Pick of the Month: Philips' OLED908 and JBL’s ultra-expensive home cinema amp earn top marks

What Hi-Fi? Pick of the Month Feb 2024 lead image
(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

February 2024 is over which means it’s time for yet another entry into What Hi-Fi?’s Pick of the Month column.

This month, despite an influx of devices passing through our test rooms, only two products impressed our experts enough to earn perfect marks. That makes this month’s entry one of our shortest Pick of the Month to date.

Without further delay, here are the top products we tested in February 2024.

 Philips OLED908 (65OLED908)  

OLED TV: Philips 65OLED908

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi? / Netflix, Nascar: Full Speed)

The Philips OLED908 was first unveiled back in January 2023. But delays getting it into stores meant it went on sale only at the end of last year, which is why our review  went live only this month.

This is the first flagship OLED TV from Philips to feature LG Display’s What Hi-Fi? Award-winning Micro Lens Array (MLA) tech. This is the same brightness-boosting technology we saw on the LG G3 and Panasonic MZ2000

It is set to be replaced by the Philips OLED909 later this year, which was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January, but it’s a fantastic option for any home cinema enthusiast.

This is largely due to the fact Philips has aggressively priced the set to be in line with the LG G3, making it considerably cheaper than most competing flagships. The Sony A95L costs more than a thousand more, by comparison.

But it’s also because this is an incredible performer. When we put it through its paces in our dedicated test rooms, it performed admirably, delivering a bright, punchy, but suitably accurate picture in nearly all our checks. 

On top of that, its speaker system, designed by Bowers and Wilkins, offers brilliantly punchy audio, earning it a place as the second-best sounding TV we have yet tested. The Sony A95L retains its top spot thanks to its slightly more controlled, wider audio.

This led our testers to conclude: 

“The Philips OLED908 is due to be replaced by the newer Philips OLED909 in a few  months, but at its current price, it’s one of the best-value next-generation OLED TVs around. As an added perk, it’s also the second-best-sounding TV we have tested, only being beaten by the more expensive Sony A95L.”

Score: 5/5

Read our Philips OLED908 review

JBL Synthesis SDR-38

Home cinema amplifier: JBL Synthesis SDR-38

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

The JBL Synthesis SDR-38 is the follow-up to the What Hi-Fi? Award-winning SDR-35 home cinema amplifier. And, at first glance, it’s a bit of a hard sell. This is largely because the only real upgrade is a new HDMI board.

On top of that,  if you want to connect surround-back speakers and Dolby Atmos channels at the same time, then you will need to invest in additional power, such as the Synthesis SDA-7120 AV Power Amplifier, which currently retails for £3800 / $3849 / AU$8999. 

This makes it a very expensive proposition, especially when compared with our current recommended home cinema amplifier the Sony TA-AN1000

Why did it get five stars then? There’s one simple reason – it sounds fantastic. Getting it into our test rooms and pairing it with our reference  PMC Twenty5.23 home cinema package in a 7.1 surround arrangement it wowed us in all our audio checks. 

Whether it was playing Dune in Dolby Atmos, The Batman’s excellent car chase scene or Taylor Swift’s Ivy, the JBL Synthesis delivered wonderfully detailed audio that was full of low-end heft.

This led our testers to conclude: 

“JBL’s latest flagship AVR is a costly spec bump, but we can’t deny how good it sounds. The Synthesis SDR-38 is a home cinema amplifier for those who want to take home cinema audio seriously, and its performance proves that.”

Score: 5/5

Read our JBL Synthesis SDR-38 review 


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Alastair Stevenson
Editor in Chief

Alastair is What Hi-Fi?’s editor in chief. He has well over a decade’s experience as a journalist working in both B2C and B2B press. During this time he’s covered everything from the launch of the first Amazon Echo to government cyber security policy. Prior to joining What Hi-Fi? he served as Trusted Reviews’ editor-in-chief. Outside of tech, he has a Masters from King’s College London in Ethics and the Philosophy of Religion, is an enthusiastic, but untalented, guitar player and runs a webcomic in his spare time.