We recently got a close look at the latest 1080p Ambilight LCD TVs from Philips, the ones that cast colorful glows against the back of your wall in a way that is known to soothe and delight Brian Lam. First introduced at CES, they mostly have "2-channel Ambilight" but one, the premium 42-inch model mentioned below, has full "Ambilight Surround."
If tripping the Ambilight fandango isn't your idea of a good time, there are other features that might be more interesting to you. The 120Hz refresh rate found on half of the models is intended to beat the 8ms response time. (This effect is achieved using a multitude of differing techniques, and it might take six months or so for us to be sure who has it figured out.) The Perfect Pixel HD technology for sharpness is also key. Make the jump for my thoughts on a side-by-side comparison with a Samsung, a gallery of my Ambilight shots, plus a cute little newcomer called Modea.
When I went to the Philips suite, the first thing I noticed was a 42-inch 1080p Philips next to a 40-inch 1080p Samsung (the side-by-side shots of the gallery below). And as usual with a bake-off challenge, there were aspects of the Philips that beat the Samsung, but aspects of the Samsung that trumped the Philips. For instance, in the shot of the wave, you can clearly see the added detail that the Perfect Pixel HD technology provides (not to mention the extra diagonal two inches of real estate); however, when you look at the rocky cliff, even scaled down, you can make out more detail in the Samsung.
Of course much of this can be fixed; in fact, last Friday I demonstrated how friendly Philips' picture-tweaking interface is for people who don't know their hue from their saturation. However, I tend to shrink from side-by-side comparisons set up by one manufacturer.