Philips 936 (65OLED+936) OLED TV Review

At the sound of Ambilight

by Phil Hinton
SRP: £2,499.00
9
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

Philips 936 (65OLED+936) OLED TV Review

The OLED+936 is positioned as a luxury high-end OLED TV with the added sound quality of a Bowers & Wilkins speaker bar and a design that includes decent materials and excellent build quality. It offers picture quality to rival the big names on the market and marries this with a functional OS and Smart TV system and the major USP of Ambilight. It has the new Emission Layer panel boasting a 20% brightness increase, all the major HDR formats and support for both DTS and Dolby Atmos audio via the 3.1.2 Bowers & Wilkins speaker bar. Plus, it offers calibrated image quality that matches the competition and adds in HDMI 2.1 with VRR, AMD FreeSync Premium and ALLM for gaming. Overall, it comes highly recommended and should be on your demo lists.

The Good

  • Filmmaker Mode out of the box is accurate
  • Calibrated image quality is superb in SDR and HDR
  • High brightness panel gives 165 nits full white field
  • P5 AI+ Processor is very powerful
  • Excellent motion performance
  • Bowers & Wilkins speaker bar is very good
  • Four-sided Ambilight is superb as a bias light
  • BFI is good with SDR content
  • Impressive design and build quality
  • Looks and feels like a luxury item

The Not So Good

  • Only two HDMI 2.1 ports
  • Limited resolution with 4K/120 material
  • Android Smart TV feels dated on such a high-end set
  • Some mild floating blacks and flashing in bit starved content

What Is the Philips OLED+936?

The Philips OLED+ lineup of TVs offers the company's top models, promising the very best in image quality with top quality materials within the design along with the best image features thanks to the P5 AI+ image processor and sound quality courtesy of the Bowers & Wilkins speaker system.

The Philips OLED+936 is a luxury premium OLED TV and the included Bowers and Wilkins speaker unit doubles as the tabletop stand for the panel. There is a separate metal bracket supplied in the box for those who want to wall mount the screen and retain the soundbar underneath the panel. There are some slight changes to the speaker bar design, with a solid silver face and the Kvadrat material to the top of the bar, along with the tweeter on top. This all gives the OLED+936 a sleek, European design with excellent use of materials giving it that premium feel.

Philips 65OLED+936

The OLED+936 is a replacement for last year’s OLED+935 and this year it features high-performance OLED panels with a new Emission Layer for 20% extra brightness performance in the 55- and 65-inch, as well as HDR10+ adaptive high dynamic range using the light sensor, and Black Frame Insertion (BFI) is added to the motion processing on the P5 AI+ processor. Philips is renowned for its image processing which is the work of their PQ Guru Danny Tack, who takes great pride in developing picture processing to enhance the images on the screen. This approach doesn’t always guarantee image accuracy to the standards but the 936 does feature ISF and Filmmaker Mode picture presets that will fulfil the requirements of the image purists. There is also support for Calman AutoCal being added for 2021, but this wasn’t quite ready for testing while we had the review sample. The rest of the picture preset processing includes added edge enhancement, sharpening, smooth motion, strong colours and contrast boosting, thanks to that P5 AI processor, giving the OLED+936 a number of image styles to suit a wide range of consumers.

... a sleek, European design with excellent use of materials giving it that premium feel

In terms of High Dynamic Range formats, the Philips OLED+936 supports Dolby Vision, Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG), HDR10, HDR10+ and HDR10+ Adaptive and it also supports DTS and Dolby Atmos audio codecs and formats.

Gaming is also now a big item for Philips after many years of ignoring gamers with the introduction of two full-bandwidth HDMI 2.1 ports among the four available and these support VRR, AMD FreeSync Premium and ALLM for gaming. Input lag also comes in at 16.6ms and this is an improvement over previous Philips OLED+ models of the past.

Philips 65OLED+936

The OS and Smart TV system on the Philips OLED+936 is Android TV 10 and it suits the TV perfectly well. It runs without crashing or hanging between apps and there is a good mix of available services and catch-up applications. The menu system remains intense and comprehensive which will suit the tweakers out there but can be a little daunting for some users. However, most things, like Filmmaker Mode, are set once and forget settings with no need to enter the menu system on a regular basis.

