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The Cinema 21:9 Platinum's superfluous HD pictures are almost matched by its sonic performance. Even with Freeview broadcasts, the TV presents a clean, crisp sound with a warm inviting midrange, thanks to Philips' insistence on including two dome tweeters and two separate midbass woofers – the chunkier build necessitated by the backlit LED Pro obviously meant there was more real estate for the brand's audio engineers to play with.
Tweakers can dabble with the sound menus, if they're unhappy with their original audio choice from the setup wizard. Six other preset modes are offered, plus bass and treble boosters.
The only criticism is that the TV lacks genuine low-end presence, even with the bass level maximised, and that the Surround option really doesn't add much – it certainly doesn't come close to a genuine 5.1 experience, Even with those caveats, the Cinema 21:9 Platinum still ranks as one the best TVs around for audio.
The Philips Cinema 21:9 Platinum is good value, even at £4,000. Quality never comes cheap, and this screen is extraordinarily accomplished. Yes, you can get a 3D screen like Panasonic's P50VT20 for nearly half the price, but you don't get that unique 21:9 display.
Ease of use
Despite the technology lurking in the Cinema 21:9 Platinum, it's surprisingly easy to get to grips with, and shouldn't pose too many problems to technophobes.
For starters, the remote control is brilliantly designed. This curved, brushed aluminium handset sits snugly in the palm of your hand, and is intuitive to use. Philips has decided to limit its controls to the TV only – there are no transport controls for a Blu-ray player, but whoever uses their TV handset for that anyway? – and the result is an uncluttered, well laid out remote that most people will be comfortable with.
Another feature that improves ease of use is the TV's picture and sound setup wizard. Perhaps mindful of criticism that its previous TVs have been complicated to calibrate, this function gives owners a five-step walkthrough that adjusts the picture and sound to their preferences.
Hardcore AV fans will be appalled, as it doesn't explain what it's doing (you select which of two images you prefer, followed by a choice of three sound options) but it should go down well with a lot of buyers.
One area where the Cinema 21:9 Platinum is less than intuitive is its multiple selection of picture ratios. This, of course, is a by-product of its unique form factor, but we believe that the number and naming system could be simplified. Working out whether you want to use Auto Fill, Auto Zoom, Super Zoom, Unscaled or one of the other formats will take some time.
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