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B&O Readies Networked-Audio Product Releases


Luxury brand Bang
& Olufsen is expanding its selection of networked-
audio products with the launch of a
$425 device that adds wireless-network capability
to any of the company’s active home

The Playmaker became available in Bang &
Olufsen showrooms at the end of July.

The device, called a receiver, incorporates
Apple AirPlay and DLNA (Digital Living Network
Alliance) network technology, enabling
it to stream music from smart phones, tablets,
Mac computers, PCs, and media servers. The
receiver plugs into B&O’s active speakers.

With multiple Playmakers in different
rooms, consumers can create a multizone
audio system, with the same song playing in
sync throughout the house or different rooms
playing different songs, the company said.
When music is streamed from a handheld device,
users can adjust volume and mute from
the device, from a Bang & Olufsen remote, or
from a control on the Playmaker itself.

To connect the receiver to a wireless network,
users push a button on the bottom of

Zean Nielsen, president of Bang & Olufsen
America, said he believes most consumers
who buy a new pair of B&O speakers will opt
for the Playmaker.

“We have strong expectations for its sales
performance,” he said, “especially among an
entirely new customer segment that may have
aspired to own world-class B&O loudspeakers
but chose not to invest in an audio or video
system to drive the B&O speakers for one
reason or another.” The Playmaker, he said,
“allows these customers to use their own device”
to deliver music to B&O speakers.

The launch follows the May launch of
multiple networked products, including the
$1,149-suggested BeoPlay A8 music system
with Apple AirPlay and two new LCD TVs
with embedded Wi-Fi, AirPlay and DLNA
networking. Early in the year, the company
unveiled $799 BeoLit 12 portable AC/DC
speaker with AirPlay.