Design as an Essential Element

Rod White – Chief Designer – TP Vision talks about trends and developments for Philips TV

A key USP for Philips TVs has long been their unique design elements. We asked Rod White – Chief Designer – TP Vision what the key trends are this year…

We’ve had an overarching intent with the design of Philips televisions to bring in, where relevant, “visible sound”. We’ve had that for the past few years, and we are continuing to develop it in 2016. It’s not across the entire range, but you’ll see it in some of the core products, and in the high-end – in the OLED, which we have launched at IFA. Specifically on the small screen – the 5200 – you can see this in quite an innovative “stand out” manner. It’s a 24-inch TV, targeting use in the bedroom, bathroom or the kitchen. We have identi ed the fact that in this category, people are seeking better audio quality than what has been available until now, and they don’t have the space to connect a separate sound system in these settings. We have coupled this with the trend towards Bluetooth connectivity, meaning the user not only has a 24-inch TV, but also a high quality Bluetooth sound system, allowing them to play audio from a smartphone, tablet or PC.

At the beginning of the year, you had the hard launch of Ambilux. How is the overall Ambilight offering evolving?

This was by far the biggest step we have made in a number of years with Ambilight. This year, it’s the agship for Philips ambient light. We have Ambilight in different steps – from Ambilux four-sided, three-sided and two-sided. We did a fair amount of research specific to Ambilux, because it was such a big new step in what we were delivering. We targeted that partly towards movie consumption, but also, because of what it was delivering, we also did a lot of research specific to gaming. In the set up of the Ambilux, you can choose different solutions, with different algorithms, to replicate the light from a more neutral or natural representation, or to have more of a “gaming semantic”. That resonated well with the gamers and feedback was very positive.


Tell me more about the OLED offering, because obviously this also offers new design opportunities.

For Europe, we are introducing flat OLED panels to the market just after IFA. From a design perspective, as a brand, we want to communicate the value of “lightness”. This communicates high-end technology, and as such OLED panels in themselves are the ultimate of that statement. Here, as I mentioned, visible sound is important. To have onboard integrated sound on such a skinny panel just doesn’t make sense.

Who is in the design team, and where and how does the designing take place?

The bulk of the design team is here in Amsterdam. It’s a multinational collection of designers and we work on all Philips branded televisions, monitors and displays for Europe. We create an identity, which is revisited annually. Within the team we also look at new materials, we also work with innovation development communities in order to find suppliers to deliver on those new materials. It all starts with trends. We have a trends analyst, who, together with the design team, looks two years ahead, referencing relevant furniture and interior trends as well as societal trends. We distil what those trends will change in terms of lifestyle and how this will influence colours, finishes and material choices, and ultimately consumer electronics. This two-year timeline gives us clear identity elements to bring in to the future ranges. That’s the starting point; then we work with the development and engineering communities to make those ranges happen.