B&O's new 40in set startles with its AV performance and its more-than-£5,000 price tag...
While Bang & Olufsen products are extremely expensive, they’re also generally world-class performers. And the brand’s new BeoVision 11-40 40in TV – starting price £5,250 – continues that high-quality trend.
The TV boasts an iconic monolithic design, which finds the screen actually only occupying around two-thirds of the TV’s height. The bottom third is given over to an unprecedented audio system comprising multiple Class D amps and an array of eight drivers.
The whole monolith is wrapped around with a thick chrome frame, and can be attached to various mounts, including a wall bracket and a mechanically rotating floor stand. You can also choose colour options for the main chassis and the felt speaker cover.
Other key features include the facility to connect up to 10 external speakers, and an audio processing ‘brain’ that supports pretty much every surround sound format. You can even establish up to nine different zonal arrangements for your speakers.
The BeoVision 11-40’s Smart TV features are less exciting, though. Multimedia playback from USB sticks and networked PCs is fine, but online services are limited, with only the BBC iPlayer, Euronews, iConcerts and YouTube standing out.
The BeoVision 11-40 is Active 3D-capable (though you get no free glasses), and sports an automatic picture adjustment system hand-tuned by a bevy of B&O picture experts. This human input pays off, too, as the automatic picture adjuster produces some gorgeous images.
The starting point to these is a terrific black level response. During the night scene in Life Of Pi before the luminous whale erupts from the sea, the darkness is richly rendered, with practically none of LCD’s rogue greyness. This blackness provides an impressive foundation for the set’s colours, so that when the whale does emerge it’s a spectacular sight.
The edge LED light-handling retains plenty of punch in the bright parts of predominantly dark pictures, and the colour boldness helps Life of Pi’s daytime ocean footage look suitably ravishing, especially as B&O’s eye for the finer things in life ensures there’s oodles of subtle colour information. The screens also shows an astute appreciation for sharpness, always delivering fine details but never pushing it so far the picture becomes noisy or uneven.
Minor problems are occasional and subtle backlight clouding, especially while watching 3D, and some marginal motion blur – again with 3D. Despite that, the stereoscopic encode of Life of Pi looks great overall. Strong contrast and sharpness help delineate an impressive sense of depth, and detail is largely unsullied by crosstalk ghosting.
Sonically the BeoVision 11-40 is spectacular. Its remarkable speaker array thumps out levels of volume, bass, treble detailing and mid-range openness you won't have heard from a TV before.
Sure, this is expensive, and I feel many would rather spend so much money on a bigger screen, but considered on its own merits as a TV, this B&O is nothing short of outstanding.
B&O BeoVision 11-40
Price: From £5,250 Approx
Highs: Outstanding 2D pictures and very good 3D pictures; gorgeous premium design and build; unbelievable sound quality and sonic flexibility
Lows: It ain’t cheap; not enough Smart TV online services; occasional minor backlight clouding in the corners
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