Philips OLED+ 984 4K TV Hands On

The best sounding TV I've ever heard.

SRP: £4,500.00

What is the Philips 984?

The Philips OLED+ 984 is a flagship 4K TV with a custom-built Bowers & Wilkins sound system. The new model builds on the success of last year with a stylish European design and the third generation P5 processing engine. Philips sensibly supports all versions of high dynamic range with HDR10, HLG, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, plus there's support for Dolby Atmos object-based audio. The 984 runs the latest version of the Android operating system and also includes 4-sided Ambilight. The B&W sound system is based around a 3-channel speaker set-up with a decoupled central tweeter on top.

The 984 is available in a single 65-inch screen size (65OLED984) and will be available in early October for a recommended price of £4,500.

Note from the Editor: This is a hands on and is the first look at a new product on a manufacturer stand at the IFA show. The full in-depth review with our usual weeks of real-world use and measurements will follow when we receive the finished retail version of the TV in our own test rooms. However, we do think it is important to produce a hands on feature so we can give you, the AVForums reader, an overview with the correct information and our opinion based on an early look.

Design

Philips 65OLED984
The Philips 984 boasts an attractive design with elegant European styling. There's a thin chrome bezel around the screen, and the entire panel sits on a chrome column and brushed metal stand plate that not only provides support but forms part of the sound system. The bottom part of the stand (beneath the speaker) can be removed and the screen and speaker can be wall mounted using an included bracket.
Philips 65OLED984
The attached speaker uses three front-firing channels composed of a woofer and a tweeter. The left and right tweeters are within the speaker cabinet, but the centre channel tweeter is mounted on top, decoupling it from the larger woofer (in much the same fashion as B&W's 800 high-end Series speakers). The entire speaker cabinet is wrapped in Kvadrat fabric, which adds another touch of class.
The 984 is a gorgeous piece of industrial design – all chrome, brushed metal and Kvadrat fabric

Connections, Control & Features

Philips 65OLED984
The Philips 984 boasts a full complement of connections that includes four HDMI 2.0b inputs, one of which supports ARC (audio return channel). The HDMI inputs also support auto low latency mode, and there are USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, along with a dual tuner. In terms of wireless connections, the 984 includes 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth v4.2.

The controls are based around Philips's clever dual-sided remote with all the necessary buttons on one side and a QWERTY keyboard on the other. The zapper has a microphone built-in for voice and interacting with the built-in Google Assistant or a connected Amazon Alexa device. Sadly, the simplified but snazzy second wand that was also included last year is missing.
Philips 65OLED984
The 984 boasts an impressive array of features, all of which are state of the art. The picture is based around an LG-sourced OLED panel that can support 4K/60p, along with high dynamic range and wide colour gamut (Rec.2020). Philips has wisely chosen to support all the HDR formats, including Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG), HDR10+ and Dolby Vision.

The 984 includes the 3rd generation P5 processor which now uses a dual-chip arrangement designed to add extra computational power to key intensive parts of the processing chain. The result is a doubling of the processing power that leads to a 30% increase in picture quality. The 3rd generation of P5 extends picture performance by improving noise reduction, sharpness, colour accuracy and contrast.

Since this is a Philips TV it naturally includes Ambilight, a feature unique to the company that has proved very popular. In the case of the 984 you get the full monty, with 4-sided Ambilight that ensures you get the best possible experience. In addition to enhancing your viewing experience, the use of 4-sided Ambilight can look particularly effective when wall mounting the TV.

The 984 has quad-core processing and uses the latest version of the Android OS (v9 or P for Pie) which not only promises a more intuitive and cleaner user interface, but also has Google Assistant built in. For those that prefer Amazon's AI, it will work with Alexa devices as well. The Android OS was buggy at launch, but I find the Philips's implementation to be considerably more robust than Sony's efforts.

The inclusion of Android means you also get Chromecast and Google Play Store, along with most of the video streaming services including Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube and Rakuten TV.
The connections are comprehensive and the features state-of-the-art

Sound

Philips 65OLED984
The Philips 984's big selling point is its custom designed and built sound system, courtesy of Bowers & Wilkins. Last year's flagship OLED boasted a B&W sound solution, but the company was hampered by having to fit the drivers into an already established space. This time the engineers at B&W could start from scratch, and have clearly taken a no-compromise approach.

The new sound system is based around a large separate speaker cabinet that uses a three-channel layout. This is a speaker rather than a soundbar because the 60W of amplification (20W per a channel) is built into the TV itself. There's no subwoofer, but you have the option of adding a wired sub if you feel the need for one. The three-channel design includes B&W's tweeter-on-top, which avoids cabinet diffraction.

