May 2019

Bang & Olufsen unveils Harmony OLED fl agship at Milan Design week, Sonos partners with Ikea

 By Steve May

Bang & Olufsen has unveiled its new 4K OLED TV fl agship at Milan Design Week. The 77-inch Beovision Harmony adopts an innovative space- saving design, that left visitors to the show agape. When switched Off, the bulk of the Harmony screen

sits behind a wood and aluminium sound system enclosure. Powered up, this splits in two and fans out, allowing the OLED panel to rise to full viewing height. B&O likens the action to a butterfl y unfurling its wings. It’s certainly dramatic, and not a little theatrical. This fi rst model features an oak wood and aluminium

frontage, but when the screen launches, consumers will have the option of a two-tone grey fabric and aluminium fi nish (not recommended for those who own a cat). “The name Harmony relates to the way the TV

reduces space, and blends in with the interior when not in use,” Christoffer Østergaard Poulsen, VP Head of Product, told ERT. That, and the fact that when you’re in front of the screen with friends and family, you’re in a state of harmony...” Designer Torsten Valeur said the concept was

inspired by his time working at an amusement park in Copenhagen.

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“There was an old theatre there, which featured a big mechanical peacock whose tail opened and closed,” he said. The idea has been around for years, but needed the thin glass of OLED to work. In many ways, the Harmony is Bang & Olufsen’s

answer to LG’s rollable OLED proposition, seen at CES. Both seek to reduce the footprint of over-large panels. While the fl oor would seem the obvious resting place, the Harmony can also be wall-mounted – although the lifting mechanism means it won’t sit close to the wall. When in repose, the Beovision Harmony can function

as a high-end music system, with integrated Bluetooth. Those bits of the screen still visible relate track and artist information. Each of the set’s three speaker drivers has its own 150W amplifi er. The TV also has a 7.1 surround sound decoder, and

can be partnered with exterior Beolab speakers, wired or wireless, to create a full-blown home cinema experience. The set also integrates with the brand’s multiroo m wireless ecosystem. While the sound system is pure Bang & Olufsen, the panel is a C9 supplied by LG. The Beovision Harmony will retail for around £16,500 when it goes on sale in October. Still at concept stage, Bang & Olufsen also presented

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a new speaker concept at the Wallpaper* Handmade X exhibition. Produced in collaboration with designer Germans Ermis, it’s a circular sound system that plays music and adjusts volume, according to how it’s stroked.

Sonos partners with Swedish giant Also at Milan Design Week, wireless speaker maker Sonos partnered with fl atpack furniture king Ikea to reveal a new line of Sonos-compatible wireless speakers, to be sold through Ikea stores under the Symfonisk brand. There are two models, a combi speaker table lamp

and a slim bookshelf model. The latter can be mounted vertically or horizontally. To emphasise its versatility, Ikea demonstrated the bookshelf speaker in kitchen, lounge and bedroom environments. The partnership is a smart move for Sonos, given the

huge global distribution Ikea has, and seems certain to help it deepen its category penetration. Neither wireless speaker has an integrated

microphone, but they can be used with Amazon Alexa. Google Assistant support is also incoming. Both Symfonisk models can be controlled via the

Sonos app, and are compatible with all other Sonos multiroom speakers. They’ll sell for 179 euros and 100 euros respectively.


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