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Aurea: Great device with one touch too much

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Dale Davies |
philips aurea lcd tv ambilightThese days we are bombarded with all kind of information, pictures, sound, ads, and everything that our brain can think of. And while our brain is a powerful mechanism, it has its limits, yet it seems that people in marketing want to push that limit further.

Under the tagline "Seduction By Light" enters the new TV set from Philips. It is called Aurea. The prefix aur- came from Latin and it means something made of gold. The Domus Aurea was a Golden House in ancient Rome, built by Roman emperor Nero. There is also Ficus philips aurea lcd tv ambilightAurea, a tree native to West Indies. There is also aurotherapy, a treatment of disease using gold salts. So, Philips gave very sound name to its new TV. Does Aurea deserve its prefix?

Technical data will say the following: Aurea is a wide screen TV, with excellent contrast ratio of 1200:1 and viewing angle of 176 degrees horizontal and vertical. Although it's not very probable that you'll hang on a rope above your TV like in Mission Impossible. The display is large, is measures 42 inch and resolution is 1920x1080p. Each color is coded in 14 bit, what means that Aurea may show you four trillion colors.

Philips' new TV sports some of the coolest technologies inside. It has Perfect Pixel HD Engine, Dynamic contrast enhancement and HD Natural Motion, Jagged Line Suppression, Progressive Scan and anti-Reflection coated screen. Translate that to everyday English and it reads: Great picture, clean and clear, with excellent sharpness and color definitions, that comes via HDMI inputs. Experts recognized all those qualities and Perfect Pixel HD technology won the 2007-2008 EISA Award for Full HD LCD TVs. There are also 26 speakers and two subwoofers, and you will see no one because they are suitable hidden fro view.

philips aurea lcd tv ambilightPhilips Aurea is a great TV, no doubt about that. However, we would like to write a word or two about light that comes with it. Aurea sports Ambilight, which means it has LEDs that make its bezel glow in myriad of colors. There are 126 tri-colored LD diodes and a built-in system that decides which light, and light effect, to show depending on the actual picture displayed.

If you use "lounge mood" (read: TV off) Aurea will display a range of colors and it will create somewhat meditative environment. And when you watch your favorite movie or TV show the light follows the plot. It really looks interesting in the beginning, but as the time passes by it becomes questionable feature. It is interesting while you are testing Aurea with different materials, from Desperate Housewives to French film noir, but after you see that - then what?

philips aurea lcd tv ambilightWe don't need another strain on our eyes; they look at bright computer screen every day. Do we need the light for better understanding who's bad and who's good in Die Hard? Honestly, I think we can handle that. Will it give a new dimension to Capra's Wonderful life? Of course not, it’s a black and white film.

At the end, what is the verdict? Bad win over god by 2 to 1. The technology is superb, but price of 6000 dollars is too much, and glowing lights all the time are way too much. Aurea will find its audience, that's for sure, but Philips should not add Ambilight feature to great device. I'm clever enough to figure out what's on TV and, what's even more important, I want to sit down after busy business day and spend some time in front of my TV. I don't need any psychedelic color electrocuting my brain in those rare moments of relaxing. Neither do you.

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