By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
DENVER — Bang & Olufsen will add during CEDIA Expo Spotify Connect to its floorstanding BeoPlay A9 networked speaker and will upgrade its current 65-inch 3D plasma TV.
With Spotify Connect, consumers who are streaming Spotify through their smartphones can, after entering their home, turn on the $2,699 discshaped A9 to stream their playlist where they left off through the cloud to save smartphone battery life. The A9 will also control Spotify streaming.
B&O’s Spotify Connect software update will be available for all versions of the BeoPlay A9 later this year. Spotify itself was added to the speaker earlier this year to join wireless AirPlay and DLNA streaming and playback of music from USB-connected Apple devices.
The company also offers other networked home audio products that don’t currently stream Spotify, but a spokesperson said other unnamed products “will incorporate Spotify Connect in the future.”
Spotify delivers on-demand access to more than 20 million tracks from which users can create playlists.
In TVs, the company is replacing its BeoVision 12-65 65-inch FullHD plasma TV, an active-shutter 3DTV launched in January 2012 at $19,749. The new BeoVision 12-65 New Generation adds smart-TV capability, a BeoSystem 4 video engine with 5x processing power to deliver 124.4 billion instructions per second, an optional motorized floor stand, selectable sound modes and new TrueImage technology.
The on-wall version retails for $15,995, and the version with motorized floor stand retails for $17,895.
The floor stand automatically turns and tilts the screen toward a preferred viewing location when the TV is turned on.
“The new video engine handles much more digital processing and has vast picture improvement technologies,” said product manager Dave Zapfel. “For example, before the old engine would handle two-point calibrations in black/white, and now the new video engine does a full 10-point calibration incorporating everything on the gray scale as well, so the picture is much sharper.”
Once gray-scale performance is optimized, proprietary ACM (automatic color management) technology “ensures it stays correct for the life of the screen,” he said. ACM compensates for the effects of age on plasma panels’ color performance.
In other enhancements, TrueImage audio processing offers automatic multichannel down-mixing and up-mixing to match the number of active B&O speakers connected to the TV’s outboard video engine/switcher/surround processor. The outboard module, like before, incorporates 7.1-channel surround processing.
Another new feature is the inclusion of nine selectable sound modes, including one for movies and one for games. The latter reduces audio and video latency for more responsive game play.
Like before, the TV has a built-in powered speaker that doubles as a center-channel speaker in a surround-sound setup. The speaker’s new Topaz color changes its color tone depending on how the light falls on it and the angle from which it is viewed, the company said.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.