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Philips 984 (65OLED984) 4K TV Review

Is this the best-sounding TV ever?

by Steve Withers - Updated:
SRP: £4,500.00

What is the Philips 984?

The Philips 65OLED984 is a flagship 4K HDR OLED 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 also 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 Philips 65OLED984 is available in a single 65-inch screen size for a recommended price of £4,500 as at the time of writing (October 2019).

The inclusion of a custom-designed 3.1-channel audio system by Bowers & Wilkins suggests this might be the best-sounding TV ever made. Let's find out.

Design

Philips 65OLED984
The Philips 65OLED984 certainly looks like a flagship model, and 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 very solid 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. All this build quality means the 984 isn't small or light, and with the stand attached it measures 1449 x 1057 x 142mm (WxHxD) and weighs in at a back-breaking 47.3kg.
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

The Philips 65OLED984 boasts a full complement of connections that includes four HDMI 2.0b inputs, all of which support 4K/60p, 4:4:4, HDR, auto low latency mode and ARC (audio return channel). There are USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, along with a dual tuner satellite and terrestrial tuners. Philips has also included a headphone socket, an optical digital output, composite and analogue stereo inputs, a CI (Common Interface) slot, an Ethernet port and a subwoofer output. In terms of wireless connections, the 984 sports 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth v4.2.
Philips 65OLED984
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. There's a power button at the top, and a direct button for the Ambilight menu beneath. There's also a quick menu button, source selection and navigation/OK controls, along with a home key for accessing the Android OS, playback controls and direct access keys for Netflix, Rakuten TV and Philips's own smart services. Finally there volume are programme controls and the electronic programme guide.

There's a full set of connections and Philips's clever dual-sided remote control

Features & Specs

Philips 65OLED984
The Philips 65OLED984 boasts an impressive array of features, all of which are state of the art. The picture is based around an LG-sourced OLED 10-bit 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.
Philips 65OLED984
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 Philips's implementation of Androids is robust and responsive, making using the system a pleasure to navigate and use.

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, BBC iPlayer and Rakuten TV. 

The Android platform is responsive and the features state-of-the-art

Sound Quality

Philips 65OLED984
The Philips 65OLED984'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.

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.
Philips 65OLED984
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 we 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.

Whatever we watched on the 984, the sound quality was superb. The dialogue on the news was crystal clear, while the commentary on the England Euro qualifiers and Rugby World Cup games remained focused within the enveloping sound of the crowd. James Blunt on the Graham Norton Show sounded excellent, with great stereo separation, and The Beatles songs performed in Danny Boyle's Yesterday were equally as impressive, as was the sense of being at Wembley Stadium during the film's finale.

The sound menu offers a choice of seven settings: AI mode; Original;Movie; Music; Game; News; and Personal mode. The AI mode uses machine learning processing to analyse the audio and enhance it accordingly. The other modes are self-explanatory, although the Movie mode is the one that applies Dolby Atmos psychoacoustic processing to create a more immersive experience.

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. For once the latter feature might actually get used, because the audio on this TV is actually good enough for critical music listening.

The B&W-designed speaker delivers incredible sound and a remarkable amount of bass

Out of the Box Measurements

The Philips 65OLED984 has the same basic menu layout used in previous years, but there have been a few tweaks. You can access the quick menu using the dedicated button on the remote, and from here you can select Frequent Settings – which allows you to change picture, sound or Ambilight styles. However you’ll need to select the Advanced Settings option at the bottom to access all the calibration controls.

