Youll Want to Stare at B&Os New 4K Set Even When Its Off

Most televisions, even the most expensive ones, try their hardest to recede into the background. Their job is to be an inky black canvas onto which Michael Bay can paint his most elaborate pyrotechnics. Bang & Olufsens new BeoVision 14 wasnt built to disappear, though. Its a genuine centerpiece.

This isnt B&Os first foray into televisions; the company may be best-known for its audio offerings, but the BeoPlay line has been gracing living rooms and emptying checking accounts—these are pricey, folks—for years. The BeoVision 14 offers all the assertive design of previous generations, including the real oak “lamellae” that cover powerful three-way speakers beneath the rear-array LED display. The sizable speakers give the BeoVision 14 a distinctive square look, and the mixed materials stand out in a sea of invisi-bezels.

Bang & Olufsen

Its fortunate that the BeoVision 14 looks so good, because as an actual television theres not much that stands out. Its a 4K display, which at this point a flagship needs to be, but its incapable of displaying HDR video, arguably a more important future-proofing spec. Its two available sizes, 40 and 55 inches, are enough to feel substantial, but thats about as small as most high-end televisions start. You also wont appreciate much of that 4K effect on the 40-inch version.

On the plus side is the inclusion of Android TV, which means that the BeoVision 14 will not only have solid firmware running the show, but access to features like Google Cast, the easiest way to beam content from your smartphone to your big screen. It also claims to have anti-reflective front glass and a light sensor that adjusts the image based on ambient light. Claims like that often end up landing in the gimmick column, however. It may well work! But believe it when you see it.

The spec sheet alone doesnt seem to justify the price—$6,700 for the 40-inch and $9,300 for the 55-inch—but the BeoVision 14 pretty clearly isnt about specs. Its about reclaiming the space you normally reserve for your television from the void, and turning it into something you like looking at even when theres nothing on at all.

Read more: http://www.wired.com/2016/08/beovision-14/