Philips will be releasing a true 21:9 LCD TV this Spring. Will you want to shell out big bucks for it? Well that all depends on how big a movie buff you think you really are and if you're willing to part with seven thousand smackerkroos, yeah you heard me right $7,000! I really don't understand why this is so much. I get that the screen is probably going to have to be specially made as nothing is being manufactored in this aspect ratio and at this size (56" is the launch size if I'm not mistaken) but there is nothing NEW about the technology, it's old hat.
My biggest problem with this TV is in fact aspect ratio. It boasts a 2.33:1 aspect ratio which is a much wider but shorted picture than 16:9. Most movies are filmed in a 2.35:1 or a 2.39:1 and then cropped to 16:9 for the general consumer in such formats as DVD, Blu-ray, TV and cable. This isn't to say that films are ONLY made this way. A lot of films and shows are actually shot in 1.78:1 or 1.85:1 or in more layman's terms a 16:9 aspect ratio. What about all the tons of material thats been done that way? It's plain and simple, this type of TV is only made for the type of movie buff that can shell this kind of money without blinking and has a large collection of 2.35:1 and 2.39:1 films. I consider myself to be a pretty big movie buff but i have absolutely no desire to own this and here's why.
You could watch those aspect ratios (16:9, 1.78:1, 1.85:1) in one of two ways on this screen. The first way would to have black bars on the sides of the screen much in the same way you do when watching standard broadcast TV which has a 1.33:1 ratio (Fullscreen) on a standard 16:9 TV. It would be the very same way. The second way would be for the picture to fill the screen and thus causing it to look wide and squished. You'll find some cable channels boasting that they are Hi Def and they are simply taking 1.33:1 shows or movies and doing exactly this. Another thing that poses a problem is that not all movies are shot with this EXACT ratio of 2.33:1 they are using for the TV. Most if not all movies are actually shot in 2.35:1 or 2.39:1 and there are more than a few that were shot in 2.55:1 and 2.78:1. No matter what movie you watch there are going to be times when there is going to be some sort of black bars somewhere on the screen or the picture cropped improperly. Personally I'll take a standard 16:9 screen and have black bars at the top and the bottom. I don't mind, i came from the age of Laserdiscs, remember those? They are pretty much the reason we even have widescreen TVs.
Not that long ago when widescreen TVs were just making their way into the market they weren't 16:9. I remember seeing one of the very first widescreen TV's in the form of a rear projection TV. It was a 21:9 aspect ratio showing The Wizard Of OZ, it looked atrocious. The picture seemed good for the time but the aspect ratio was all wrong. I even asked them to put on another film and they chose a Star Wars demo disc and the crop of the picture on that was all wrong as well because Lucas chose a 2.55:1 aspect ratio to film his movies. What people don't realize is the reason 16:9 became the standard is because of all the ratios that exist, plain and simple. With a 16:9 TV you'll always be able to watch your entire library with the simplest of ease. If you're like my wifes ex-boss who used to hate the black bars so much, he used to take a towel and put them on the top and bottom of the TV so he wouldn't have to see them. If that's you and you're contemplating buying a TV like this for that very reason, well maybe you're not ready for any of this.
The commercial is VERY cool though.