Interview with Tue Mantoni, Bang & Olufsen’s CEO

Back in October last year we were lucky enough to be invited to the launch of Bang & Olufsen’s first Smart TV, the BeoVision 11 in their home in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Be sure to checkout our coverage of the event, and our hands on video of the BeoVision 11!)

The impressive event launched a new HDTV which was equally as impressive as the day. During our time there we were honored to be invited to an exclusive interview with Bang & Olufsen’s CEO, Tue Mantoni.

Here at HDTV News after some delay (corrupt memory card) we’re proud to bring you our interview with Tue Mantoni about the Bang & Olufsen BeoVision 11, ICEPower, and the new BeoPlay category.

Tue Mantoni

Tue Mantoni

Tue Mantoni: Have you been around the different workshops, on sound etc?

HDTV News: Oh yes I have, the sound is absolutely amazing. I love it.

HDTV News: I was blown away with the sound of the BeoPlay V1 when I reviewed it, and this is the next level up (referring to the BeoVision 11).

HDTV News: I have some technical questions, my readers are all about the details. The BeoVision 11 is clearly LED lit, is it side lit or backlit?

Tue Mantoni: The BeoVision 11 is LED side lit.

HDTV News: Can you reveal the panel source, is it Samsung?

Tue Mantoni: Yes, it’s a Samsung panel.

HDTV News: ICEPower? Can you tell us more.

Tue Mantoni: ICEPower is a small engineering business that we own, four engineers, they’re based here in Copenhagen, brilliant guys. They make amplifiers. 15% of the sales go to Bang & Olufsen, the rest go to big concerts, musical instrument companies such as Marshall, Fender and so on. They make amplifiers, class D amplifiers that are small in size, but big in volume, and we use ICEPower modules in the BeoVision 11, and I think that’s very important.

HDTV-News: The sound is impressive, very very impressive. In the demonstration I was blow away, and I think it’s very clever how the BeoVision 11 knows which Bang & Olufsen equipment you have set up, and it automatically adapts perfectly. And even when the TV was used by its self (no external speakers), with that amount of people in the room, it worked perfectly.

Tue Mantoni: No problem.

HDTV News: Not at all.

Tue Mantoni: Sound is very important. I think for the TV viewing experience and the film viewing experience, you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of sound.

HDTV News: I’ve reviewed a number of the other HDTVs recently, many have very impressive Smart TV functions. But the sound was very poor in comparison, very tinny, using rear sound projection, so it’s bouncing back.

Tue Mantoni: Oh yeah, I guess you can only really use it with a soundbar. I think that’s an important observation. When people look at our prices of our TVs, they say they’re very expensive. And that’s right, but you have to compare it with the top of the line from the competition. Then you have to add a top of the line soundbar, you then have to add a top of the line surround sound module. I mean, you can connect ten speakers to this one.

When you add all of the together, first of all, you got a bit of a problem, as you’ve got a crazy mess of cables, and adding all of the parts is starting to be quite expensive.

HDTV: That’s true, and they probably wouldn’t work as well together as they would with what you have showed today.

Tue Mantoni: Yes that’s it. So obviously it’s a bit of a special audience for our TV, but it’s an audience that I think, especially in the U.S is pretty interesting, because if you want it to look good, and you want it to sound great, and you want it to be seamless to use, it’s difficult to find something that matches, in my opinion.

HDTV-News: You touched on the BeoPlay series. Obviously you have the V1. Are you planning on expanding that range at all?

Tue Mantoni: Yes, last week we launched the V1 Havanna. Also on the speaker side, the A9 music system, 480 watts, streaming wirelessly from your iPhone. Beautiful.

HDTV-News: So has that been created to target the whole BeoPlay Sector.

Tue Mantoni: It’s been more created, for what I call the digital generation. So yes in some ways younger people, but more people that are defined by people that want to stream music wirelesly. People who don’t necessarily want to commit to a big installation in the house, who want more flexibility, because they’re moving, or because they’re moving around in the interior. So that’s what it’s currently being air at, and so far it’s doing very well for us.

HDTV-News: Going back to the BeoVision 11, it’s your first Smart TV. Are you part of the Smart TV alliance?

Tue Mantoni: Yes that’s that. But what we have done, we’ve taken all of that, taken way what wasn’t necessary, what was just creating noise. And we’ve added the beautiful interface, which is very Bang & Olufsen.

HDTV-News: Yes that looks very nice, I like the interface a lot, very nice and very clean.

Tue Mantoni: Oh great, good.

HDTV-News: When I reviewed the BeoPlay V1, the only real criticism I had was gaming, and the gaming lag. One of your guys had a demo of gaming via the PS3, so it’s great to see that has been worked on. Do you happen to know the input lag time?

Tue Mantoni: No I don’t. But as you can see it’s much improved.

HDTV-News: There are currently six different speaker grill color options, so it come with all six, or just the one?

Tue Mantoni: It comes with one, and then you can buy another color as an option.

HDTV-News: Any idea on the cost of the speak grills?

Tue Mantoni: Not right now, but we know it won’t ruin you, nor will it be super cheap.

HDTV-News: Release dates?

Tue Mantoni: Now. So tonight we’re having an open house in all the dealers in Denmark. And it should have arrived yesterday in the U.S.

HDTV-News: That’s great. Well thank you very much for your time Tue.

Tue Mantoni: I appreciate it, thank you very much for coming over.

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