... giving the OLED+936 a number of image styles to suit a wide range of consumers

The OLED+936 is available in a 48-inch screen size, but be aware that this uses a normal OLED panel and not the high-performance OLED panel with the new Emission Layer with the 20% brightness increase (you’d be forgiven for assuming you have heard about this EVOlution of OLED panel before, wink, wink). It is also available in 55- and 65-inch screen sizes with that high-performance panel. Pricing at the time of the review in November 2021 is £1499 for the 48-inch, £1799 for the 55-inch and £2299 for the 65-inch we are reviewing here, which we think is exceptionally good value for what is on offer, so can it live up to the promise? Let’s find out...

Video Review

Design, Connections and Control

The Philips OLED+936 is an elegant looking TV with a stunning design in the opinion of this reviewer. The panel is minimalist in appearance with just a 1mm metal strip around the outer edge and an almost bezel-less finish to the screen.

Philips 65OLED+936
Front View

The Bowers & Wilkins speaker bar is sleek and has a lean-back style when looking from the side and it has a solid silver finish to the front face. There is a Kvadrat material covering the top of the speaker bar and it also has the traditional Bowers & Wilkins tweeter on top design. The speaker bar also acts as the stand for the TV with a solid metal bar that connects to the rear of the bar and to the bottom of the panel, with a cable that runs within this bar and connects the speaker to the panel.

Philips 65OLED+936
Sideways and downwards facing connections

Around the back are the four strips of Ambilight LEDs which are positioned so light appears on all four sides of the TV to the rear and onto a wall. Also around the back are the connections which are sideways and downwards facing. Sideways we have a CI slot, service port, three USB slots, a headphone jack and two HDMI 2.0b inputs. Downwards facing we have a digital audio output, a subwoofer phono lineout, two HDMI 2.1 (48Gbps) inputs, RF and Satellite antennas and a LAN port.

Philips 65OLED+936
Remote control

The remote control is identical to last year’s model, but this time around it’s silver in colour rather than black. You’ll also recognise it if you read the OLED806 review as it is also the same unit used with that 2021 model. It’s a largely plastic affair and a full-size length with all the keys laid out in a sensible manner and it is intuitive to use. Some users may not like the button feel, but overall it sits neatly in the hand and is easy to use.

Measurements

Out of the Box

As we do with all TV reviews, we factory reset the panel and then measured the picture presets to find which is the most accurate to the industry standards, out of the box. The best preset is Filmmaker Mode (FMM) which switches off all unwanted processing with accurate colour and white balance retained. It is a one-button press solution that has no video processing or motion interpolation applied and it follows the industry standards for SDR and HDR content playback

We use Portrait Displays’ Calman colour calibration software, a Murideo Seven Generator and Klein K-10A meter for measurement and calibration.

Philips 65OLED+936
FMM greyscale

Looking at the greyscale results first we can see a slight deficit in red energy as the grayscale gets brighter and a slight rise in green during the same scale. However, our DeltaE errors for the majority of the greyscale are under the visible threshold of three, with just 100% white going slightly over this, but with no effect on any content we watched. Gamma is also very good with just a slight darkening at 10% brightness which does cause a very slight black crush to cover up some of the artefacts visible in low bitrate content.

Philips 65OLED+936
FMM Rec.709 colour gamut

The Rec.709 colour gamut results are also very good with just a few small errors standing out within the graph above. Red is slightly oversaturated from 50% stimulus and green is slightly off hue around 75%, but our DeltaE errors are an average of 1.2 which is again well below the visible threshold of three, so no errors are actually seen within film and TV content viewed in FMM. So, once again, FMM is very good out of the box and accurate on the Philips.

Calibrated

The Philips OLED+936 has a suite of calibration controls and ISF picture modes so we should be able to get reference results following a simple calibration. There will be access to Calman AutoCal on the OLED+936 but this was not working at the time we carried out our review in November 2021, but it will be coming soon.

Philips 65OLED+936
Calibrated greyscale

Our calibrated greyscale is now reference level with an average DeltaE error of 0.5 which is well below the visible threshold of three, meaning there are no errors visible in any TV and film content watched on the OLED+936. Gamma is also tracking well with some slight errors seen in the graph which are not seen in any viewed content.

