Last month, we visited the Aston Martin dealership in Beverly Hills to get a peek at the Bang & Olufsen 103” Plasma high definition television. They had to schedule the demonstration in a car dealership due to the impressive weight. The massive behemoth of a HDT V weighs 584 pounds (TV only) and over 1200 pounds if the motorized stand is included. It requires five movers to deliver and install the television, only if the house’s foundation & structure passes muster from a qualified house inspector. It’s no wonder that they needed the flooring support capable of handling the various Aston Martin vehicles in the immediate area.
The viewing area was framed by a couple BeoLab 5 speakers on the sides and rear of the room. As we sat down for the demonstration, the TV went in the opposite direction; lifting upwards on the motorized stand as it warms up. The center channel speaker (BeoLab 10) moved toward us as the TV reached the appropriate height for viewing. The lift has a built-in safety mechanism that automatically raises the 584 pound television if an object is in the path of the moving TV. The screen came alive in about 20 seconds and fired up a gorgeous 103” picture. I found myself overwhelmed on the first row (about six feet from the television) and immediately wanted to move.
To automate color correction and other settings, the television uses an external camera mounted on a small, robotic arm at the top of the unit. The camera moves forward on the arm and points directly at the screen. A series of black bars appears on the screen and the color temperature is adjusted accordingly. The correction is activated every 100 hours that the TV has been in use (100,000 hour life expectancy). Additionally, a small dome in the top right hand corner of the TV automatically detects changes in lighting conditions and adjusts the brightness / contrast levels to match the exterior lighting.
The television has an integrated ATSC tuner for MPEG4 formats in high definition (1920 x 1080). It uses a similar system found in other B&O television models, the Beosystem 3 video platform. The B&O reps fired up a few demonstration clips: a custom video laden with tons of CGI, the car chase scene from Quantum of Solace and the 2 trailers; Kung Fu Panda to show off high-contrast, colorful animation and Transformers to demo the detailed picture quality. When finished with the television, black bars that cover the height of the screen slide to the center from each side. It’s very much like a movie theater closing curtains. There’s also nifty keychain integration for those interested in home automation. Imagine walking into our home after a long day at work and hitting your keychain to power up your 103” plasma television.
Bang & Olufsen is targeting home installations as well as commercial installs such as board rooms. From the time that the consumer orders the panel, there is a 3 to 4 month wait period to have is installed at the home. There is an extensive checklist for the structural engineer to verify before approving a 1,200 pound television being delivered into a private home; which are transported on heavy duty cargo planes. They can be ordered in five different colors: black, red, silver, blue and grey. The television will put you back a very steep $93,050 plus another $18,755 if you want to include the motorized stand in the package deal. Check out some shots from the event: