CES NEWS: Philips takes the edge off flatscreens with three new Design Collection ranges

Philips has woken up to the astonishing fact that "women play a highly influential role in Consumer Electronics buying decisions", with 98 percent considering style as an important consideration. The manufacturer's answer is a new Design Collection TV line-up "intentionally feminine in its approach".

In a press conference that managed to include less product facts than soundbites and patronising statements, we gleaned the following about some admittedly tempting-looking flatscreens due our way in 2008...

The curvaceous Design Collection comprises three new LCD ranges - the entry-level 3000, next-step up 5000 and high-end 7000: peaked by the 52PFL7603D 'Ultimate Dream TV'.

The 7000 series is further split into 7403 and 7603 ranges – the latter including Philips' acclaimed, contrast-boosting Ambilight technology. Both ranges include 'invisible speakers', with no speaker grilles on the front of the sets. Instead the sound is powered from the back of the flatscreens, and carried out via the acrylic flare around each set – Philips claims this provides an enveloping effect, as well as deep, rich sound.

Picture enhancements include 100hz picture processing and an ultra-fast motion-response time of two milliseconds. New HD Digital Natural Motion technology (HD DNM) is designed to reduce any on-screen juddering, while Motion Estimation Motion Compensation (MEMC) further smoothing motion by inserting compensating frames in action that could otherwise appear shaky.

if all these settings sound confusing, Philips has developed a new settings-assistant, which allows you to select your particular preferences via the left and right cursor buttons on the TV's remote. Using an on-screen menu similar to an eye-test, you can choose what you think is the best picture and sound; the TV will then make and store your custom changes.

Every 7000-series set also includes four HDMI 1.3 inputs, to support an array of HD sources.

Here are US pricing and availability details for the 7000 series - expect slightly later release dates for the UK:

Details are thin on the ground as yet for the 4000 and 5000 ranges, though with Philips traditionally releasing TV updates in the second half of any year, maybe that's not surprising. First up appears to be the 5000 'eco TV' range, which will include 1080p models "packed with power-saving features". Look out for news of matching Design Collection systems and Blu-ray player in our home cinema section shortly.

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