Arlington Heights, Ill. - Bang & Olufsen's
music system, launched in early 2009, is getting some less-expensive company.
BeoSound 5, which continues in the line at $6,500, was B&O's first music system to use only Internet radio and an included hard drive as music sources. It lacks CD player and AM/FM tuner. The new $3,350 BeoSound 5 Encore, due in August in Bang & Olufsen showrooms, also incorporates Internet radio but replaces embedded hard drive for connectivity with a variety of new music sources such as a USB-connected hard disks, networked NAS (network-attached storage) server and computers, USB sticks, and USB-connected MP3 players.
The Encore also adds multi-room capability, enabling eight separate Encores to stream different songs simultaneously from the same networked server.
Both systems, which can be connected to B&O's powered speakers, feature similar cosmetics. Their 10.4-inch color LCD display shows album art and menu choices arrayed around a large aluminum control wheel. Consumers use the wheel to spin through albums, artists, songs, genres and album covers, all moving in a circular pattern around the wheel. A thin blue beam of light emanates from a point next to the wheel to point to other menu options at the opposite end of the screen.
Both models also feature come with options for wall, table or floor placement, but the BeoSound 5 is a two-piece solution, while the Encore is a single-chassis product.
Each system also features s proprietary MOTS (More Of The Same) algorithm that analyzes the musical characteristics of stored songs to automatically generate a playlist of tracks similar to a user-selected "seed" track. With the Encore, MOTS automatically generates a playlist when a consumer accesses the content of a USB or WLAN/LAN device.
Other Encore features include access to more than 13,000 Internet radio stations through a networked broadband modem.