Philips AmbiLux 8900 review

With the lead up to Christmas now upon us, new TVs are abundant at IFA 2015. We've spent some time with one of the most interesting at the show so here's our Philips 8900 AmbiLux hands-on review. See also: 5 cheapest 4K TVs in the UK 2015.

You may be aware of the firm's AmbiLight technology which had been part of its TV range for some time. Until now it's consisted of LEDs mounted along the sides at the back – traditionally on the left and right but also available in three-sided and four-sided set-ups.

The idea is that AmbiLight changes colour based on what's on the screen so a nice landscape scene will glow green at the bottom where there is grass and blue at the top where there is sky – to put it in simple terms. Philips calls it a 'coloured halo'.

We've always been a fan of this feature which makes for a more immersive experience, giving the impression that you're TV is even bigger than it is and blending it into your living room. However, Philips has taken it to the next level at this year's IFA with AmbiLux.

Philips AmbiLux 8900 UK price and where to buy

We didn't have a price or release date for the TV back in September but we now know that the 65PUS8901 will be available exclusively from Harrods at the end of March and you can see it in store before you buy. The Philips AmbiLux price in the UK is £3,999.

Philips AmbiLux 8900 review

Instead of rear mounted LEDs, the AmbiLux model has not one, but nine pico-projectors mounted in an arc shape to make up one huge projection on three sides on the TV – it doesn't project downwards but future models may well do. It's a 105in projection at the rear so it's much bigger than normal AmbiLight making the experience bigger and better.

A video processor in the TV tells each projector what to do and intead of simply shining the correct colours like existing AmbiLight, the AmbiLux mimics whatever is on the screen. Of course, not in a usual projector fashion so you end up with out of focus shapes rather than a copy of the image which would just be weird.

Philips AmbiLux 8900 review

There's an element of gimmick to the feature but as we found with original Ambilight once you get used to having it, it's hard to go back and TVs without it just seem a little odd. One thing which the AmbiLux is able to do is give the effect of objects continuing off the edge of the screen. For example a car driving out of shot will carry on in light form across your wall.

While the AmbiLux technology is really immersive for TV and film, it's not quite so ideal for gaming and some users may find it distracting when trying to line up a headshot or similar. We don't know for sure as we were only able to watch demo reels which included a small amount of gaming.

Philips AmbiLux 8900 review

We didn't see it in action but Philips also touts a special AmbiLight Music Mode which can 'follow and react to the dynamics of any music played through the TV'.

We're excited to get our hands on AmbiLux which is a natural upgrade for those already using AmbiLight. It will, for now, only be available on one model though which is the 8900 featuring a 65in 4K display and Android.

Philips AmbiLux 8900: Specs

  • 65in
  • 4K 3840x2160
  • 9 pico-projectors
  • Android OS
  • 65in
  • 4K 3840x2160
  • 9 pico-projectors
  • Android OS

OUR VERDICT

It's difficult to differentiate in the world of TVs but Philips has done a great job here with the follow-up to Ambilight LED technology. We think the use of nine projectors on the back makes for an even more immersive experience that we can't wait to get our hands on on a gorgeous 65in 4K panel running Android. It's exclusive to Harrods and we're surprised at the relatively low cost of £3,999.