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Beats: Audio is the ‘bastard step child’ of the TV market

Luke Johnson



As TV visuals continue to improve with the birth of 4K sets, sound specialist Beats has bemoaned the state of audio in the TV space.

Claiming that sound quality has been overlooked in a bid to focus on improved visuals and ever slimmer panels, Beats President and COO Luke Wood has described audio as the ‘bastard step child’ of the TV market.

Question on whether Beats is looking at ways to improve audio performances in the TV market, Wood, speaking exclusively with TrustedReviews, stated: “Yeah. I think it is an area where every audio company is focused.”

He added: “It is very similar to what has happened around tablets and around computers. As the screens have become smaller – and the focus is always more on display – audio is like the bastard step child that everyone ignores until the last.

Detailing the audio issues which have befallen the TV space, Wood pointed out how the constant push for slimmer televisions has forced audio quality to diminish.

“There is an absolutely fetishistic desire in the TV business to get the screen as thin as humanly possible,” he told us. “For audio you need to push air and you need room for the transducer and you need space. The two are kind of at diabolical opposite ends.”

Although the Beats head would not be drawn on any specific future product plans, questioned on where the company can expand next, he stated, as part of an expansive list of possibilities, “TVs and soundbars are important.”

He added: “I think this needs to be solved and I think every consumer wants it to be solved.

“The concept with TVs is that people would put the TV in and then get a soundbar or have a home theatre, but the truth is a lot of people just put the TV in. It is a lot to ask for consumers to figure out an audio solution that is quite technical. I think you need to simplify it and give them something elegant and easy.”

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June 5, 2014, 5:33 pm

I've been saying this for years. The insistence that TVs should just act like large computer monitors and be as thin as them too, has eroded the fundamental concept of a television being an audio/video machine. Instead, manufacturers just adopted an attitude of, "Sod it. They can buy our speakers if they care," even although they've been short changing people on half the expected experience.

The critical community have played along with this too going into immense technical detail about the visuals, while comments addressing the integrated audio amount to, "Tinny. Could do better." The amount of scrutiny on this quite serious shift in the market has been surprisingly low in my view.

With so much emphasis on design and style now, why has no one questioned the aesthetic of thinking the set stops where the screen stops? Surely if you just extend the thin wall-like form factor off to each side, that would be dedicated space to house the speakers? It would make the overall set wider, but not necessarily thicker. Or even make the stand or part of the bezel a high quality soundbar? The truncation in innovation in this space reeks of upselling rather than any genuine technical barriers.


June 5, 2014, 10:05 pm

So I'm guessing he supports traditional marriage?

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