Philips provide a number of different picture modes, but ISF Day and Night offer the most accurate starting point. There’s nothing that really needs changing in the ISF modes, which is good, but Philips due use slightly different names for certain controls. Specifically Contrast is actually the OLED luminance control, and Video Contrast is what most manufacturers call contrast.
Philips 65OLED984
As you can see in the graph above, the ISF Night setting delivered a reasonable out-of-the-box performance, although there was an excess of red and green and a deficit of blue in the brighter part of the grayscale. This resulted in errors above the visible threshold of three, and whites did have an obvious yellow tinge. However the gamma tracked our target of 2.4 fairly closely.
Philips 65OLED984
The out-of-the-box colour performance shown above was good, but as you can see the colour of white is skewed towards yellow, rather than its target of D65 (the square in the middle of the triangle). However the colours themselves track the Rec. 709 colour space (the triangle itself) fairly well, although there are some errors in terms of hue, and the saturation of red and yellow.

However the luminance measurements (not shown on this graph) are excellent, and the calibration controls should allow us to fix any greyscale and colour gamut errors.

The out-of-the-box accuracy could have been better, with visible errors in the greyscale

Calibrated Measurements

The Philips 65OLED984 includes a full set of calibration controls, and this year Philips has added a 20-point white balance control to go along with the two-point control and full colour management system (CMS) from previous years.
Philips 65OLED984
We used the two-point whitepoint alignment control to address the excess red and green and increase the blue, which quickly got all the errors below a DeltaE of two. We then used the 20-point to fine tune the performance, which resulted in errors that were all below 0.5. The gamma was still tracking our 2.4 target, and as you can see in the graph above the overall performance delivers reference accuracy.
Philips 65OLED984
As shown in the graph above, once we had calibrated the greyscale, the colour gamut fell almost precisely into line with its saturation targets. We now have hue, saturation and luminance controls in the CMS, which allowed us to fine tune the colour gamut. The luminance remained excellent, and using the CMS we tweaked the hue and saturation settings to produce a near-perfect set of gamut measurements (aside from a slight over-saturation of red and green at 100%).
The improved calibration controls are capable of delivering a reference level of accuracy

HDR Measurements

The Philips 65OLED984 did an excellent job in terms of tracking the PQ EOTF used for HDR and the measurements shown below are for an out-of-the-box performance using the HDR Movie mode and based upon a simple setup. As you can see the panel is tracking the EOTF very closely and rolling off at around 70IRE. The greyscale is tracking extremely well, with the only errors being related to where the curve rolls off.
Philips 65OLED984
We measured the peak brightness at 815nits on a 10% window in the accurate HDR Movie mode, which is impressive for an OLED. The 984 was able to deliver 99% of DCI-P3 using uv coordinates, which equates to just over 70% of Rec.2020.
Philips 65OLED984
The second graph above shows how the 984 actually tracks the DCI-P3 saturation points within the Rec.2020 container and in this test the Philips does a pretty good job, with the primary and secondary colours tracking their targets very closely. The only colours where there was an issue were green, which struggled to hit higher saturation points, and some minor hue errors in magenta. However overall this was a good HDR performance in terms of measurements for the greyscale, PQ EOTF and wide colour gamut.
The HDR measurements are excellent, with a peak brightness of over 800nits

Picture Quality

Philips 65OLED984
The Philips 65OLED984 delivers excellent panel uniformity, with no apparent discolouration or dirty screen effect. There is also no obvious banding, and the panel even handles a 5% screen extremely well. What minimal banding there is certainly isn’t visible with normal content. Since this is an OLED TV the viewing angles are very wide, and there’s no drop off in contrast or colour when viewed at extreme angles.

Naturally the black levels are superb, with a 0% screen measuring at 0.000nits in both SDR and HDR. This is a very bright TV for an OLED as well, resulting in impressive contrast ratios with SDR and HDR, along with fantastic specular highlights in HDR. The shadow detail is also excellent, and there are no obvious signs of crush in the darker parts of the image. Like all Philips TVs the video levels are hard clipped at 235, and while it doesn’t affect the performance it is worth mentioning.

Philips excels at video processing, and the new 3rd generation P5 processor is particularly impressive. Of course there are those that prefer their images ‘au naturale’ and without any processing, but if it’s your bag then the 984 will delight you. The upscaling is exceptional, and the noise reduction is state-of-the-art. There are also features for boosting contrast, and squeezing every last detail from lower resolution content.

