hollywood has to offer without succumbing to compression, thinness, crackling, buzzing or drop outs.
The 65OLED937’s sound is so good, in fact, that it can even be used as a high quality and ridiculously powerful Hi-Fi speaker system with pretty much any kind of music you happen to be into.
All in all, the 65OLED937 may be the best all-round sounding TV I’ve ever heard - especially when it’s firing on all cylinders with a no holds barred Dolby Atmos mix.
Thanks to its Ambilight feature, living with the Philips 65OLED937 is like attending a concert or West End show in your living room every night. The light it can cast out from around its edges is bright and colourful enough to ensure that the on-screen entertainment expands way beyond the TV’s edges, making the viewing experience feel bigger, more immersive and, provided you resist the temptation to leave Ambilight set too bright and too aggressive in the way it responds to changes in image content, actually more relaxing for long time viewing.
The rest of the 65OLED937’s design is seriously easy on the eye too, whether it’s the ultra-thin metallic outer edges of the screen or the angular, felt-covered elegance - complete with cute ‘tweeter on top’ - of the desktop stand/speaker enclosure.
Having such a powerful integrated sound system means you won’t have to worry about spoiling the TV’s design by adding a third-party soundbar, of course.
Another great consumer-facing feature of the 65OLED937 is its support for all of the main formats of high dynamic range (HDR) technology, including both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. This means it will automatically play the very best version available of any content it receives.
The 65OLED937’s Android TV smart system is as content rich as always, and Philips backs this up with the Freeview Play app to bring on board all the UK’s broadcaster catch up apps. Philips continues its strong record of being able to run Android TV on its TVs more slickly and stably than some rivals, too.
The only downside to living with the 65OLED937 is that it’s a bit more complicated to use than most TVs we see these days, thanks to its slightly complicated HDMI setting system, and the fact that we’d advise you to take potentially quite regular visits to its labyrinthine set up menus to make sure you’re always getting the best out of it.
Provided you don’t mind putting a little bit of well-rewarded effort into ensuring that it’s always delivering its best, the Ambilight-backed Philips 65OLED937 is the year’s all-round most spectacular home entertainment centrepiece.
The Batman 4K Blu-ray
With their (inevitably given it’s Batman) heavy use of extreme darkness punctuated by stark artificial light highlights, Matt Reeves’ visuals for The Batman feel tailor-made to show off what the 65OLED937 can do with its near-perfect black levels and unprecedented (for WRGB OLED technology) brightness.
Blade Runner 2049
As the proud owner of one of the loudest, densest and most extreme Dolby Atmos soundtracks in the movie world, Blade Runner 2049 is perfectly placed to push the 65OLED937’s external sound system to the limits of its abilities, showcasing superbly its arguably peerless power, dynamic range and ability to build a detailed and immersive sound stage.
Ready Player One 4K Blu-ray
The huge mixture of bass, impact sounds, immaculately placed audio effects and sheer unabashed noise that characterises the Dolby Atmos mix of first ‘virtual race’ sequence in Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Ernest Cline’s supposedly unfilmable novel is the stuff of legend. And the 65OLED937 does better justice to it than any other built-in TV sound system I’ve heard.
Philips’ latest AI-driven picture processor manages to squeeze every last drop of performance out of the 65OLED937’s state of the art OLED panel, while Philips’ partnership with Bowers & Wilkins sees the 65OLED937’s spectacular images joined by the most detailed and powerful sound the TV world has arguably ever heard.