The 55PUT6400 is a striking debut for Philips' new TV range. It catches the eye with its price and size for a 4K UHD TV, and in many ways its pictures grab your attention too. In the end though a few foibles with the TV's video processing make us think it might be a good idea to try and step up to one of Philips' slightly higher-end 4K TVs when they appear.
Native 4K sources look good
Good price for a large 4K TV
Processing can be clumsy
Needs extensive setup work
No 3D or Ambilight
Overbearing Android TV interface
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- Update: With immediate effect, Philips has just slashed a huge chunk off the cost of this already pretty affordable 4K Ultra HD TV. Now with a price of just £749 - down over £150 from its £900 start point - this is one of the best-value UHD televisions around, especially with it's combination of 55-inch scale and smart TV prowess.
While the prices of 4K UHD TVs have plummeted over the past two years, they still generally command a significant premium over HD TVs. Philips, though, is out to change this, offering its 55-inch 4K UHD 55PUT6400 for just £749.
You might expect such an aggressively priced TV to feature a bland, plasticky, lowest common denominator design - but no. Instead its sleek, shiny bezel with its minimalist approach and acute angles sets quite a high-end tone, rounded out perfectly by a high-quality metal desktop stand.
The only sad thing about the 55PUT6400's design is that it doesn't carry Philips' always lovable Ambilight technology, where coloured lights spill out from behind the screen to accompany the images being shown onscreen.
The 55PUT6400 also does nothing to live down to its price with its connections.
Its four HDMIs keeps pace with anything the expensive end of the TV market has to offer, while the multimedia connections of three USBs and integrated Wi-Fi offer playback support for all the main video, photo and music formats (the latter from DLNA-enabled networked devices), as well as access to Philips' online services.
Happily these online services are now vastly more numerous than they have been on previous Philips TV generations thanks to the brand's adoption of Google's Android TV system.
This introduces in one fell swoop hundreds of apps, taking in everything from gaming and information to video streaming and content collation.
To be honest, I question the usefulness of some, even many of the apps on offer via Android TV, and with that in mind I also wish the Android platform showed a better understanding of the sort of content and apps most TV users actually use regularly on their TVs.
Especially as Google doesn't currently provide you with any significant customisation tools with which you might have set up a customised 'home page' or 'home shelf' within the Android TV interface.
It's unfortunate, too, that while Android TV provides second-rate game apps galore, it doesn't provide any of the key UK catch-up TV services beyond the BBC iPlayer. And nor, at the time of writing, is there any sign of the Amazon streaming app, denying you one of the key sources of 4K UHD content with which to feed the TV's 3840x2160 pixel count (though Netflix 4K UHD IS supported).
I guess all the absent apps might turn up eventually, but you can never be sure until they actually appear.
At least the Philips implementation of Android TV runs fairly slickly, though, and doesn't seem to impinge on the running speed of the rest of the 55PUT6400's operating system (like it does with Sony's Android TVs). It's also nice to see that unlike Sony, Philips allows you to upgrade the memory available for downloading apps via USB storage device.
It would have been easy for Philips to have just shoved a very basic picture engine into the 55PUT6400 in its bid to keep its price low, but actually it's fairly well specified set. The LED lighting is of the direct variety, where the lights appear behind the screen rather than around its edges - a configuration which usually leads to enhanced contrast.
The screen also employs a process called Micro Dimming Pro that breaks the picture down into thousands of small zones so that the picture processing systems can deliver more accurate results.
These processing systems - which take in everything from making motion clearer and reducing noise to boosting colour and contrast - are predominantly contained within Philip's Pixel Plus Ultra HD engine.
This is, it must be said, a relatively underpowered engine versus the Perfect Pixel system found in Philips' high-end TVs, but by the same token it's still more powerful than the sort of video processing systems you might expect to find on a £900 55-inch Ultra HD TV.
John has been writing about home entertainment technology for more than two decades - an especially impressive feat considering he still claims to only be 35 years old (yeah, right). In that time he’s reviewed hundreds if not thousands of TVs, projectors and speakers, and spent frankly far too long sitting by himself in a dark room.