When the people at Philips asked if they could drop off a product for review, I absent-mindedly asked them to leave it with our front desk. The plan was to later take it home in the office man-bag and test it at leisure. I did not ask them what the product would be, assuming something of the scale of MP3 devices, DVD players and such like.
Style overload: The Cinema 21:9 features an eerily pretty backlight.
How stupid of me.
The Philips Cinema 21:9 LCD high definition TV, it turns, is actually bigger than our front desk (no, seriously). It arrived in a humongous coffin of a cardboard box and for many hours after delivery, all we could do was look at it amazed. It’s not the 56-inch size of the TV alone that was overwhelming, but its extra-wide dimensions. One of this spectacular TV’s many USPs is its 21:9 aspect ratio. This makes the screen longer than your usual flat-screen TV, enough to make movies play on it in the same aspect ratio that they are shot on camera. No black bars above or below.
But first we had to get it out of the box. Or tear the box down.
The 21:9 is a beautiful, show-stopper of a television set. The screen is brilliant to look at, thanks to the full HD display at 2560x1080 pixel resolution. No need, even if you can clearly afford it, for a comprehensive speaker system. The TV comes with a concealed set of two woofers and two tweeters that performed well.
But it’s more than just a television set. The 21:9 comes ready to hook up to an Internet connection. You can plug in an old-fashioned ethernet cable or go wireless. The TV comes with built-in Wi-Fi, and you can browse the Internet with the built-in Web browser and, yes, you can watch YouTube videos too. An added bonus is the TV remote that doubles as a Universal remote. If you are the sort of person who has plenty of media on their computer, you can also plug in a USB thumb drive in a port on the side. No writing DVDs or CDs.
The 21:9 has a slick, if simplistic, navigation set-up that allows you to switch easily between modes and inputs. Given the many functions available, we were able to swap between them effortlessly without once referring to the manual. One problem with the TV is the 21:9 aspect ratio. Sure, it works great for most movies, but for everything else there is an amount of stretching and clipping involved. Also, the TV’s weight is approximately 32kg. For our review we had to prop it up against a table because the Philips guys didn’t have a stand that could support its weight.
But the biggest issue we have is with the price. The Cinema 21:9 will set you back by Rs4.5 lakh, or approximately the price of 1,300 couple tickets at a respectable multiplex. That’s one movie a day, every day, for around three years. That’s an awful lot of money in these times of austerity. Even if the TV is so big that if it ever fell off the wall or your table, it would probably kill you.