There are three tweeters in total: two inside and one on top. Each tweeter is composed of a 19mm titanium dome and neodymium magnets. The tweeter-on-top has a protective grille first introduced in 2015 for the 800 Series Diamond. The HF assembly is mechanically decoupled from its housing, and the crossover has been optimised using a high-quality 600 Series-level capacitor.
Philips 65OLED984
Within the speaker there are three separated enclosures: each one is composed of thick-wall-section glass-fibre reinforced ABS and has internal bracing. The left and right enclosures have baffle-mounted tweeters at each end of the assembly to minimise cabinet diffraction. The centre enclosure has no internal tweeter, which is instead mounted on the main upright of the TV in its tweeter-on-top housing.

The mid/bass enclosure is decoupled from the body of the TV and isolated from its neighbouring enclosure using low-shore-hardness compliant mounts. Each is ported using B&W Flowport technology to control unwanted port noise. The 100mm (4-inch) mid/bass drive units in each enclosure are derived from the B&W M1 loudspeaker, with anti-resonance plugs fitted to ensure a cleaner output.

The result of all this is the best-sounding TV I have ever heard. The three drivers worked in perfect harmony, creating a front soundstage that had scale and deep bass extension. You can add a sub if you the need, but the 984 already has plenty of low-end presence. The overall sound delivered detail, realism, and some lovely textures. Dialogue is crystal clear, and the effects placed across the front with precision.

In addition to the inherent sound quality of the sound system itself, there are a number of additional useful features. For a start, you can set the EQ depending on whether the TV is stand or wall mounted. You can also turn off the screen if you're simply listening to music and don't need it on. Finally, the 984 supports Dolby Atmos, using psychoacoustic processing to create a more immersive sonic experience.
The B&W-designed speaker delivers incredible sound and a remarkable amount of bass

Picture

Philips 65OLED984
The Philips 984 delivered an impressive image, although a show floor is never an ideal location to judge picture quality. The carefully chosen demo footage certainly emphasised the prime attributes of OLED, with gorgeous colours, deep blacks, and fantastic contrast. In closed-door demos, I had the chance to see the benefits of 3rd gen P5 processing, which delivered superior noise reduction, upscaling, and motion handling. It also brought out more detail in both SDR and, thanks to superior tone mapping, HDR as well.
Philips 65OLED984
When it comes to high dynamic range, Philips has sensibly taken an agnostic approach to format support. This means the 984 can handle HDR10 (just like any other HDR TV), but also Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG), HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. The inclusion of the latter two means owners can enjoy the benefits of both dynamic metadata formats. This approach will make the 984 and Philips's other OLED TVs more attractive to consumers who want their new TV to cover every base.
The combination of P5 processing and full HDR support is very tempting
The Philips OLED+ 984 is a superb flagship 4K HDR TV, and an exciting addition to the company's line-up. It looks gorgeous, with some lovely European styling, and the build quality is exceptional. The picture quality is state-of-the-art thanks to the inclusion of the 3rd gen P5 processor, and the TV supports every version of high dynamic range, as well as Dolby Atmos.

If that wasn't enough, there's the latest version of the Android OS with built-in Google Assistant, although the 984 also works with Amazon Alexa. You also get 4-sided Ambilght, and Philips's handy dual-sided remote control. However, the cherry on the cake is the amazing B&W speaker system that will completely change your perception of how a TV should sound.

In fact, the only downside to the 65OLED984 is its price of £4,500, which will doubtless be too high for many. At that price, the 984 is in direct competition with the Panasonic GZ2000, with its custom panel and upward-firing Atmos drivers. However, if you have the budget, you won't find a better-looking and better-sounding OLED TV on the market.

MORE: 4K OLED TV Reviews

Our Review Ethos

Read about our review ethos and the meaning of our review badges.

To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.

Related Content

Philips OLED+ 934 4K TV Hands On
  • By Steve Withers
  • Published
Sony AG9/A9G (KD-55AG9) OLED TV Review
  • By Phil Hinton
  • Published
Panasonic GZ1500 (TX-55GZ1500B) 4K OLED TV Review
  • By Phil Hinton
  • Published
Sony AG8 (KD-55AG8) 4K OLED Review
  • By Phil Hinton
  • Published
Sony AG9 (KD-65AG9) 4K OLED Preview
  • By Phil Hinton
  • Published

Latest Headlines

CTA launches 8K UHD TV display certification programme
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Huawei launches 4K Vision TV
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Vizio SmartCast TVs add new Alexa capabilities
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Sony Crystal LED now available for home installation
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
LG's 2019 OLEDs to support Nvidia G-Sync
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Top Bottom