Philips 55PUS6814 4K HDR Ambilight TV review

hccbestbuybadgev3With universal HDR support and style to spare, you'll be sorely tempted by this 4K HDR mid-ranger, says Steve May

Philips has thrown everything bar the kitchen sink at its 6 Series high street hotshot. This 4K UHD LED model doesn't just try to woo with a low price tag, it wows with a host of fan-favourite features, including Ambilight, multi-HDR and Amazon Alexa voice support.

And, for the most part, Philips' generosity pays off. Rival budget-busting sets beware, this is a very difficult telly to resist. Boasting a specification that rivals stablemates with far more onerous ticket prices, you might well wonder why you should spend more. The simple answer is you probably shouldn't.

There's no shortage of screen sizes to choose from. I had a 55in set on the test bench, but this model is also available in 43in, 50in and 65in guises.

Fashionistas will be pleased with its look. The screen sports a glacial white back panel, lending it an upmarket, stylish appearance. Ambilight provision means the TV isn't super slim, but the aesthetic finish is fine.

The 6814 features Ambilight's standard three-sided configuration, common to the majority of Philips' 4K fleet. This proprietary lighting system can be run in movie, music and flat lighting (bias) modes, with the added bonus of Hue smart light compatibility. You can sync a whole room full of Hue lighting to run alongside the set's lighting pattern.

Connectivity includes three HDMIs (one with ARC), all supporting 4K at 60Hz. There's also component video with analogue stereo inputs (I no longer rack anything that could plug into this), twin USBs (one a fast v3.0 variant), a digital audio output and Ethernet. Dual-band Wi-Fi is onboard if you don't have a hardwire network port to hand.

Smart functionality is solid. While Philips uses the Android TV OS for its high-falutin' OLEDs, screens lower down the ladder get Saphi, its own Linux-based operating system. This actually transpires to be rather good, in a no-frills kinda way. The straightforward UI offers quick access to all the stuff you need.

Streaming apps include YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Rakuten.TV and Chili. The provision of a Freeview Play tuner means a full house of mainstream catch-up TV players too; a 7-day roll-back programme guide allows the absent-minded to browse missed shows directly from the timeline. The Netflix app supports Dolby Vision, while YouTube can play in 4K.

There's good news for console junkies, too. With Game mode engaged, I recorded image lag at a credible 19.1ms (one of the best figures I've had from a Philips LED LCD model).

DLNA-compliant, the TV had no trouble discovering video files stored on a NAS, and TwonkyMedia and Plex media server software. It didn't just play my MKV stockpile, it's also happy with AVI, MPEG and VP9 codecs.

Thumbs Up
From box to bench, it doesn't take long to give the 55PUS6814's picture performance an enthusiastic thumbs up. Images are sharp, contrasty and nicely saturated. A nod to the wise: out of the box, the set is optimised for Energy Saving. Switch to Optimized for Picture, as this benefits highlight intensity.