B&O Beoplay V1 review: Hands-on

Oh what a feeling, a TV that hangs from the ceiling…

What is a hands on review?
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Bang and Olufsen officially introduced its first full HDTV, in the form of the B&O BeoPlay V1, with integrated ICEpower speaker technology this week which also makes room for an Apple TV in the back.

Part of B&O’s new Play range the V1 is available in 32 and 42-inch models and to own one you can expect to pay a premium price. We got a look at the new V1 to see what the stylish looking telly/speaker combo was made of.

B&O BeoPlay V1 TV: Build

Big black box this most certainly is not, the V1 owes its unique design to Danish furniture designer Anders Hermansen. Said to have been inspired by the way he saw paper being folded in Japan, the result is two sheets of steel metal folded that host the screen panel in place.

Pushing the idea of flexibility in the way you can position the TV, you can place it on a table or floor stand, mount it on the wall, or suspend it from the ceiling with specially designed anchors. B&O claims this method is ideal for seated viewing or watching from your bed.

The speaker which runs along the bottom of the cabinet can also be personalised with a selection of replaceable fabric speaker grilles that include green, red and grey with more colours set to be introduced.

B&O BeoPlay V1 TV: Features

Powering the V1’s audio is B&O’s proprietary ICEPower amplifier technology that we’ve already seen inside the likes of the Asus Automobil Lamborghini Eee PC VX6S laptop to deliver room-filling sound without having to add extra speakers or sub woofers, although there is capacity to add additional speakers too.

Samsung provides the screen panel technology which is a 100Hz (120Hz for 42-inch) panel boasting full HD 1080p, Edge LED backlight technology and a host of picture perfecting modes like the Automatic picture control sensor which enables the screen to adapt to lighting conditions in a room to deliver the optimal performance.

B&O said it has no plans to make the TV 3D ready as it believes the size options available just wouldn't be suitable for the immersive screen technology.

Rumours of an Apple iTV launching this year continue to swirl around the web, but the V1 offers an Apple TV experience of sorts with room at the back of the cabinet that you can tuck away the hockey puck looking streaming device which can be fully integrated into the unit.

The V1 setup also includes an aluminium designed remote control that can also be configured to support third party devices like the latest Apple TV or a PlayStation 3.

B&O BeoPlay V1 TV: Specs

On the connectivity front, there's a small hub that slots into the back of the cabinet which takes care of wireless support for Blu-ray players, games consoles and set-top boxes as well as DLNA certified devices and media servers like PC and Macs.There’s also 5 HDMI inputs and one USB connection which should come in handy for looking at your holiday pics.

Freeview HD is also on board, while the Apple love-in continues with the ability to stream content from your iPad. A free app available on the App Store adds remote control functionality from your tablet.

B&O BeoPlay V1 TV Performance

Unsurprisingly, the V1 sounds pretty amazing and definitely supports the claim that the speakers are powerful enough to fill a room.

Demonstrating a live Adele concert on Blu-ray, the ICEPower amplifier technology really comes to the fore in terms of loudness while backlighting technology and anti-glare nature of the panel made for great viewing angles but this was of course in optimal viewing conditions which won’t be the case for every living room.

B&O BeoPlay V1 TV Verdict

The V1 certainly makes a good first impression both from a sound perspective and its undeniably sleek looks, but we’d definitely need to spend some more time sitting in front of the screen to decide whether Bang and Olufsen has ticked both boxes. The idea of trying to deliver the complete package reminds us a lot of the Bose Videowave, but while Bose were cagey about its screen technology, the panel used for the V1 looks far more promising.

While B&O are pitching the V1 as part of its ‘affordable’ range, at just under £2000 for the 32-inch model it still seems like a lot of money. Stay tuned to T3 for a full review before deciding whether to empty your bank account.

B&O BeoPlay V1 availability: Available now

B&O BeoPlay V1 price: £1,999 (32-inch), £2,499 (40-inch)

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view.