Philips 65OLED+936
Calibrated Rec.709 colour gamut

Moving to the Rec.709 colour gamut results, we can see that with the correct white point and with minimal inputs into the Colour Management System (CMS) we have a very good result with DeltaE errors averaging 0.7 with no visible errors at all. Overall, it’s a reference result following calibration.

HDR Results

We measured the OLED+936 in the Filmmaker Mode HDR settings which are the closest to ST.2084 PQ EOTF, D65 white point and BT.2020 colour gamut for HDR10 playback. Given that this panel has the new Emission Layer for 20% extra brightness (just like the LG Evo panel, but this one is definitely not called an Evo panel) we expect an improvement in not only a 10% window but with a full field 100% pattern. So let’s see how it measures in the accurate HDR picture mode.

Philips 65OLED+936

As always, we measured using various window sizes and also tested with 1000 and 4000 nit metadata generated by our Murideo Seven G. With 2% we measured 670 nits, at 5% is was 650 nits and at the industry-standard 10% window we measured 627 nits and with a full white pattern, we measured 165 nits, which is where we thought we would see the biggest difference compared to non-Emission Layer, not Evo in name, panels.

Philips 65OLED+936
1000 nit HDR Perfect Minimum

The peak was a little down on where we thought it might be but given we are in FMM and the most accurate settings for D65 white, this is with correct PQ EOTF tracking.

Philips 65OLED+936
4000 nit HDR Perfect Minimum

There is also slightly different tone-mapping added for 1000 and 4000 nit content with metadata, with a slight roll-off with 4000 nit content in the HDR Perfect Minimum setting.

Philips 65OLED+936
1000 nit HDR Perfect Medium
Philips 65OLED+936
4000 nit HDR Perfect Medium

With the HDR Perfect Medium setting, there is a consistent gentle roll-off and this setting is for use with content that doesn’t feature any mastering display metadata so the TV tone maps this correctly.

Philips 65OLED+936
DCI-P3 within BT.2020

The Wide Colour Gamut results for DCI-P3 within BT.2020 are also excellent with good saturation tracking for all primary and secondary points at various saturation levels. It doesn’t quite hit the full 100% gamut size but, with excellent tracking of saturation, we do get very good onscreen results and accurate colours.

Philips 65OLED+936
BT.2020 coverage

We measured BT.2020 at 70% XY and 72% UV with P3 coming in at 97% XY and 98% UV.

Philips 65OLED+936
P3 coverage

Performance

As the Philips OLED+936 appears to use exactly the same panel as the LG G1, Panasonic JZ1500/2000 and Sony A90J, we are expecting it to closely compete in terms of picture quality. We also have the P5 AI+ processing and Philips picture know-how which should give the OLED+936 a competitive edge as well as the USP Ambilight features.

Panel uniformity was very good indeed with no obvious colour shifting when sat directly on to the screen as well as nothing that is obvious when getting more off-axis to the screen. There is also no sign of dirty screen effect or obvious banding in the brighter full-field slides we used for testing. The 5% black slide also looked very clean with very faint bands visible in the test pattern here, but this was not visible when viewed with normal dark scene material, even in dim room viewing. We didn’t encounter any vignetting to the edges of the screen and, overall, the uniformity was excellent.

... the extra full-screen peak brightness adds an excellent overall uptick in HDR dynamic range

Video processing is a strong point with the Philips OLED+936 and the P5 AI+ processor. Upscaling of lower resolution content to the native 3840 x 2160 panel was excellent with nice image sharpness without any obvious edge enhancements being noticeable in Filmmaker Mode. Move to other viewing modes and the P5 will be adding more sharpening and edge enhancement tools to the image, which can start to look processed and display ringing to edges.

Black levels are also impressive on the OLED+936 with just a few instances of black crush on some content. After calibration, the image quality and shadow detail retrieval is superb and easily competes with the LG G1 and Sony A90J in terms of deep blacks, excellent just above black details and image depth. Only Panasonic manages to do a better job here once calibrated.

Motion is an area where Philips also excel in 2021, especially with 50Hz broadcast material which looks superb with no frame skipping, even with tricky edits or fast-moving scenes. 24fps material is also excellent with no induced judder visible when the Pure Cinema setting is applied. We also didn’t see any issues with 23.976fps skipping either, although the OLED+936 did get a firmware update the day we set it up, so it may be that the early reports of issues have now been addressed, we certainly didn’t see any issues with motion for 50Hz or 24fps material. Of course, you can also add in Black Frame Insertion (BFI) via the Fast Motion Clarity banner within the motion menus. This works incredibly well and ups perceived resolution at the expense of some image brightness. We would recommend the minimum setting if you decide to use BFI and don’t use it with HDR content as it will kill the peak brightness results by 100-150 nits.

