Bang & Olufsen Show Off 103-inch HDTV20 May, 2009 By: Chris Tribbey
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — While unveiling his company’s 103-inch, $111,000 HDTV May 20, Zean Nielsen, president of Bang & Olufsen America, needed no prompting answering the most obvious question: Why release such an expensive TV in this economy?
“Why the hell not?” Nielsen said with a smile. “Someone has to. It’s quality that will last for a full decade.”
More than double the price of Panasonic’s 103-inch plasma, the BeoVision 4 is making the rounds in New York and Chicago, and was fittingly shown off to reporters at the Aston Martin Beverly Hills.
The slick plasma screen weighs 580 pounds and can be wall-mounted ($93,050) or placed on a motorized floor stand ($111,805). When powered on, the floor version rises up on motorized mounts and a large, triangular center speaker moves forward underneath. The screen can tilt 20 degrees left or right and 4 degrees back or forth, and along with 1080p picture there’s an integrated ATSC tuner for digital programs in MPEG2 or MPEG4 formats. There are automatic color adjustment features, compensating for the age effects of a plasma screen, and automatic picture controls, which adjust the screen for the lighting in the room. And to truly give its owners that sense they’re at the movies, the BeoVision 4 has electronic curtains that draw back every time it’s turned on.
Bang & Olufsen’s motto is “powerful and discreet,” and depending on your definitions, they at least got it half right with this HDTV. Blu-ray Discs demonstrations of scenes from Quantum of Solace and previews of Transformers and Kung Fu Panda certainly were powerful.
“It’s exciting for us, because for a long, long time, we did not have a really, really large screen for the U.S. market,” Nielsen said. “It’s a great combination of technological excellence and raw power, which is good for the American market.”
With a VIP champagne party planned for later in the day, Nielsen said the company expects to sell a few of the giant HDTVs right away. Others with the money to spend can visit www.bang-olufsen.com to find out how to pre-order their custom BeoVision 4.