Philips designer Rod White explains how his company is “reimagining” TVs

Ambilight is unique to Philips, adding another dimension… just one of the brand’s key selling points today. Rod White, Head of Design for the TPV group, shares with us his first memories of what sets Philips TV design apart.

I first encountered Philips TV in 1994 at a design exhibition called “TV at the Crossroads” in Tokyo, where I was working at the time. Philips Design had reimagined how TV’s could use unique materials and forms to better t the needs of users. This ranged from almost handcraft to high tech translucent mouldings and the rst hint of ambient lighting. It was an inspiration and what led to me applying to join Philips Design.

What do you see as being the key trends in global TV design today, and how does Philips fit into this?

The key trends currently are around scale, sound and smart home.

Scale is being pushed by larger OLED panels, to allow amazing quality while taking up less space on the wall. We are very much about nding solutions to bring larger screen sizes in meaningful product solutions.

Due to the challenge of available space in OLED for sound, we have been exploring visible and separate sound volumes with Bowers & Wilkins, the best Audio brand in the world. This year at IFA we are revealing our new extended OLED range with the 934 and oor standing agship 984.

Smart home isn’t new. We have had a voice recognition button on our remote controls for a few years now and this will continue as it brings our consumers the reassurance they want from smart devices to know when they are active and when not.


What design elements would you say you are most proud of in all the designs you’ve done over the years?

The idea of adding a rear light onto a TV to add ambient light appeared from that concept touring show I saw in Tokyo. A few years after joining Philips Design I worked on a project called New Vision. The nal design had two small translucent feet which had lighting inside as both ambient lighting and a wake- up function linked to the Junghans analogue clock.

How does OLED technology facilitate design?

From a pure design standpoint, the bene t is in dimensions. OLED gives basically a frontal edgeless frame to the screen content and a thickness of a few millimetres, so the design opportunities are very much about oating that screen surface together with the visible sound above the table in a way that fits well into modern homes.

What about integrating high-end audio? That must be challenging.

Working with Bowers & Wilkins on our OLED+ products enabled us to bring in a custom fabric from Kvadrat for the speaker. This made a clear space for us to play in and allow the products to stand out. This can be clearly seen on the new OLED 984 centre tweeter detail.

What would you say are the three key selling points of Philips TVs in terms of design?

I believe our three key points are to be meaningfully outstanding, superior material craftsmanship and always lead by our consumers’ needs, never by technology push.

Photo: Rod White, Head of Design, TPV Group