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Bang & Olufsen BeoVision 7

An LCD television aimed at audiophiles, BeoVision 7 integrates Bang & Olfusen's BeoLab 7 loudspeakers to make it surely one of the best sounding TVs on the market.

Upside
Stepping up size-wise from the BeoVision 6 22- and 26-inch models, Bang & Olufsen's new BeoVision 7 is a 32-inch (80 cm) LCD television that boasts an integrated DVD player, and a digital surround sound module with a  three-way stereo loudspeaker system. With B&O's audio heritage, it's the sound system that really makes this TV stand out from the rest.

The loudspeaker cabinet is cast in a single piece of aluminium, fronted by a natural-coloured anodised aluminium grill. The loudspeaker is mounted separately and extends beyond the width of the picture screen. (It can also be purchased as a stand-alone unit for use with other B&O televisions).

This unit contains six separate speakers -- two tweeters, two mid-range and two down-firing bass drivers - each with its own digital amplifier, to push out a total of 750W for the entire system. The loudspeaker is equipped with thermal protection circuits and Active Bass Linearisation (ABL), which B&O says minimises distortion, even at high volumes. Each loudspeaker is individually calibrated to the same standard prior to leaving the factory and has two bass presets for room adaptation and for wall or freestanding placement.

The black-bordered LCD panel is produced by Samsung, but made to order to B&O specifications and incorporates Bang & Olufsen's picture optimising technologies. It automatically adjusts picture quality to match the light conditions of the room. An anti-reflection coating on the contrast screen also reduces the effect of incoming light on the screen to improve daylight viewing.

To give it a Bang & Olufsen "feel", the DVD/CD slot located beneath the screen slides forward and opens via a touch sensitive button, then retracts back into the unit when in operation.

The BeoVision 7 includes an integrated surround sound decoder so it can drive a complete Dolby Digital or DTS home theatre set-up using B&O speakers. It also has connections for earphones, external entertainment sources and a digital video interface for PCs. You can control all integrated devices through the BeoVision 7 remote. The BeoVision 7 can connect into any home integration system with other BeoLink-enabled Bang & Olufsen audio and loudspeaker products.

Downside
Great looks and sound aside, the downside of it all is what you won't get in terms of newer generation technology - it comes only with an analog tuner. You can hook up an SD digital set top box, DVD recorder or Foxtel, but that naturally diminishes the visual impact of this integrated system.

Nor is there an HDMI connection - you'll have to wait for later incarnations to use the latest digital standard.

You must purchase one of Bang & Olufsen's four table, wall or floor stands to accommodate the down-firing speakers. The remote control also operates the motorised side-to side screen tilts, but vertical screen adjustments must be made manually.

And note that if you want to hook this set up to your existing surround sound system, it will only play nicely with other Bang & Olfsen speakers.

Outlook
Apparently B&O has already received 30 pre-orders for the BeoVision 7, so you'll have to get into one of the company's 17 Australian showrooms to get on what will initially be a three month waiting list.

Depending on what stand you choose, this television will set you back between AU$15,495 and AU$15,995, which is a big ask for a 32-inch screen, but price has never been a deterrent to those hungry for Bang & Olufsen style and quality.

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