June 01, 2009
| by Arlen Schweiger
If one is an innovator, then two means it’s becoming a trend, right? Well, the bandwagon may still have a few good seats available, but Bang & Olufsen has followed in Sharp’s footsteps by incorporating a Blu-ray player as part of the TV.
B&O’s flagship BeoVision 7 40-inch LCD has been given an upgrade from integrated DVD player to integrated Blu-ray player (plus it comes with an integrated full-throttle stereo or center-channel speaker too).
After DVD had gone through its commoditization stage and became as mainstream as VCRs had, plenty of smaller TVs came packaged with built-in players almost as more of a convenience, especially for a kitchen or bedroom TV/DVD combo without the extra wiring.
Of course, Blu-ray drives are backwards compatible with DVDs so you can still play your standard-def DVD collection, but Blu-ray discs are more meant for larger screens. That means bothering with a built-in Blu-ray player probably doesn’t make sense for a manufacturer on its TVs smaller than 37 inches.
Back at CES in January, Sharp debuted a line of Aquos LCDs with built-in Blu-ray players, in sizes of 32, 37, 42, 46 and 52 inches (pictured below, the LC52BD80U).
So one less source to connect to the TV, one less HDMI cable to worry about, one less space in the equipment rack. Does having the built-in Blu-ray drive entice you more to an HDTV, or maybe get you thinking about Blu-ray more than if you were to buy a stand-alone player as an add-on during a TV purchase?
Granted, there’s a humongous price difference between B&O’s $13,500 TV and Sharp’s 52-incher that can be had for less than $1,800 on Amazon right now, but we can see other display manufacturers filling up the bandwagon, maybe at the upcoming CEDIA and CES shows. With the Blu-ray format still making inroads (and still being dominated by DVD), and 3D not quite there yet, chances are manufacturers are bouncing around other ways to broaden the TVs reach—looks like networking and widgets will be foremost to that end, but don’t be shocked to see more of these HDTVs with built-in Blu-ray. You buying?
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.