09.04.19

Bang & Olufsen announce new TV with a focus on interior décor – but is it worth it?

beotv
Credit: Bang & Olufsen

Bang & Olufsen (B&O) has unveiled a new television at the Salone del Mobile design festival in Milan, designed to be more of an interior design piece to hide the fact that it’s a TV.

The new Beovision Harmony TV is designed to be partially hidden when not in use, with portrait oak and aluminium panels covering some of the screen. When the TV is switched on, the screen rises to viewing height as the panels pivot downwards to sit lengthways, side by side underneath the TV, looking like a cabinet. 

When the TV is switched off or is in use for music, the screen goes back down, and the panels pivot back up to hide the screen and look like a piece of art to compliment the interior décor of the home. 

However, I’m not convinced. The concealing panels, coined “butterfly wings”, looks like two panels of crinkled cardboard – not something I would choose to have in my lounge. It’s certainly eye-catching but I can’t see it complimenting the home in terms of design. 

With competition from LG’s rollable television and Samsung’s Frame TV, I can certainly understand why B&O has decided to launch a TV with a focus on design for the modern home, but I think I prefer the competition. The concept of hiding the screen is something that is becoming popular in the industry, and B&O are keen to remain as key players on the high-end TV scene. 

LG has not yet revealed the price for the rollable TV, but it is tipped to start from £15,000, similar to the Beovision Harmony TV from B&O which is priced at €18,500 (around £16,000). However, the Samsung Frame TV is considerably cheaper starting at around £1,000. 

The TV itself is a specially adapted 77-in LG OLED C9 screen paired with a three-channel, fully active DSP-based sound system. The Beovision Harmony offers music and radio streaming through services such as Tune-In and Deezer. Users can also stream music directly from their smartphone or tablet via the built-in Chromecast, Apple Airplay 2 or Bluetooth. It also features a built-in 7.1 surround sound decoder to make it possible to connect up to eight Beolab speakers. In addition, the TV comes with LG’s webOS 4.5 platform to enable Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube.

It’s great to see B&O adding to the high end, multi-purpose TV market, but I think the design could have been so much better. I’m sure there are many people who will disagree with my opinion, but I think B&O face tough competition from LG and Samsung in this market.