ENGADGET | Bang & Olufsen’s gorgeous OLED TV has ‘wing’ speakers that fold out.
Samsung and Huawei’s folding smartphones can’t have all the fun. Bang & Olufsen’s Beovision Harmony is its latest high-end TV design that uses a 77-inch LG OLED TV (nice choice right there), wrapped in a very stylish frame and audio package that feels somewhere between a pop-up book mechanism and a butterfly wing. Made from oak and aluminum, the pair of fronts disguise the giant screen by partially covering it with an eye-catching teak oak and aluminum design, or a more restrained two-tone fabric and aluminum effect.
Switch on the Harmony, and then the expensive magic happens, as those speaker screens fold away as the TV rises. It’s not a roll-up TV, but it is yet another attempt by a TV designer to make these devices less of an awkward black box. With the Harmony, your TV is almost statement furniture. It’s the opposite of Samsung’s Frame TV — you can’t miss it.
According to B&O VP Christoffer Østergaard Poulsen, the motion of the speaker wings was inspired by butterfly wings, challenging its designers and engineers to craft the motion needed neatly allow the wings to meet up. Torsten Valeur, of Valeur Designs, was responsible for the concept and worked with B&O engineers to make it a reality. “I wanted to get this kind of symmetric movement .. that indicates something special is about to happen.
“In the movement itself, it’s important to see the transparent air between the shapes. This makes it all look light”, he added.
Here in Milan, Bang & Olufsen showed off the Harmony for the first time, running technical demos consisting of sound tests and a bubbly OLED screen saver on the 77-inch screen.
I was seated in front of the Harmony, flanked by two BeoSound substantial speakers. The Harmony’s own audio held its own. The TV is capable of three-channel audio, but can be linked with surround sound speakers to create up to 7.1 surround sound — and up to eight wired speakers.
I asked if the team had considered creating the folding speaker screens without involving a giant TV –something that people could buy to upgrade the looks (and sound) of their existing TVs. Apparently, that’s more complicated than it sounds. Different TV models, let alone makers, position ports and power in different places. B&O’s Poulsen added that because the company wanted to focus on the whole experience, it had to continue with its LG partnership, which has been running for several years. This ensures that B&O are able to control the various elements that are involved in the Harmony.
Besides all that, in motion, the Harmony is a beautiful sight to behold, but you know there’s a caveat coming, right?
The Beovision Harmony will cost a dream-crushing 18,500 Euros (around $20,755), when it launches in Bang and Olufsen stores in October 2019.