CES: Philips Rep Chats Blu-ray, FlatTV and High-Def

At CES 2008, hardware powerhouse Philips Electronics made it known they intend to support high definition and Blu-ray Disc for the long haul with the announcement of the BDP7200 Profile 1.1 Blu-ray Disc player. To get a better handle on what this player, and Phillip’s HDTV sets are capable of, we thought it best to go straight to the source. In between countless demos and meetings, we stole a few minutes from John Morog, Philips’ national training manager, for the inside scoop on what to expect in 2008 and beyond.

Do you think a Philips integrated home theater system with a Blu-ray Disc player is just around the corner, or still a ways off?

Philips maintains a constant monitoring of consumer’s requirements, over time we do see this will also include a home theater with integrated Blu-ray. When this will happen though, is hard to tell.

Speaking of Blu-ray, Phillips is entering the Profile 1.1 arena with the BDP7200 in April. Can you confirm this player supports HDMI 1.3 and/or web connectivity for firmware updates?

Philips’ BDP7200 supports HDMI 1.3 but does not have web connectivity for firmware upgrades.

Are there specific Phillips components designed to compliment the BDP7200 via EasyLink? In other words, what is the ultimate Phillips high-def set-up utilizing the BDP7200 for video playback.

Philips’ BDP7200, through EasyLink, will compliment the top of the line TVs in 2008 and other HDMI enabled products, providing seamless operation between the HD products.

We applaud the inclusion of 1080p video at 24 fps, crucial to videophiles hoping to truly replicate the cinema experience at home. Can you tell us a little bit about how Deep Color works and the benefit it adds to picture quality?

Deep Color is able to project vivid images in over a billion colors by reducing the polarization effect of the playback video images. A Deep Color HDTV is required to emjoy the full benefits of Deep Color.

The BDP7200 MSRP of $399 is a step in the right direction, as lower hardware costs will eventually put more players in more homes. Did you ever consider a second new SKU without all the bells and whistles to achieve an even lower price point? If not, why not?

The price is actually $349 and we kept our focus on SKU to meet the consumer needs of HD picture quality, and will consider additional SKUs once the HD player market matures.

What’s your favorite Blu-ray Disc release to date?

Animation: Ice Age 2: The Meltdown

Action: Spider-Man

Phillips has obviously aligned itself with Blu-ray Disc, which many feel are currently winning the format war. Here at TheManRoom, we take a neutral stance and firmly believe, since before either format arrived in stores, that both can co-exist in today’s marketplace. What are your thoughts on the format war and where it is headed?

Well, we’ve always believed the consumers would decide the fate of Blu-ray but as more studios sign on, clearly that will influence the outcome.

Lets shift gears to your new line of 7000 FlatTV televisions. While some manufacturers are more concerned with “bigger is better,” you appear to have taken a different approach by strengthening your core 42″ to 52″ offerings. Can you tell us a little bit behind this thought process?

The market for the 7000 line tends to desire the 42″ ” 52″ and we are focusing on quality. Image quality, sound quality, and the overall viewing experience.

In our opinion, Samsung was the first manufacturer to really catch the eye of consumers with a unique casing for their high definition sets that stood out at retail. Do you feel strongly that the new 7000 series cases will achieve and even surpass the same effect?

Our new Design Collection was created because consumers are tired of seeing the same square box. Today they want to display their TV in the home, not hide it in a cabinet, and to be proud of it. So, given this, and the fact that women are having a larger influence in consumer purchases, we created this new design with rounded corners and an overall sleeker look.

The 7000 series is listed as including 120Hz refresh rates. Can you confirm these are, in fact, true refresh rates and not an artificial doubling of 60Hz?

Yes, that is true.

Will the 7000 series automatically detect new signals from the four HDMI 1.3a inputs and switch the input automatically?

Yes, this is done automatically/

Tell us a little bit about the Invisible Sound System in the 7000 series sets which drives audio from behind the set. While we swear by running all of our audio through an A/V receiver, there’s still a huge audience who prefers their sound straight from the set.

The dialogue speakers push the sound to the back and out, sending the sound out through all the edges. The speakers in the back support the sub-woofer. The sound is clear and strong, and not seeing the speakers creates for a better overall viewing experience.

What are your thoughts on OLED as an eventual successor of LCD?

It is too soon to even think about that, LCD is where it’s at.

Lastly, is there anything else you’d like to pass along to our readers regarding Phillips new products debuting at CES this year?

Just that we are really happy with our new line this year and think that they will be impressed. I invite everyone to check out our site at www.philips.com.

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