Bang & Olufsen BeoVision Avant
We have spent the morning with Bang & Olufsen and in particular their brand new TV system, the Bang & Olufsen BeoVision Avant, dubbed “the one that moves”, but we prefer to think of it as a ninja TV (bare with us). Don’t worry about a robotic uprising though, the movement referred to is specifically related to the Avant’s ability to rotate and angle itself in your home for the best viewing possible. It doesn’t just tilt, angle and rotate though, as the innovative speaker system also descends from the body of the TV when in use. The design concept itself is simple, it wants to be perfect for the home, but it doesn’t want to dominate it.
If you think about your current TV, you probably put it where it is for one of two reasons: that’s where the sockets are, or its the best position for viewing it. Ultimately, you are putting your room around your TV. It is also, either on a stand or mounted on the wall, and has a really limited range of movement (ie, you can probably angle it about 5 degrees in either direction), making it all seem rather stiff and boring. The BeoVision Avant has been designed to slot into a room and give it flexibility and it feels a bit of fun as well. The ‘orbital’ TV stand is really quite special in that regard, as it allows your TV to rotate to the front, away from any wall, and therefore allowing the angles of viewing to increase. It is quite fun to watch, and even more fun to play with. This is all controlled by a remote, so you don’t have to get up and push it round. It also has 3 macro buttons on the remote, allowing you to programme the TV to turn on, rotate to a specific position and play a channel you preset at your pre-selected volume. Although it may seem quite a gimmick, for families living in cities where the living space, dining space and kitchen space is combined, this function could prove remarkably useful. It’s not just got an orbital stand, but also a regular cabinet style stand and a wall-mount with the same concept of movement, coming forwards and tilting up or down, and then moving back and getting out of the way when not in use. As we were told this morning, technology shouldn’t be dominating, it should be complimentary. Whilst the TV moves in and out, the speakers are the part that move up and down.
As you would rightly expect from Bang & Olufsen, the speakers on the BeoVision Avant are spectacular. Aside from the fact that they rise and descend on command, they are also innovative in their own right. Comprised of 8 units with 8 amplifiers, there are 6 speakers and 2 base units (one facing forwards, one facing behind), providing an amazing system not just for TV viewing, but for general media use. These speakers actually combine to provide something a little bit different in what Bang & Olufsen are calling “3 channel sound”.
If you’ve ever been to the IMAX and experienced the pre-movie demo, you see them highlight the various speakers behind the screen, with the main unit and bass coming from the centre. Your TV most likely has units underneath and to the sides, which mean when you hear voices, for example, they seem flat and come from either side. 3 channel sound allows the speaker system to pump out volume from just below the centre of the screen. It doesn’t seem like much, but when you view the demo, you’ll realise just what a difference this makes. Its also worth mentioning that the TV will connect to any other Bang & Olufsen system you have in the vicinity, and can intelligently adapt to play the best sound at the right volume adapting other multi-channel inputs for your relevant output (turning 7.1 or 5.1 into whatever you have for example). Slow down, I hear you say, this is all getting a bit technical..
Coming in a variety of screen sizes, the Bang & Olufsen BeoVision Avant also has a 4K display with incredibly rich colour, depth and contrast, which is assisted by its active sensor array you may notice poking out on the top right of the set. This little bar will do a number of technological wizardry doohickeys (technical term again), which will measure the lighting of the room to ensure the picture quality adjusts, so no more annoying sunlight obstructing the TV set in the morning. In addition, it’ll also take into account the colour of your room (behind the set) in order to improve the image quality. When all of this is taken into account, put up on a 4K resolution screen, it all makes quite a viewing difference, especially when you’ve sat in your own favourite chair and got the screen to face you, oh and you’ve got those speakers turned up to the max! Whats great about getting to this point, is that it can all be done quite simply and easily with the one remote.
Bang & Olufsen’s ‘time travelling’ remote control is something of a breath of fresh air into remote controls. Universal Remotes are quite haphazard and a pain to use really, we certainly haven’t come across one we particularly like, but this remote is a bit different. Firstly, cut from on chunk of aluminium, it both feels and looks solid and sexy. It also controls any old Bang & Olufsen system via IR, as well as upwards connectivity, and a pass through system so you can control your Sky or TiVo without having the box on display. This all feeds back to the concept of keeping technology supressed and unobtrusive in the home.
In addition to the sleek remote, speaker system and the beautiful 4k display, the TV has a good software suite, easily navigated using the remote. As most smart TVs do, it connects via wifi, can search YouTube, and has certain audio services ready and waiting, such as Spotify and Deezer, as well as local and internet radio. A lot of people would naturally use this set as a sound system alone thanks to those typically impressive speakers. Interestingly, software upgrades are also pushed to the TV by Bang & Olufsen, to ensure your set remains somewhat up-to-date, given people typically replace a set every 6 years, this can and will be quite important as the Smart TV technology and software continually evolves. Although being wireless is pretty central to the concept, there’s enough space for 6 HDMI inputs, as well as USB which recognises most video formats (including .mkv we noted). One deft little touch, was the way it turns on/off, with a curtains opening and closing effect, making the whole TV system seem grandiose and cinematic in nature.
So, this is a ninja TV that hides in wait, out of the way of your everyday life, until you turn it on and all of a sudden it swings into your face, with its great looks, great sound and great visuals. Whilst other TV making companies are focusing on one-upmanship in size, resolution or curvature, Bang & Olufsen have taken a step back, looked at what people use TVs for, where they go and how you set up around them, to produce the BeoVision Avant which makes a world of difference. The tilt-a-whirl mechanism might come off a bit of a gimmick, and may require even more damn space when its on the orbital stand, but its certainly a different design direction (no pun intended). What do you think of the BeoVision Avant? Get on down tonight to your nearest Bang & Olufsen store for an open evening and have a play for yourself!