Bang & Olufsen BeoVision 10 LED-LCD TV

When Bang & Olufsen hosts a press event, it doesn't mess around. Last week, the king of Danish A/V design unveiled a new member of its flat-panel lineup at the Kopeikin art gallery in Los Angeles, and journalists got to see the BeoVision 10 in action as we sipped Dom Perignon and nibbled on gouda-apple pizza and other delicacies.

Holding the event at a gallery was no accident—B&O emphasized that the set's design is intended to blend in with other framed art on the wall. Available with a screen measuring 40 or 46 inches diagonally, the BeoVision 10 is only 2.75 inches thick, including the optional wall-mount bracket that lets you swing the TV out from the wall as much as 45 degrees. The screen itself is very reflective, but you can get an anti-reflective coating—on hand were samples with and without this coating, which mitigates the problem only somewhat as far as I could see.

The BeoVision 10's primary video features include LED edge lighting, 1080p resolution, and true 240Hz refresh rate, but it has no internal tuner, since most buyers at this level undoubtedly have cable or satellite service. A function called PUC (Peripheral Unit Controller) integrates the TV's operation with up to four external devices.

As you can see in the photos, the outer frame is nearly square, which accommodates the sound system in the lower half of the set. A pair of 2-inch mids and 1-inch tweeters create a stereo soundfield, while a central, front-ported 4-inch woofer handles the bass with the help of an Adaptive Bass Linearization circuit that is said to maintain an optimum sound pressure level. The drivers are individually equalized and powered by twin 20W ICEpower Class D amps, and all speaker enclosures are suspended in rubber bushings to isolate them from unwanted vibrations. The final touch is a removable grille cloth that lets users change the color to suit their mood or decor. From what I heard at the demo, the sound is certainly superior to that of most TVs, though the hard walls, floor, and ceiling in the gallery made for a challenging acoustic environment.

In terms of picture quality, the BeoVision 10 looked quite good overall—sharp and vibrant. However, the reflective screen was a significant distraction, and the anti-reflective coating was not entirely effective. The demo clips didn't include a lot of dark material, and the brightly lit environment was far from ideal, so it was impossible to fairly evaluate the blacks.

B&O's pricing is rather unusual—the 40-inch BeoVision 10 starts at $6248, while the 46-incher starts at $8355; a complete system with a 40-inch screen, wall mount, anti-reflective coating, and Beo4 remote lists for $7675. That's a lot to pay for a 40-inch TV, but the company is betting that well-heeled buyers will see the value in its design and performance.