... for the purist, there is the off switch

If you want to add in frame interpolation and smoothing then the P5 AI+ processing is good enough to add various strengths of processing to make images look smooth, but the higher you go in strength the more artefacts you will start to see with fast-moving objects starting to break up at the edges. If you must add this to your viewing then we suggest using the lower Movie setting which adds some deblur to get around the sample and hold effect of OLED without adding obvious Soap Opera Effect (SOE). As with the recently tested OLED806, there are also AI settings if you want to hand complete control over to the TV to identify and process images, colours, edges and motion, and for the purist, there is the off switch.

SDR and HDR images look superb on the OLED+936 and when you reach this level of the OLED market the differences between screens become very small indeed. The Philips manages to look incredibly cinematic once calibrated to the standards and even out of the box in Filmmaker Mode it competes on a level playing field with the LG G1 and Sony A90J. SDR looks bright and colourful with superb natural-looking colours and excellent life-like skin tones that add a sense of realism to the image. Blacks are deep with superb shadow detailing and just above black detail, but there are still a few small niggles with some black crush seen along with floating and flashing blacks with low bitrate content. However, with high-quality sources, we didn’t find any issues apparent.

The Philips manages to look incredibly cinematic

HDR10 and Dolby Vision content also looks superb with the extra full-screen peak brightness adding an excellent overall uptick in HDR dynamic range for that little bit extra over other non-Evo equipped OLEDs for 2021. We get more details in the peak highlights visible as well as a sustained brighter mid-range and larger areas of the HDR image carrying more brightness without the tone mapping lowering the overall image brightness to match highlights, as some TV tone mapping will do. It competes well with the LG G1 and Sony A90J in this regard with excellent wide colour gamut performance and very good motion. It’s very difficult with the vast majority of testing to separate the top panels in this market sector when it comes to HDR performance and that extra 20% of brightness, especially with full-frame brightness over just limited peak brightness. There’s no doubt the OLED+936 offers excellent image performance in both SDR and HDR.

Gaming

At last, Philips has taken gaming seriously with the 2021 OLED line-up and just like the recently tested OLED806, the OLED+936 adds in two full-bandwidth 48Gbps HDMI 2.1 inputs with support for VRR (Variable Refresh Rate), AMD FreeSync Premium and ALLM (Automatic Low Latency Mode), as well as an input lag of 16.6ms at 4K/60P. There is also support for full chroma on both inputs, although 4K/120fps playback is still restricted by limited resolution, and Philips have confirmed that this cannot be updated by firmware, it is a hardware limitation.

Philips 65OLED+936
16.6ms gaming input lag

Sound Quality

Normally in an OLED TV review, we will mention that the sound quality is serviceable as a normal TV via some small downwards firing units, but could be bettered by adding an external sound system. In the case of the Philips OLED+936, it comes with a highly developed Bowers & Wilkins speaker bar, with plenty of new features to help improve the sound against last year’s model.

The 3.1.2 system has had new drivers, mountings and assemblies with the Atmos elevation speakers being slightly repositioned and improved. You can read all about the changes made via a post from Philips on the forums where you can get all the details on materials, mountings etc. from Andy Kerr of Bowers & Wilkins.

Philips 65OLED+936

The sound quality from the speaker bar is very good and does require some running in like any high-quality speaker unit from new. It certainly has a signature Bowers & Wilkins quality to the sound with a nice high-frequency response and good intelligibility to vocals and strings. It never sounded harsh, but at the same time, you need to be sensible with volume levels as it will not be driven the same as a dedicated unit with high-quality amplification. What’s here works well with the OLED+936 and everyday TV, plus, movies do take on a decent quality with a nice wide soundstage, but not quite the enveloping presence that a full Atmos system would give you, but you can’t expect miracles from what is essentially a soundbar.

