Hot on the heels of the 'reassuringly' expensive and remarkably accomplished Bang & Olufsen BeoVision 11-40 comes this much more affordable and laid back - literally - B&O 40-inch TV. It boasts impressive picture and sound specifications, but ditches 3D in its bid to keep its price to £2,499.
This price is not, of course, cheap by the standards of the TV world at large. But it’s barely half the price of the BeoVision 11-40, and is probably as cheap as a 40-inch TV from B&O is ever going to get. So if you’ve always wanted the B&O ‘marque’ in your living room but never thought you’d be able to afford it, this could be the telly for you.
Aesthetically the BeoPlay V1 both does look like a Bang & Olufsen product and doesn’t...
The Anders Hermansen design is certainly striking. The fascia is built from sheet metal, from which the holes for the speakers along the bottom edge have been punched out. The metal can be bought coated in either black or white powder-coated finishes, with more colour options possible by inserting coloured fabric sleeves behind the speaker ‘grille’. These sleeves can be red, yellow, green, dark grey or silver, and the effect they can have on the overall design is striking.
There's also a special edition 32-inch version finished in a rich brown colour and equipped with wheels for easy trundling around your home.
Yet more design customisability where the BeoPlay V1’s design is concerned comes from its four potential mounting options. The set can be presented leaning back on a striking metal bar support for desktop use; placed on an extended floorstanding version of the metal bar support; hung on a wall bracket; or hung from the ceiling. Yes, that’s right, hung from the ceiling.
All these options add up to a level of bespoke design choice you simply don’t get with any mainstream TV brands.
So why is the BeoPlay V1 not entirely like a B&O TV? Because if anything its slightly industrial flavour makes it look more like something you might see from rival ‘premium’ brand Loewe. This is hardly a bad thing in one sense, for Loewe’s TVs are gorgeous too. But it is slightly disappointing that B&O hasn’t been able to retain its own unique identity quite as much as usual in the process of heading lower down the price ladder.
Tucked away under a ledge on the V1’s rear is a fair set of connections. The highlight, without doubt, is the provision of five HDMIs where most TVs only run to four.
There’s also support for USB storage devices, a Freeview HD input, and both LAN and built-in Wi-Fi network options. Since November 2012, as well as offering support for the digital tuner and the streaming of video, photo and music files from networked computers this LAN hooks up to B&O’s online platform. You would expect this from a TV at the V1 40's price level, though it has to be said that B&O's online platform is very low on video streaming support compared with rival platforms.
It's worth stressing that the V1 40 lets you stream from two different devices at once - playing music from your PC while watching a slideshow streamed your phone, for instance.
The DLNA compatibility is OK, though we should say that while we got an iPhone talking just fine to the BeoPlay V1, we couldn’t get it to ‘see’ content on a new Sony Xperia Z.
As noted earlier, if you want to get your hands on a B&O TV on the relative ‘cheap’ you have to make do without 3D. Though we suspect this loss won't trouble many readers all that much...