Bang & Olufsen BeoVision Avant
T.V. & Remote US$5,995, Stand US$695
Those Danish design lover boys at Bang & Olufsen (B&O) aren’t at all up for that ‘TV is dead’ propaganda pushed by the South Korean smartphone king-wannabes at Samsung. B&O are betting on a television that moves to mirror the needs and desires of the watcher, rather than the other way around, as the future of home entertainment.
The B&O BeoVision Avant, the company’s brand new ultra-high-definition 4K television, slides, rotates, extends and even moves towards the watcher according to wherever they happen to be sitting in the room. The BeoVision Avant looks much like any other modern slim television when off, but, once switched on, has speakers that drop from underneath the screen and extend out in one smooth motion horizontally to become a sound-bar mounted to the bottom of the screen. Simultaneously, an ‘orbit’ stand swivels around, bringing the television closer to the viewer. Assisted by they remote, the television swivels on its motorized stand until it faces the viewer, no matter where they are situated.
B&O’s operative ideal is that the TV and the rest of the entertainment technology are all one and pleasingly compact. They can then be hidden in the background when not in use, along with all the de rigeur accouterments like XBoxOne, Roku, Apple TV players, DVD, DVR, etc. While not in use, everything can be hidden away in a cupboard, but controlled using the BeoVision Avant’s sleek aluminum remote, which is pre-programmed to allow full control of thousands of devices.
The remote is manufactured out of a solid block of aluminum and can control a plethora of other entertainment devices. Three personalized buttons on the remote can also automatically adjust the TV, switch channels, sources and sound levels at one touch. Not only can the remote device execute everything every other remote device you already own does, it can intuitively do things for you ahead of time, or you can program it to do anything you need to do in a more ad hoc way, like call a taxi to take you to the airport.
At the same time, the remote, working with the motorized Orbit stand allows the BeoVision Avant to adapt and face the person who is watching the TV. Favorite watching positions around the room can even be programmed into the TV, so if the watcher is on the sofa the TV can rotate to face it. If you’re watching TV from the kitchen, the TV can automatically rotate to give the best viewing angle. Such adjustments go beyond the TV. Moving the TV’s orientation changes the pattern of the speakers around the room, so it automatically adjusts the left and right channels to always be on the left and right of the screen, even if that means using one of the speakers at the back of the room.
The 55inch LCD screen is 4K, with four-times the resolution of current high-definition televisions and local backlight dimming for enhanced contrast. At the back it has five HDMI slots for connecting everything from games consoles to Chromecast, Another B&O selling point is that they are committed to keeping up to date, and have an excess of built-in video recording functions, its back packed with ports and connections.
The bottom line difference maker between B&O BeoVision Avant and its rivals comes with its powerful, integrated speakers. The TV has eight separate speakers, which create three channels of sound – center, left and right – which B&O calls three-channel stereo. The operative idea is that speech and dialogue is much clearer when projected out of a single speaker in the center of the screen rather than through both left and right stereo speakers, which can cause various modes of interference and vocal distortion. The BeoVision Avant goes way beyond the notion of built-in speakers into the domain of multi-channel home theatre, connecting to up to eight more wireless B&O speakers as well as 10 additional wired speakers, making a grand total of a 21-speaker surround-sound set-up.