Bang & Olufsen is updating its TV line-up with the BeoVision 14, a product that is designed to add a whole host modern technologies such as 4K and Android TV – but unfortunately it looks as if the company left off HDR support.
HDR is expected to be the must-have TV technology of 2016, meaning Bang & Olufsen’s omission is glaring. One thing that is not so glaring however, is the screen. That’s because the BeoVision 14 sports anti-reflection front glass, which is designed to remove annoying reflections by more than 98%.
Bang & Olufsen has never been known for being on the cutting edge of picture quality however, with the company relying on its aesthetic design to sell TV sets. It’s a move that has not exactly worked all too well for the company up until this point, with the company reporting yet another loss earlier this year.
Despite the loss, Bang & Olufsen is still at the top of its game in terms of design – with the BeoVision 14 sporting an extremely modern, minimalistic and premium look. The TV features crafted oak wood lamellas on the front, which have been designed to create a warm organic contrast to the dark glass panel, while the square aluminium frame was specifically chosen to ensure the TV becomes the centrepiece of any room.
BeoVision 14 comes in both 40in and 55in models, both of which feature much of the same innards. That includes a 360° Automatic Picture Control sensor which has been developed to ensure optimum image and sound – whether the user is watching films, listening to music or playing games.
Despite that sensor, the 4K will not be able to reach its full potential without the addition of 4K – which can be found on more affordable sets from the likes of LG, Samsung and Sony. Those sets cost considerably less than the BeoVision 14 – which starts at £4,995 RRP for the base model. Users will be able to take full advantage of the 4K however, as HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 copy protection are both supported.
One place where Bang & Olufsen do have the other manufacturers beat however, is on sound quality. The company has always had a strong presence in the audio market, thanks to its speaker line-up, and it’s bringing that prowess to the BeoVision 14.
BeoVision 14 offers a fully active three-way loudspeaker system. The system for both sizes consists in each channel of a 2in midrange and a ¾in tweeter all working in a closed cabinet. The centre-bass system is a custom-made 4in loudspeaker driver in a closed box version for the 40in version, whereas the 55in version the bass system is ported with the bass port facing downwards to avoid diffractions.
Bang & Olufsen has developed a special surround sound sensor for use in the BeoVision 14, which includes utilising TrueImage technology. Describing the technology, Bang & Olufsen says: “There are many cases where the number of input channels in the audio signal does not match the number of loudspeakers in your configuration. For example, you may have two loudspeakers, but the input signal is from a multichannel source such as a 5.1-channel DVD or a 7.1-channel Blu-ray. In this case, the audio must be ‘down-mixed’ to your two loudspeakers if you are to hear all components of the audio signal.
“Conversely, you may have a large surround sound system with 7 main loudspeakers and a subwoofer (a 7.1-channel system) and you would like to re-distribute the two channels from a CD to all of your loudspeakers. In this example, the signal must be ‘upmixed’ to all loudspeakers. Bang & Olufsen’s TrueImage is a processor that accomplishes both of these tasks dynamically, downmixing or upmixing any incoming signal so that all components and aspects of the original recording are played using all of your loudspeakers.”
The speakers themselves are available in two different variations across both models. One option is to utilise an ultra-thin oak wood cover for the custom-built speaker, or those wishing to save a few pennies can opt for the cloth speaker cover.
In the past Bang & Olufsen has been criticised for its slow adoption of modern operating systems, but with the BeoVision 14 the company is going all-in with the Android TV platform. That means straight out of the box users will be able to use Google’s Cast technology to stream movies, TV shows and music directly from their smartphones to the TV. The BeoVision 14 also handles new formats such as HEVC, which allows streaming of 4K content directly from online sources.
Despite some of the shortcomings of the BeoVision 14, the TV will still be one ideally suited to the custom install market. That’s due to support for Bang & Olufsen’s BeoLink multi-room system – which means users can control devices all from the one TV set. The company is also launching a new BeoRemote One – which features four MyButtons that enables users to take a snapshot of a setting and then revert to that setting at any time simply by pressing the button.
As with many BeoVision TV sets, the BeoVision 14 sports many bells and whistles that Bang & Olufsen has become synonymous with. This includes a motorised floor stand for adjusting the height of the TV using the remote control. The TV can still be hung on a wall if preferred – with both the wall bracket options and stand options an additional extra on top of the TV itself.
The BeoVision 14 is available now.