The Top Ten Bang & Olufsen Televisions of All Time
Echo14's list of The Top Ten Bang & Olufsen Televisions of All Time has been compiled though the opinions of Bang & Olufsen dealers, customers and industry professionals. Although Bang & Olufsen television models often have several variations, we have only included one type of each model in our list.
10. BeoVision 9 50” Mark IV
This 50” plasma television evolved from the earlier BeoVision 5 design, and small changes made a big difference to the television. The screen was bigger in proportion to the speaker, and the aluminium bezel was rounded and had a pearlescent rather than brushed finish. Its innovation Automatic Colour Management camera would appear every 100 times the TV was turned off, and check the picture was configured correctly. It had the Acoustic Lens Centre Speaker, which eliminated the troublesome sweet spot of treble frequencies. The BeoSystem 3 electronics gave all the inputs and speaker connections you would want. All the generations of this television are great, Mark IV released in August 2009 was the best.
9. BeoVision 10 32” Mark IV
In an era of entry level televisions such as the BeoVision 8, and top of the range BeoVision 7 and BeoVision 9, the BeoVision 10 was designed to be a “middle” tv in the range. Initially it was launched in a 40” size, the 32” and 46” followed later. Yet unlike in the Goldilocks story, it was the little one that was just right. The 32” dimensions were wonderful, and its brilliant hinge bracket made it perfect for a kitchen or bedroom. The attention to detail in the design is all that you would expect from B&O, close inspection would show that the aluminium surround has two different colours anodised into the metal, silver at the edge and about 4mm of black next to the screen. Great picture and sound, in a wonderful design, the 10 32” still looks and works great in any home. All models are good, the Mark IV has the best screen.
8. BeoVision 11 55” Mark IV
Where the BeoVision 10 32 was all about look, the BeoVision 11 55” was all about the performance. The BeoVision 10 and BeoVision 11 had a very similar external design, but there was a major step up in the electronics. And as a result, the picture quality of the BeoVision 11 55” was staggeringly good. There were four generations of this TV, as expected the latest model was the best.
7. BeoVision MX4000
There were many MX television variants, starting from the MX2000 in 1986. What was radical about the MX range was not the screen technology, but the design of the cabinet. Rather than a rectangular TV with a wooden cabinet, the MX design was squarer, with the speaker beneath the screen. Instead of wood, it has a plastic surround in a range of colours, with fabulous black fins where the cabinet narrowed around the stem of the tube. It MX televisions came in many sizes, 15”, 20”, 21” and 28” and a variety of speaker configurations. The best of all was the MX4000, it was only 41cm deep (how times have changed) therefore could fit on to bookcases, bedside cabinet, kitchens surfaces as a cool bit of high-tech design rather than an ugly dust magnet. The later MX4200 has a flatter screen, but somehow this variant lost some of its laidback cool.
6. BeoVision 12 65 Mark II
It is true, the light that burns twice as bright burns half as long. The BeoVision 12 65 was a breathtaking television, that graced the Bang & Olufsen range for only two years. The ultra-slim plasma has an integrated speaker, with a sinewave curved in the aluminium and the grill pierced in an exquisite geometric shape. Film lovers adored the picture quality, the BeoSystem 4 electronics did all you wanted and more, this was a truly great TV. Both Mark I and Mark II were great, but only the Mark II (called New Generation at the time) could take the motorised stand.
5. BeoCenter 1
On paper, nothing about this TV was right. When Bang & Olufsen realised a non-widescreen 25” television with built-in disc player in 1997, the BeoCenter AV5, it was a disaster. Then why did this 25” TV with a disc player built-in, release four year later, work? For one, this TV probably had the greatest analogue picture every produced, and one look would tell you this TV was special. The disc player was now a useful CD/DVD player, rather than the bizarre CD-I player in the AV5, and it disc appear from a hidden panel beneath the screen. The soft touch surround was available in arrange of colours, and the triangular speaker was a nod to the design of the earlier AV9000. At the time, customers avoided the innovative Beo1 remote control, today it is seen as a pioneering bit of design.
4. BeoVision Eclipse 55
Bang & Olufsen’s first OLED TV, the BeoVision Eclipse’s design borrowed heavily from earlier televisions. It has the shape of a BeoVision 11, the wide speaker of a BeoVision 7, the orbit stand from a BeoVision Avant and the wooden cover from a BeoVision 14. Somehow this cut and shunt design really works, especially when the TV is wall mounted. On top of this you get an unbelievable picture quality, a brilliant three-channel speaker and fantastic Apps and features. Owners of BeoVision Eclipse can be justifiably pleased with themselves.
3. BeoVision Avant 75” Mark I
The BeoVision Avant was a dramatic return to form from Bang & Olufsen. When the TV is in standby, the design looks quite basic, but turn the TV on and the B&O magic begins. The speaker drops down, then gets wider, is a quiet and elegant motion. The aluminium marking on the speaker is similar to the earlier BeoLab 3500 speaker, and the Infra-red receiver at the top right is a tip-of-the-hat to the original BeoVision Avant. It was available in 55”, 75” and 85”, the proportions work best on the 75”. The orbit floor stand is more impressive than the wall mount. Also, it is one of the rare occasions where the earlier model is the best, the Mark I has the B&O electronics (rather than Android) and probably the better picture.
2. BeoVision Avant 32” DVD RF
The original BeoVision Avant is the most popular B&O television of all time. It was first available in a 28” size in 1995, with a built-in VCR, and in 1998 the 32” version was released. It was a major upgrade in late 2001 that saw the best variant of this model released. The Avant 32” DVD RF got both the real flat screen, rather than the slight curve of all previous model, and the option of a DVD rather than a VCR. As well as playing movies, you could play CDs as well through the brilliant built-in speakers. The TV has the electronic “curtains” when the TV turns on and off, motorised cabinet as standard and the introduction of Set-Top-Box-Control, so that the Sky box could be hidden away and operated from the B&O remote control. This variation was so good, it remained in the product range almost unchanged for the next five years.
1. BeoVision 7 55” Mark II
The BeoVision 7 was launched in a 32” size in 2004 and was seen as a successor to the BeoVision Avant. The model took a while to get going, the early variants were not HD, and the design with the speaker being wider than the TV was not universally liked. By the time the BeoVision 7 55 was released, 5 generation of revisions had led to what would be Bang & Olufsen’s best ever television. The standard of the build was extraordinary. The speaker was in a wooden cabinet, with a heat pressed plastic over the top. The aluminium surrounding the television was all brushed in the same direction, even when the metal sections met at right angles. The television has two motors, to both turn and tilt the television. Many of these refinements would never be seen on Bang & Olufsen televisions again. But most important was the technology that generated the picture. The screen has LED backlighting, with localised dimming, which with other automated adjustments gave phonemical image quality – unrivalled at the time of production. Only two generations were released, of which the MK ii is the best option.
There are many televisions that did not make our top ten but deserve an honourable mention. The BeoVision AV9000 was the first B&O television with surround sound processor built-in, and the only model with real built-in curtains that closed when the TV is turned off. The BeoVision 3200 SJ was the last B&O TV using valve technology and had a market leading picture quality. The BeoVision 8902 which not only could store up to 32 channels in its microprocessor, but the user could recall them with a remote control. Do you agree with our top ten? We would love to know your opinion. With the imminent launch of the BeoVision Harmony 77”, will it go straight to the top of this list?