New York — Having dropped its lineup of plasma-based flat-panel TVs, design-centric CE manufacturer Bang & Olufsen formally unveiled its next-phase of TV development — 4K Ultra HD LED LCD TV and three high-design stand/mount options.
During a press conference here Thursday, B&O showed its next direction the pursuit of the ever-changing state of the art in TV technology.
The company’s real spin on the category is in the motorized motion technology built into a set of optional stands and mounts, inspiring the B&O tagline “BeoVision Avant: the one that moves.”
A floor stand allows the set to rotate to the left or right for an optimal viewing angle, while a motorized tabletop stand tilts the screen up and down for a proper viewing alignment.
The motorized wall-mount option enables the screen to pivot out and away from the wall on the left or right side, while automatically spreading out the internal speaker array on a panel strip below the screen to deliver precise left/right channel sound separation to match the viewer’s seating angle.
The set itself carries a $7,995 suggested retail and is offered starting today at many B&O stores across the country in a 55-inch screen size.
An optional stationary wall bracket has a suggested retail of $895, while the motorized stands and mounts sell for $1,995 each. The motorized wall mount is available with a pivot hinge on either the right or left side of the set.
The BeoVision Avant features an LED backlit panel with 1.5 dimming technology.
As B&O likes to say, the other half of the picture — the sound — is handled with a newly developed eight-speaker onboard “sound panel” that unfolds when the television is on, then retreats inside when one turns it off.
Said B&O, “The sound panel's movements are coordinated with those of the new stands so the television is ready for viewing and listening in one choreographed flow.”
When using only the onboard sound system, the TV provides what the company calls “three-channel stereo,” offering left, right and center channels.
For up to 7.1-channel surround sound enthusiasts, the set incorporates a surround sound module that will accommodate B&O surround speakers, either wired or wireless (using the WiSA wireless speaker standard). In the surround sound setup, the onboard speakers in the TV can automatically shift into center channel configuration and correctly attune the sound dynamics of the TV speakers to match those of the selected B&O surround speaker models.
The TV features B&O’s software support enabling the correct positioning and volume settings of the speakers for the selected seating position.
All totaled, the sound system offers 360 watts of sound power, including a 6.5-inch rear-firing bass driver.
The Ultra HD set includes HDMI 2.0 connectivity and HDCP 2.2 content protection. A pending software upgrade will deliver HEVC H.265 decoding, executives said.
The set is equipped with a media player, but at launch will not directly support any 4K UHD streaming services (like pending 4K Netflix content), executives said. Like past B&O TVs, a docking port for an Apple TV device is included on the back of the set.
Other B&O advances in the sets include a new chromatic room adaptation feature that analyzes ambient light from two sensors, and adjusts the screen to compensate for the room's color tones.
To dampen reflections, the company places a high-grade anti-reflection coating on both sides of the screen.
In a statement, B&O CEO Tue Mantoni, said the BeoVision Avant was created to provide discerning homeowners the ultimate in authentic performance, intuitive simplicity and convenience.
“Our research shows that consumers want more and more from their televisions,” he said. “People are pressed for time, and they want entertainment that just works so they can focus on it — and each other — rather than the technology itself. BeoVision Avant delivers on all counts. The name Avant is a nod to our most successful TV to date, the Avant launched in 1995. Just as the first Avant was a game changer in an analog era, we believe the new BeoVision Avant will set the standard for what should be expected from a television in the future.”
At a U.S. press launch for the product, new B&O America president Kathy Thornton-Bias pointed out that the BeoVision Avant was also designed for simplicity of use, by offering a BeoRemote One, featuring a curved ergonomic design, three customizable buttons for three separate user preferences and multi-product functionality.
“We designed [the BeoRemote One] with the user in mind,” said Thornton-Bias. “We’ve added buttons so with one touch you can control your favorite channels, your favorite viewing position, your favorite content and your favorite light setting. … What is different about Bang & Olufsen is that we have designed a product with technology that has simplicity at its core.”
“On average, people change their televisions every six to seven years,” she continued. “To me that is a problem, because people feel their TV is going to be outdated before they’ve even started, because technology is changing so fast. We have to take that into consideration when designing a new product, and at Bang & Olufsen we keep that top of mind.”
She said the company uses auto-updating software as its tool to ensure products remain current with changing standards.