B&O BeoVision 11 review

Bang & Olufson's latest TV delivers luxurious looks and performance

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Our Verdict

With its grand-standing design, exquisite build quality, healthy feature count and best of all brilliant picture, this is a great, if expensive, TV

For

  • Outstanding picture quality
  • Even better sound quality
  • Stunning luxury design
  • System integration capabilities

Against

  • Expensive
  • Limited online services
  • Some control complexities
  • Minor motion issues

Whenever you're talking about a Bang & Olufsen TV, two things are certain. First, it will enjoy a truly unique design and build quality. Second, it will cost far more than a similarly sized TV from any other brand you might care to mention. And so it is with the 40-inch Bang & Olufsen BeoVision 11, a luxury TV that costs an eye-watering £5,250 (around US$7,972 / AU$7,622) or more and looks like no other TV around right now.

The key feature of its design is that it places the 40-inch screen above a large panel containing a speaker system so potent it might humble a few audio separates, and then surrounds the whole lot with a strikingly bold metallic outer frame.

In the configuration we tested, this framed monolith was then mounted on a tilting bracket attached to a beautifully engineered, mechanically rotatable circular floor stand.

You can even customise the TV set's design to some extent, in ways we'll discuss in the Features section.

Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 11 review

Buying Guide
best tv
Best TV

Otherwise, so far as more mainstream pricing is concerned, we guess Samsung and Panasonic deliver the most aesthetically exciting new TVs, with models such as the Panasonic TX-L47ET60B and Samsung UE55F8000

Features

Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 11 review

There are multiple mounting options too. We used the gorgeous £725 (around US$1,102 / AU$1,052) circular and incredibly well made metal floor stand, upon which the TV can be rotated left or right via the remote. But there's also a £725 motorised wall mount option, a £365 (around US$555 / AU$530) non-motorised wall mount, and a £365 easel stand.

Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 11 review

While we're on the subject of optional extras, you can build a 500GB hard disk recorder into the TV for £599 (around US$910 / AU$869), while the glasses you need to get to enjoy the TV's 3D playback - which uses the Full HD active system - cost £120 (around US$182 / AU$174) a pop.

Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 11 review

The television contains a remarkable group of six 32W class D amps, with the built-in speaker configuration comprising 3/4-inch tweeters, 2-inch mid-range drives and a 4-inch woofer for each stereo channel.

The TV has three picture modes, including a Game one that removes as much processing as possible to keep input lag low; a Movie mode that's built around the 6500K colour temperature generally accepted as producing the best video results; and an intriguing Adaptive setting with which the TV takes into account a bewildering number of factors in trying to optimise the picture automatically.

Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 11 review

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Part of the functionality behind this Adaptive mode is a sensor built into the TV's top edge that's capable of assessing light levels in a full 360-degree arc so that it can deliver a much more accurate calculation than most TVs' auto-picture settings of how to tweak the picture's colour, contrast and brightness settings in response to your room's lighting conditions.

You can even tell the TV how far away from it your main viewing position is, so that it can further adapt its settings accordingly.

Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 11 review

We were also very impressed to find the TV's connections including an unprecedented six HDMI inputs, one of which you can access by popping out a little panel from just behind the TV's top edge. This is a great option for people wanting to temporarily attach a portable HDMI device, such as a digital camcorder.

Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 11 review

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The only video streaming services of note in the UK are BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Euronews and iConcerts. There's no Netflix, no Lovefilm, no Blinkbox, no Acetrax, no ITVPlayer, no Demand 5… This really does put the set at a disadvantage in what's an increasingly important part of TV functionality.

Other apps include Funspot, Picasa, an internet browser, Facebook, and TomTom HD Traffic, but that really is about it so far as interesting stuff goes.

Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 11 review

First, as well as manually being able to rotate the TV on its stand via the remote, you can put preset angles into the TV for its on and off state, so that the TV can, say, turn back flat to a wall when you turn it off and rotate smoothly around to face you when you turn it back on.

Next, when you turn the TV off, the picture gradually disappears behind a pair of sliding black digital curtains rather than just flicking immediately off. And finally, as the virtual curtains draw across the screen, the sound also fades gradually away rather than just instantly disappearing.

As we said, this all sounds a bit gimmicky on paper. But in the flesh it feels like finery that no posh television should be without.