Philips 58PUS8506 4K LCD TV review

hcc_recommendedPhilips hopes to cover all bases with this LED-lit Dolby Vision UHD TV for every occasion – Steve May examines its wide appeal

Jet Li wanted to be The One, Keanu Reeves became The One, and Chesney Hawkes sang about The One. Now you can take The One home, in the shape of this Philips LED TV mid-ranger, so named because it ticks more boxes than a pedantic bureaucrat at a box-ticking convention.

Regardless of whether you’re a daytime TV junkie, gamer, film fan or sports fanatic, this 8 Series flatscreen should fit the bill. It offers appreciably bright pictures, boasts Philips' much-loved Ambilight, and doesn’t grey 
like Richard Gere when you switch the lights off.

As you might expect given its mainstream appeal, the PUS8506 (to give it its more traditional model number) is available in a wide range of screen sizes: 43in, 50in, 58in, 65in, 70in and 75in, 
with prices ranging from £450 to £1,700. If you can’t find one to fit your gaff, you’re clearly not trying hard enough.

We’ve got the 58-incher on the test bench. This launched at £899 in autumn 2021, but is now available for less, perhaps because there's another version of The One being prepped for later this year.

Carrying a bit of bulk
With its silver grey hue, the TV's design is suitably stylish, although, truth be told, up close it’s actually a bit plasticky. And as it’s a direct-lit LED model, there’s some depth (80mm) to the chassis. The outer rear is edged by tiny LED lights which make up the three-sided Ambilight system. 
The screen sits on a T-bar stand that swivels, good for spinning it into position when you’re viewing from the wings.

Connectivity doesn't necessarily feel mid-range. There are four HDMI inputs, of which HDMI 2 is certified eARC, and all others ARC-enabled. You get two USB ports, rather than three, but it's hard to imagine this being a deal-breaker. Other hookups are a digital optical audio output, headphone out and Ethernet, to supplement dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. RF connectors cater to both Freeview HD (with Freeview Play) and satellite tuner options.

Something with more potential to be a deal-breaker 
is the TV's use of a 60Hz panel, meaning it doesn't accommodate 4K/120fps gameplay. However, it does work with variable refresh rates and, despite its lack of High Frame Rate nous, is actually a good option for low-latency 60Hz gaming. I measured input lag at just 10.9ms (1080/60) with Game mode selected.

The 8506 couples its Freeview Play functionality 
with the Android TV smart platform, a potent combo. 
The full-screen home page offers plenty of programme recommendations, and the app choice is extensive. Meanwhile, Philips' picture and sound adjustment menus are as comprehensive as ever.

Packing a punch
When it comes to picture performance, The One gets plenty right. A punchy average picture level makes it a good option for daylight (living room) viewing, and colour and contrast remain surprisingly coherent when viewed off-axis. Yet where the 8506 manages to really surprise 
is black level performance. Don’t come expecting OLED levels of ebon depth, just be impressed by the way this screen avoids turning blacks into greys in low-light 
viewing conditions.


The PUS8506 will pair with wireless DTS Play-Fi speakers

The set employs the pre-AI iteration of Philips' 
P5 Picture engine, but that doesn’t preclude blistering subjective detail on native 4K sources and excellent HD upscaling.

Of the various picture presets, you should note that Standard is the Eco default, and it’s a role 
it takes a little too seriously. Switch to Natural and you'll notice an immediate jump in overall image brightness and luminosity. Colours suddenly pop. Yes, there’s some black level crushing, 
but the benefits are too obvious to ignore.

Significantly, there are various HDR settings – Vivid, Personal, Natural, Movie and Game – to be found within the 55PUS8506's contextual HDR setting. For maximum punch, you can choose HDR Vivid, although cinephiles will obviously find appeal in Movie.

The panel’s HDR performance keeps within acceptable tolerances for the price range. I measured peak HDR brightness at around 420 nits, using a standard 10 per cent measuring window, which isn’t too shabby.

When Kristen Bell starts rooting around her attic 
(The Woman in the House…, Netflix, Dolby Vision), apparently in an effort to rekindle her interest in painting, contrast is high. You’ll notice shadow detail being crushed out, but the image still has a lush feeling of sharpness and colour rendering is impressive. Bell's bottle of dark red wine looks particularly quaffable.

You can search for an even more detailed picture by instigating the TV's motion smoothing, which is available 
in a variety of flavours, including Pure Cinema, Standard, Smooth and Personal. However, it was Pure Cinema that became my preferred option, as this gives TV shows a far more cinematic feel, and stops movies looking a bit like TV shows. Best save the more aggressive motion interpolation settings for sports or studio material.

Audio performance, courtesy of a 2 x 10W stereo speaker system, is reasonable, with a good sense of volume and body. But you’re advised to partner it with a soundbar or 
AV receiver to take advantage of its Dolby Atmos compatibility. Pass Atmos audio from the set’s Netflix (or other service) app 
and you’ll enjoy those 3D audio soundtracks. The screen is also DTS Play-Fi compatible, opening up the potential to combine it with 
a multiroom music system, or surround speakers. Philips sells its own such hardware, but we could do with other brands with a strong UK presence joining the Play-Fi party.

One to watch
So: the 58PUS8506 is a mid-range LED TV with remarkably few niggles. As a piece of interior design, 
it stands out from much of the crowd, and Ambilight 
is always a welcome embellishment. Picture quality is impressive too. This iteration of Philips' processing engine isn’t burdened by AI smarts, but there’s still much to admire about the delivery of film and TV content. Colour fidelity 
is good and HDR has impact.

Overall, The One gets almost everything right. I suspect it will be liked by a lot of people.

HCC Verdict

Philips 58PUS8506

Price: £600

We say: Ambilight, universal HDR support, streaming apps- a-plenty and low input lag make this feature-rich mid-ranger a smart choice for family buyers.

Overall: 4/5


4K: Yes HDR: Yes. Yes. Dolby Vision; HDR10; HDR10+; HLG TUNER: Freeview HD; generic satellite HD CONNECTIONS: 4 x HDMI inputs; 2 x USB; digital optical audio input; Ethernet; headphone output SOUND (CLAIMED): 2 x 10W BRIGHTNESS (CLAIMED): N/A CONTRAST (claimed): N/A 4K/120 PLAYBACK: No DIMENSIONS (OFF STAND): 1,290(w) x 750(h) x 80(d)mm WEIGHT (OFF STAND): 17.4kg

FEATURES: Wi-Fi; Bluetooth; Android TV OS with Chromecast and Google Assistant; Works with Alexa; three-sided Ambilight; P5 Perfect Picture engine; DTS Play-Fi compatible; Dolby Atmos; eARC (HDMI 2); VRR (HDMI 1 & 2); Micro Dimming Pro; Ultra Resolution; LED-lit LCD panel