Okay, I’m sold. When Ambilight first appeared in Philips TVs and monitors I was hugely sceptical. No matter how many people told me that once you’ve gone Ambilight you can never go back, I’ve struggled to see the real relevance.
Well, for me, Ambilight has grown up into the stunning AmbiLux feature you’ll see on the 65-inch Philips 65PUS8901 Ultra HD TV. And I can’t wait to get my PS4 plugged into the panel and immerse myself in gaming.
AmbiLux doesn’t just use the changing colours of an LED lighting array - as with Ambilight - but instead uses nine different pico-projectors embedded in the back of the TV’s chassis.
This then allows whatever’s being displayed on the screen to be projected out of the back of the TV itself, creating a halo effect around the outside of the panel against the wall behind it. It almost makes the edges of the screen itself blur into the wall.
The idea is to create an indistinct representation of the screen’s image, rather than a sharply-focused one, as well as one that matches the movement on display too.
And that’s one of the most impressive things about the AmbiLux tech - because there are nine different projectors working together it has to use some stitching software to meld the image together so there’s no overlapping artefacts in the projection. Doing this, on-the-fly, with no lag is seriously impressive.
But while there is some fear that the halo image projecting onto the wall behind your TV might become distracting for watching TV or movies, when you’re playing a game on the Philips 65PUS8901 AmbiLux I can see it becoming incredibly immersive.
When gaming your entire focus is on the screen, and normally right in the centre of the panel. And when used like that the AmbiLux projection will operate in your peripheral vision, bringing you more into the gameworld and making it seem less like you’re looking through a window as the bezel around the edge of the screen will blur into the wall behind.
I’ve checked out the early prototype versions at this year’s IFA show and the TV itself almost seems to disappear.
And because the bright, coloured projection is bouncing off the wall behind the TV it will also end up filling the room with colour. An explosion on-screen will burst into the room and games with distinct colour palettes, like Mirror’s Edge or Geometry Wars, are going to paint your walls.
The Philips 65PUS8901 AmbiLux is arriving later in the year, but don’t expect it to arrive with a budget price-tag - this is going to be one seriously expensive panel. But it could also be one of the greatest gaming TVs ever.