Motion handling is another Philips strong point, and the 984 is no exception. The overall motion handling is excellent, even without Perfect Natural or Perfect Clear Motion engaged. We were delighted to see that the ISF modes default to the Movie setting which just increases the frame rate but doesn’t apply any frame interpolation smoothing. However if you want to use the motion enhancement features, they are best-in-class and proved highly effective when watching football and rugby games.

The 984 has an input lag of 33ms in game mode which is good but not quite as impressive as some of the competition who have for their lag times down to 17ms. However you won’t be able to distinguish a 16ms difference, and gaming on the Philips is very responsive. The images look detailed, the HDR is excellent, and the superior motion handing results in a seamless gaming experience. The inclusion of ALLM is also a nice touch.
Philips 65OLED984
The SDR performance was superb, and whatever we watched the 984 continually impressed. The combination of superior processing and image accuracy (after calibration) resulted in a lovely picture regardless of the source. Watching both the England Euro games and the Rugby World Cup in high definition delivered detailed images and natural colours. The motion was exceptional and the overall experience was genuinely impressive.

The black levels and shadow detail were also superb, and watching The Expanse in 4K SDR revealed a wonderfully precise image, where the depths of space were inky black but the stars also perfectly defined. The detail on the spaceships was beautifully rendered, and the sunlight reflecting off white surfaces was free of any clipping. Whether we were watching the news, talk shows, documentaries, TV drams or movies, the 984 never failed to deliver the goods.

If the SDR performance was good, the HDR picture quality was even better. First of all Philips is one of only two manufacturers (along with Panasonic) to support both the HDR10+ and Dolby Vision versions of HDR with dynamic metadata. Using our Panasonic DP-UB820 4K Blu-ray player we were able to watch the demo footage on the Spears & Munsil Ultra HD Blu-ray in HDR10, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. The latter had the edge in terms of overall image quality, but it’s a testament to the 984’s picture performance that HDR10 with static metadata looked almost as good.

The majority of discs that have dynamic metadata use Dolby Vision, but the number of HDR10+ discs is increasing. There are even some discs such as Alita: Battle Angel, Robin Hood and The Shining that have both, and in this situation the player defaults to HDR10+. We’d suggest switching to the Dolby Vision option because it uses 12-bit encoding, but whichever version you choose the results look amazing. The film Overlord is particularly hard for tone mapping, but the 984 did an excellent jog, ensuring the numerous nighttime scenes were perfectly visible.

The performance with streaming HDR was equally as impressive, and watching El Camino in Dolby Vision on Netflix was a real treat. The blacks were incredibly deep, but the shadows were also expertly defined. The bright snow scenes looked superb, and the use of specular highlights were particularly effective. The colours were richly saturated but remained natural and nuanced, while the level of detail in the native 4K image was often astonishing.

The combination of P5 processing and full HDR support is very tempting

Verdict

9
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

Pros

  • Excellent picture performance
  • Impressive HDR
  • Dolby Vision and HDR10+ support
  • State-of-the-art image processing
  • Superb sound quality
  • Dolby Atmos processing
  • Great features including Ambilight
  • Gorgeous design
  • High-end build quality

Cons

  • Could be more accurate out of the box
  • Pricey

Philips 984 (65OLED984) 4K TV Review

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.

There's little to complain about, although the out-of-the-box accuracy could be better. However there are calibration controls, and while these are a little buggy they're also capable of producing accurate SDR and HDR images. The only real 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 TX-65GZ2000, 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 4K OLED TV on the market, and the Philips 65OLED984 comes highly recommended.

MORE: 4K OLED TV Reviews

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

10

Smart Features

.
9

Build Quality

10

Ease of Use

.
9

Value for Money

.
.
8

Verdict

.
9
9
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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