By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Design-centric A/V products manufacturer Bang & Olufsen (B&O) began taking orders in the U.S. for the first time this month on its 103-inch BeoVision 4 plasma display system, and introduced a new Master Link Gateway technology designed to link B&O products with other home-integration systems.
The high-end company, whose U.S. operations are in Arlington Heights, Ill., unveiled the mammoth set, which carries a $111,000 suggested retail, in the Park Avenue showroom of an Audi car dealership, here.
The set comes with a motorized stand that in the off position holds the screen 3 inches off the ground, but when turned on, silently lifts the more-than-500-pound screen into optimal viewing position. Viewers can tilt the screen plus or minus 4 degrees, or rotate it 20 degrees to the left or right.
The set requires a 220-volt connection to power the huge screen and stand, and a 120-volt connection to power the integrated Beosystem 3 and center speaker. B&O will make the stand available in a choice of custom colors including red, blue, dark gray, black, aluminum and gold.
The company is selling the BeoVision 4 through its network of 60 U.S. B&O stores across the country, although only three are expected to actually have one of the 103-inch units on display. Other locations will run a video of the product, which customers can order.
The company said it will deliver the set about three months after taking the order and deposit.
The company has arranged to provide white-glove delivery to the home, although required installation will be extra.
The heart of the BeoVision 4 system is a 103-inch plasma display with FullHD 1,920 by 1080p resolution and an integrated DVB HD module, which makes it possible to receive digital HD programs in MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 formats.
The package also includes the company’s BeoSystem 3 video platform; customizable Beo5 remote control; a motorized stand that lifts, turns and tilts the screen; and the BeoLab 10 center-channel speaker featuring the company’s Acoustic Lens technology that controls the directivity and dispersion of the high frequencies.
The BeoSystem 3 module, which mounts on the back of the set, houses the company’s VisionClear system, which packages several advanced technologies that work dynamically to optimize the picture under a variety of conditions. Also added is an automatic picture-control system, which automatically monitors light conditions in the viewing room and adapts the picture to these.
The set also employs an automatic color-management system that uses a camera to analyze the screen every 100 hours to automatically adjust the color temperature of the plasma screen to compensate for the effects of aging that can cause an increasingly yellow picture.
Although a surround-sound speaker setup is sold separately, the BeoVision 4 offers enhanced audio performance using an advanced surround-sound module with digital signal processing to deliver adaptive sound technology to create a moveable sweet spot.
The company also unveiled a Master Link Gateway that links B&O products with integrated networks such as those supplied by Crestron. It is said to facilitate two-way operation.
In addition to A/V integration and control offered by the existing Master Link system, the Master Link Gateway provides customers with a solution to integrate seamlessly with other electronic equipment in the home.
The technology will enable customers to control and operate their home automation equipment and A/V equipment from the Beo5 remote control all over the house. For example, it is possible to switch on the light and the television in the kitchen by a single touch on the programmable Beo5 remote control. Customers can also choose to control their A/V system from their home automation panel.
The Master Link Gateway allows up to 130 commands per room, ranging from closing the curtains in one room to switching off the lights in the entire house.
The Gateway translates B&O Master Link commands into LAN (Ethernet) or RS 232/RS 485 commands that are recognized by third-party automation systems.
B&O said it has entered into strategic partnerships with a range of third-party suppliers including Busch Jaeger, LK Schneider, Lutron and Conson.
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