Anyone who thought making the switch from their old 4:3 analogue TV to a 16:9 widescreen digital model would mean the end of unsightly black bars at the top and bottom of the picture will likely have discovered otherwise – particularly if they also picked up a Blu-ray player along with the new TV. With most movies filmed in the wider 2.35:1 or 2.40:1 and many of these now available on Blu-ray, cinephiles are once again faced with the choice of viewing the entire image with black bars, or zooming or stretching the image so it fills the entire screen. The new Cinema 21:9 Gold Series LED TV from Philips solves this dilemma with its 21:9 aspect ratio allowing widescreen movies to be displayed in all their glory.
Until recently, cinephiles looking to enjoy a true home cinema experience have been forced to shell out for a projector and screen. This changed in 2009 when Philips released the world's first cinema-proportioned LCD TV. Few other manufacturers have pursued the 21:9 aspect ratio but Philips is persevering and is looking to bring the widescreen cinema experience to a 'wider' audience by expanding its 21:9 range with the 50-inch Cinema 21:9 Gold Series LED TV that adds 3D – of the passive variety using polarized glasses – and wireless Internet connectivity to the ultra-widescreen mix.
The Full HD TV boasts a 100 Hz refresh rate, LED backlighting and real-time 2D to 3D conversion, which Philips is introducing across its 3D range this year. In addition to standard split-screen 2D gaming, there's also a 3D gaming mode that allows two players to each enjoy full-screen 2D gaming on the one screen at the same time using 3D glasses.
The Cinema 21:9 Gold Series TV's Internet connectivity allows users to stream content from a mobile device and access online apps that provide access to on-demand movie download services, social networking sites and let users control the TV using a smartphone or tablet.
Philips' Ambilight Spectra 2 that projects light onto the surface behind the TV on two sides is also onboard, and to take advantage of the TV's ultra-wide proportions, Philips has also introduced a Multiview feature that allows viewing of multiple content sources, such as the Internet and live broadcast TV, at the same time. There's also a USB port for hooking up an external drive to record live TV.
Philips is yet to announce a release date or pricing for the 50-inch Cinema 21:9 Gold Series LED TV, but you can bet this kind of eye candy won't be cheap.