It certainly has a signature Bowers & Wilkins quality to the sound with a nice high-frequency response

For a TV system, it is a definite step up on the usual speaker setup and, in comparison to the Panasonic JZ2000, I personally preferred the sound quality and signature of the Bowers and Wilkins speaker bar on the OLED+936. I would recommend a demo if you can get one to see which suits you if the speaker system performance is important to you. A nice touch that is included with the OLED+936 is a subwoofer pre-out as part of the connections, so you can reinforce the bass performance by adding a powered subwoofer.

Smart TV and OS

The OS and Smart TV system on the OLED+936 is Android TV 10. The Smart TV system has preinstalled apps that include Google Play Movies, Google Play Music, Google Search, YouTube, Amazon instant video, BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and Spotify to name a few. We didn’t have any issues with speed or the system crashing at any point, plus, audio & video performance was good from the apps we tested.

Philips 65OLED+936
Smart TV system

The menu system continues to grow and if you are a newbie to the world of TV they may appear daunting, but most are set once and forget. If you like to tweak then you’ll be in paradise here with all sorts of processing and features you can experiment with. Or you can just set everything to Filmmaker Mode and enjoy the accurate image quality as intended to be seen.

Conclusion

Philips 936 (65OLED+936) OLED TV Review

The Philips OLED+936 is a nice incremental improvement on last year’s OLED+935 model, with some added features and subtle tweaks to the sound and image performance. Philips are certainly on a roll at the moment and are producing some very nice TVs that are certainly capable of competing with the very best on the market.

One of the major highlights is the high-performance OLED panel with a new Emission Layer and a 20% brightness increase. This is the same panel that you’ll find in the LG G1 and Sony A90J and a variant of that is also found in the Panasonic JZ1500/2000. Philips doesn’t want us to use the Evo name, so we won’t. We found that in the best Filmmaker Mode that the 10% window figures were not as high as the Sony, LG or Panasonic, but it was more than capable of full-field brightness, something the others are not so great at doing. HDR performance was very good indeed with superb wide colour gamut accuracy and peak highlights that retained plenty of detail.

Blacks within the image were also excellent once calibrated and with high-quality content we didn’t have any issues with just above black or shadow details, instead, we obtained superb high dynamic range images with plenty of depth and detail. Calibrated images look incredibly cinematic with SDR and HDR content. You may run into some floating blacks and flashing when watching low bitrate content, but nothing that is overly distracting or a deal-breaker as with decent quality sources, the image quality is superb.

... capable of competing with the very best on the market

Sound quality via the speaker bar is also very good for a luxury TV like the OLED+936 with a signature Bowers & Wilkins sound that brings normal TV to life and also breaths some life into film content. You can also add a powered subwoofer using the pre-out connection to fill out the bottom end and add even more oomph. We certainly preferred the sound quality on offer here compared to the Panasonic JZ2000 and it would cost a tidy sum to add a soundbar that performs better than the speaker bar here. That said, if you already own a decent quality mid-range soundbar or full-on home cinema system, the Bowers & Wilkins speaker bar would be redundant for you.

Ambilight is the one feature that Philips offers that the others can’t and it actually has some worthwhile advantages to those who prize good image quality and eye care. Using it as a static bias light with a D65 white will help combat eye fatigue and improve your viewing experience. It will also perform party tricks such as the lights following the action on the screen, and while this is no doubt cool for 5 minutes or so, it can get tiring very quickly. So mess around with the flashy flashy for 5 minutes and once that’s out of your system, set it up as a bias light and do your eyes a favour.

If you’re in the market for a new OLED TV and you want a good mixture of accurate image quality, good gaming features and two HDMI 2.1 inputs, support for all the HDR formats currently used as well as unique features like Ambilight, you really should consider the OLED+936 and add it to your demo list as it comes Highly Recommended.

Highly Recommended

Scores

Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level

10

Screen Uniformity

.
9

Colour Accuracy

.
9

Greyscale Accuracy

.
9

Video Processing

.
9

Picture Quality

.
9

SDR Picture Quality

.
9

HDR Picture Quality

.
9

Picture Quality Out-of-the-Box

.
.
8

Picture Quality Calibrated

.
9

Sound Quality

.
9

Smart Features

.
.
.
7

Build Quality

.
9

Ease of Use

.
9

Value for Money

.
9

Verdict

.
9

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The games console used in this review was kindly supplied by our gaming partner Smyths Toys Gaming, the No.1 choice for next-gen Gaming


9
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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