updated 06:05 pm EDT, Mon July 25, 2011
B and O BeoSound 5 Encore reaches US
Bang & Olufsen set out to have an upscale approach to networked media hubs Monday and unveiled the BeoSound 5 Encore. The device serves as both a central control and aggregator for media in the home, both taking in music from the local network as well as serving as a gateway for most any USB and line-in device, including external hard drives, iPods, and AirPlay through an AirPort Express. As many as eight of the 10.4-inch touchscreen devices can be linked together and share the same collection eve as they play music in different rooms.
Internet radio plays a strong part and has an unusually deep amount of curation, with the Danish company checking not just whether the content works but overall uptime and reliability. The Encore also has a Genius-style automatic playlist generator that can pick up on track styles from local collections and play related music on its own.
The unique 'floating' design is designed to be both freestanding and wall-mountable to integrate with a home. Always-attached connections like Ethernet can be kept hidden while exposing only USB and line-in to the outside.
As with most of its designs, Bang & Olufsen is charging a premium for the new BeoSound add-on. It should cost $3,350 when it arrives in stores in August.