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A wireless sound system is B&O's future platform

05 Nov 2013 | Rasmus Larsen |

Bang & Olufsen has unveiled their new wireless high-end sound system that will serve as the platform of the future. Three new speakers based on the wireless system have been announced, but the BeoVision 11 TV has also arrived in an updated version with a complete 7.1 wireless surround module built in.

Immaculate Wireless Sound is the future

Bang & Olufsen announced the new wireless sound system in September, and at a big launch event the Danish manufacturer has unveiled the BeoLab 17, BeoLab 18 and BeoLab 19 speakers built on the new wireless sound system.

Even though the launch event was focused on the new speakers, Bang & Olufsen made it very clear that the they believe it is the biggest innovation from Bang & Olufsen for several years. The wireless system will be deeply integrated into B&O’s products, and it will open up entirely new possibilities in your living room. Your speaker setup will no longer be limited by cables, and speakers can be placed more freely (power cable is still required), allowing you to add surround speakers without the cable clutter.

BeoLab 18
BeoLab 18 is one of the new wireless speakers – but not only speakers will cut the wires

- "Immaculate Wireless Sound is the biggest innovation from Bang & Olufsen for several years and will form the backbone for a launch of several new speaker products later this year," said Tue Mantoni, CEO of Bang & Olufsen.

"Immaculate Wireless Sound is the biggest innovation from Bang & Olufsen for several years"
The system is based on an open standard called WiSA. Bang & Olufsen has been a driving force in the development of WiSA, and is therefore the first company to launch products based on the new technology. They encourage other players in the industry to embrace the technology in for example AV receivers, Blu-ray players, Smart TVs and more. At the same time B&O believe that their tight product integration is the perfect place to start, and they see Immaculate Wireless Sound as the direct successor to the PowerLink cable platform.

The wireless technology is unique for several reasons. It can transfer uncompressed wireless 24-bit audio, which is why B&O calls it a high-end system. It transmits in the 5.2 to 5.8 GHz frequency band, which means that devices such as WiFi routers, microwave ovens, door bells and other electronics devices will not interfere with the signal. It supports a full 7.1 surround setup; 7 speakers and 1 subwoofer. Latency is fixed and less than 5 milliseconds, which means that B&O can compensate for the fixed delay in the code and ensure that all speakers play in perfect harmony. No other wireless audio system can do that for surround.

The system can also dynamically switch between wireless channels in real time to ensure a perfect signal. As a user you can just sit back and listen; the system automatically takes care of everything.

Bang & Olufsen has named the technology Immaculate Wireless Sound.

Wireless sound in the BeoVision 11

As announced, Bang & Olufsen has integrated IWS into its three new speakers, but those are not the only products that will benefit from the technology. Starting now, the BeoVision 11 is available in an updated version that has the complete wireless system implemented. It can deliver true wireless 7.1 surround sound in your living room if you own speakers with IWS.

And setup is easier than ever, Bang & Olufsen explains to FlatpanelsHD. Bang & Olufsen says that it is even easier to set up new wireless speakers than wired PowerLink speakers.

- "BeoVision 11 automatically scans the room for wireless speakers and subwoofers, when it is set up. During this process you can assign a role, for example front speaker" said Ole Moltsen, Product Manager at Bang & Olufsen to FlatpanelsHD.

Ole Moltsen adds that Bang & Olufsen speakers with IWS automatically identify themselves to the BeoVision 11 TV so it can optimize sound for the specific speaker. Say you have two BeoLab 18 speakers and the BeoLab 19 subwoofer connected wirelessly to the BeoVision 11, the built-in bass management system will automatically let the speaker - or speakers – with the best bass unit, play the bass.

In fact you can connect up to 18 speakers to the BeoVision 11 TV by combining wireless and wired speakers (8 wireless and 10 wired), according to B&O. However, you can still only assign 7.1 surround roles, so in this case you would have to assign the front left role to two speakers, the front right role to 2 speakers and so on. This is only possible with the BeoVision 11 right now.

BeoVision 11
A new version of the BeoVision 11 has the transmitter built in

To benefit from the new wireless module in the BeoVision 11 you will obviously also need some of the new wireless speakers, but starting next year B&O will sell a small receiver module that can be connected to the back of existing speakers and let BeoVision 11 communicate with them.

A transmitter module also exists, and is available now. The transmitter module can be connected to existing B&O sound systems or BeoVision TVs, even products from other manufacturers. In fact you can create a completely wireless sound setup at home, just by buying enough transmitter and receiver modules. The add-on modules allow owners of the BeoPlay V1 and BeoVision 12 NG to retrofit wireless sound. Bang & Olufsen has made a deliberate choice in not implementing the system in for example the BeoVision 12 NG and other products that are based on the BeoSystem box. These systems are often connected via a separate equipment room or installation hub. By using the external transmitter that can be placed freely, B&O can ensure optional wireless connectivity even if your BeoSystem box is placed far away from the speakers.

BeoVision 11
BeoVision 11 can wirelessly communicate with the BeoLab 17 speakers and the BeoLab 19 subwoofer

  • The BeoVision 11 TV that is available in stores now has the wireless 7.1 module built in.
  • The BeoLab Transmitter 1 is available in stores now.
  • The BeoLab Receiver (a 8x8x3 cm module + external power adaptor) will be available in early 2014.

    BeoVision 11 is just the beginning of wireless connectivity in the BeoVision TVs. The new wireless sound system is the platform for future Bang & Olufsen products. And with a wireless sound system this capable, one can only speculate what it will do in the future. Is the next step from Bang & Olufsen wireless video? We are excited to see how far the Danish electronics maker can take it.

    Learn more about Immaculate Wireless Sound at B&O's web site.

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