Philips have combined forces with legendary audio specialists, Bowers & Wilkins, to create a TV where stunning picture meets superior sound quality
Television is alive and well in 2018 as it has evolved into the central hub in our increasingly connected homes. Smartphones and other devices have offered up different ways to consume content, but they certainly haven’t replaced the immersive experience you get from watching a proper big screen television.
BOWERS & WILKINS WERE ABLE TO PAIR THE EXPERTISEINTHE AUDIO SPACE WITH PHILIPS’ LEADING ENGINEERING IN TV TECHNOLOGY TODESIGNAND ENGINEER A PREMIER PRODUCT WITH GREAT PICTURE AND SOUND.
Philips claim to have had one single objective over the past 12 months, and that has been to build televisions that they themselves would like to own and have at home. In 2017, Philips were at IFA to raise awareness about their unique, leading edge TV products that they believed they were heading in the right direction. Since then, Philips OLED TV’s have won 62 awards in Europe alone, including for best picture quality, best design and best buy.
The company has lately been focused on addressing a bugbear in the industry: namely imbuing flatscreen TVs with powerful sound. Manufacturers have obsessed over picture quality and screen thinness as technology has advanced, but often by sacrificing sound quality.
To address this deficiency, Philips has teamed up audio specialists, Bowers and Wilkins, a British company devoted to improving sound since they began producing speakers back in 1966. Their speakers are used in many of the world’s best recording studios, including the legendary Abbey Road studio in London. They have also designed in-car speakers for BMW, Jaguar, and Maserati, making them experts at delivering audio in challenging environments.
We had the chance to talk with Richard Campbell, CRO Bowers & Wilkins and Martijn Smelt, CMO Philips TV Europe, about this exciting collaboration.
How long were the two companies talking for before making this announcement?
Richard Campbell: This product is the first iteration of a true, committed partnership between Bowers & Wilkins and Philips that began well over a year ago.
Can you tell us about the first collaboration between the two companies?
RC: The OLED 903 was a true collaboration between Philips and Bowers & Wilkins to put the emphasis on audio quality back into the audio-visual experience. Bowers & Wilkins were able to pair the expertise in the audio space with Philips’ leading engineering in TV technology to design and engineer a premier product with great picture and sound.
Martijn Smelt: Visitors at this year’s IFA have the chance to get a first glimpse at the OLED 903 sound by Bowers & Wilkins. Needless to say that both companies are extremely proud of how this new Philips OLED TV looks and sounds. And it’s not just us recognizing the looks and performance of this TV. The OLED 903 has already won two International Awards: the 2018-2019 EISA Home Theatre TV award, and a prestigious IF Design Award. Not bad for a TV that is just being launched now. We are con dent the OLED 903 will charm tech media and lovers across Europe in the months to come.
Which sizes is the set available in, and what are the recommended retail prices? Will these products be part of a selected distribution agreement with retailers,to“preserve” the retail price?
MS: The OLED 903 will be available in 2 sizes: 55” (Recommended retail price €2,499) and 65” (recommended retail price €3,499). We are carefully discussing with our joint retail partners where consumers expect to buy these premium products. In today’s world, that will be a fair combination of both on- and offline channels.
Poor sound has been a problem area for all manufacturers of ultra thin TVs. What work have you been doing to improve audio quality across the Philips range?
MS: Since we have made a major step in picture quality with the launch of the P5 picture processing engine in 2017, we believed it was time to address the second biggest consumer driver in deciding for a TV: sound quality. Instead of doing it by ourselves, we decided to team up with the absolute experts in sound design: Bowers & Wilkins.
RC: The goal was to set new expectations of what sound quality can be achieved in a TV. The engineers at Bowers & Wilkins are experts at achieving great sound in many environments: our headphones, wireless speakers, automotive solutions, and now this TV, validates our capabilities to deliver quality audio despite limitations.
You mention in the press statement a “multi-year exclusive partnership.” What does that actually mean?
MS: This is just the beginning of our partnership. Bowers & Wilkins and Philips are exclusively working together on designing and producing exceptional premium TV products for years to come. Both brands are now actively working on new products to be launched in 2019. The enthusiastic reactions we’ve been getting so far about the partnership and the OLED 903 are giving us great con dence for the future. Expect great things from us at IFA next year.
THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING OF OUR PARTNERSHIP. BOWERS & WILKINS AND PHILIPS ARE EXCLUSIVELY WORKING TOGETHER ON DESIGNING AND PRODUCING EXCEPTIONAL PREMIUM TV PRODUCTS FOR YEARS TO COME.
Has Bowers & Wilkins been approached by other brands, both before and since the Philips announcement was made?
RC: Bowers & Wilkins’ audio expertise means that the company is continually approached by potential partner companies from various industries.
What does the future look like for the agreement between the two brands
MS/RC: This is a true partnership, rooted in a shared, clear vision for what we aim to achieve. We will continue working together to develop ground- breaking products that reset performance standards for TV picture and sound quality in the premium sector of the market.
Photo: Martijn Smelt, CMO, Philips TV Europe; Richard Campbell, CRO Bowers & Wilkins, Philips.