CES 2007: Philips gets relevant innovation

Lucas Covers outlines Philips' 'relevant innovation' concept at CES 2007

Philips ' CES 2007 keynote was surprisingly muted this morning as the company rolled out plans to hone its existing Sense and Simplicity promise with something it called 'relevant innovation'. The result was an evolutionary - rather than revolutionary - update to its product line, focusing on new Ambilight TVs, an AmbiSound home theatre system and its AmbX range of gaming accessories.

Philips' chief marketing officer Lucas Covers said the company has won no less that 17 innovations awards at this year's CES, something that Covers described as a testament to its [Philips] brand promise.

Covers then went on to describe how 'relevant innovation' would help the company more closely tailor its efforts towards end users. For Philips, he said, innovation wasn't enough. The real challenge lay in making innovative products for consumers that would help enhance their lives.

Covers was then joined by Stewart Muller, president of Philips USA, who went on to describe Philips' achievements in Ambilight TV, the first of which was the news that the company has sold 1,000,000 of the sets since it introduced them in September 2004.

To mark the event, Philips unveiled a new limited edition Ambilight set, encrusted with 2,000 diamonds. Muller described Ambilight as a great expression of electronics and interior design - something that Philips evidently takes very seriously.

Perfect Pixel HD Engine

Muller then went on to announce the launch of 30 new flat panel TVs and to detail a new Philips technology - the Perfect Pixel HD Engine which, Muller argued, delivered class-leading performance for 1080p TVs.

Muller justified his claims by saying that not all 1080p TVs were created equal. "Resolution is important," he said "but processing power is critical."

Muller argued that processing power - the ability to shift pixels around the screen - was three times more important than resolution alone. Philips TVs, he said, could display 4 trillion colours, deliver deep, dark blacks and display natural skin tones.

He also said the that Philips latest FlatTVs now had 4 milisecond (ms) response times and 120Hz refresh rates - these helped eliminate the motion judder and motion blur that can distort high definition pictures when viewed on an LCD TV.

Muller also stressed that Philips Ambilight sets now use LEDs to display their ambient colours that made the sets slimmer, more eco-friendly and gave a better spread of light around the set.

Next up from Philips was the HTS8100 AmbiSound home theatre system - their mainstream version of the £12,000 Pioneer PDSP-1 Digital Sound Projector and Yamaha YSP-1100 . The AmbiSound comprises a single wall-mountable box that bounces sound off the walls of in a room to give you a surround sound effect without the need to place speakers everywhere.

Finally Philips gave the assembled press corps a demo of its AmbX gaming system that delivers light, sound and wind effects that add realism to PC gameplay.

The AmbX comprises a subwoofer and satellite speaker set that is accompanied by a couple of tiny desktop fans and an Ambilight-style lighting effects. See an in-game explosion and you'll be rewarded with flashing lights, sound and a whoosh of air - a intriguing gimmick that needs software developers to buy into the concept and put the appropriate code into their games. Philips said it already had scored some successes with THQ's Broken Sword: The Angel Of Death, Codemasters' Toca Racing Driver 3 and Kuju's Rail Simulator.

More details on these and the dozens of other products Philips has announced at CES 2007 are coming up soon.