The BeoVision 4 From Bang & Olufsen: Rapture on the "Small" Screen for $112,000
The New American Heritage dictionary defines the adjective "superlative" as: "Of the highest order, quality, or degree; superior to all others; 2. Excessive or exaggerated." The third entry should read "The BeoVision 4." The television from Bang & Olufsen presents these credentials: it spans 103 inches; the screen alone weighs 580 pounds, the floor-standing base adds another 600; when the BeoVision 4 isn't being viewed the screen lowers itself to the floor via dual gas shocks and actuators, hiding the center speaker; sixteen years of research have gone into it; oh, and it costs $112,000.
Luxist recently took a trip to Beverly Hills Aston Martin to get a good look at just how much TV you could get for the price of an Aston Martin V8 Vantage. The story is here.
Gallery: Bang & Olufsen BeoVision 4
The BeoVision4 is to televisions what the Taj Mahal is to mausoleums. Fashioned from iron, sun-polished aluminum, chemically-hardened glass, and painted stainless steel, the BeoVision 4 is a 103-inch monument to what is otherwise called "the small screen." That moniker is, admittedly, a little out of place here.
When not in use BV4 rests a couple of inches off the ground. Given the command to "Let there be light" the screen ascends about 15 inches and the BeoLab 10 center channel speaker emerges, stepping forward to a position flush with the aluminum frame. As the BeoSystem 3 picture and surround sound engine are activated, the ebony screen comes to life and, in a cinematic flourish an electronic curtain is pulled aside to reveal the picture.
The BeoVision 4 employs several techniques to make sure that picture remains superlative now and for years to come, among them: automatic picture control monitors ambient light in the viewing room and adapts the picture; a robotic arm that drops from the aluminum frame tunes the television at periodic intervals in order to manage color and compensate for an aging plasma screen's tendency to produce increasingly yellow pictures; via the remote, the screen turns up to 20 degrees and tilts up to four degrees. All to ensure you don't ever miss a single vibrant pixel of Hung.
The picture is, as one might expect of such a nonpareil, phenomenal. Bang & Olufsen is said to have put 16 years into the research and it comes through in the liquidity of its colors, the range of its contrast, and crisply rendered motion. Watch Goldfinger and you'll not only be able to tell whether Auric used 18 or 24-carat gold to paint Jill Masterton, you'll divine the thread count of the sheets she's lying on. Watch Transformers 2 and it still won't make any sense, but it will look stupendous – you might even find yourself checking for Autobot parts on the carpet after fight scenes. The BV4 should, in fact, come with a warning to let you know that after prolonged viewing, actual life will seem a little, well, duller.
Controlling it is best done with the optional Beo5 remote. The opposite of planned obsolescence, the Beo5 can not only be programmed for current B&O items, you will be able to add commands for products whose features and functions aren't known yet. The touch-sensitive color LCD is customizable – you can even make it Southpaw-friendly – the sensory feedback was tested by NASA, it goes up to twelve days on a single charge, and even with a tungsten-weighted aluminum base it only weighs less than a pound. Combined with the Master Link Gateway, the Beo 5 can operate up to 130 different remote-controlled systems per room, because when Casino Royale is about to start, who wants to close the curtains and turn off the lights by hand?
Because each BV4 is built to order, they won't be on display in showrooms. And because each one weighs 1,180 pounds, you won't be able to simply request one, either; you'll need to have a B&O technician and a structural engineer inspect your house to make sure it can support a ton of television (and you can the cost of that inspection to the price, thank you).
But assuming that you and your home are worthy, your BeoVision 4 can be specced in colors such as black, silver, red, blue, and dark grey. It will arrive around four months later and be installed by men wearing white gloves. If you prefer, you can remove 600 pounds from the heft – and remove $20,000 from the price – if you forgo the floor stand and opt to have the BV4 mounted on the wall.
James Bond once had to stop a man for whom the world was not enough. You will probably find, however, that as far as televisions go, the BeoVision 4 is.