BEO.ZONE

BeoSound 5 Encore

BeoSound

Production: 07/2011

Designer: Anders Hermansen

With people’s music collections moving from actual, physical storage media such as vinyl and optical discs and designed to co-exist with the existing Master Link-enabled BeoSound 5 (with BeoMaster 5), the BeoSound 5 Encore was announced on 25 July 2011. In order to play pre-recorded (and pre-encoded) music a hard drive or USB stick may be attached to the Encore directly via USB. The anodised aluminium, pressure diecast aluminium and coated glass displayed Encore may also be connected by ethernet or wirelessly to a home music server. Alternatively any music player or device with line out socket may be attached (an iPod, a Bluetooth receiver or Apple AirPort Express, for example).

The following audio formats may be played on the BeoSound 5 Encore:

MOTS (More-of-the-Same) explained:

With computer hard drives seemingly able to store more and more data, including musical collections amassed over entire lifetimes, it’s easy to continue to add to them without ever deleting anything. The problem with this situation is that it’s oh-so easy to forget just what tracks you do possess and which ones you enjoy listening to - and those that you don’t! If only there was some sort of useful technology that was more advanced than mere ’shuffle’ in the sense that it played musical tracks which are completely related to each other. Enter Bang & Olufsen’s BeoSound 5 with MOTS software technology.

MOTS Software is short for ‘Modified-Off-the-Shelf Software’ and applies to software which can be used as-is to solve a particular prblem. Consider the scenario where the Off-the-shelf (OST) version does not quiet meet the needs of the user and needs slight modifications. This would be called MOTS software and requires that a custom version of the OTS product is made by the original vendor or third party.

Often a problem is so unique to an organisation’s needs that there is no existing solution. In this case a completely customised software would need to be written. Examples might include software for a hotel chain’s reservation systemt, bank accounting software, and so on. There is not a wide user base for this type of software, so COTS and MOTS solutions are not available, or the organisation’s needs are so different that it makes more sense to build a solution from scratch.

For Bang & Olufsen, MOTS is therefore a special piece of technology which allows BeoSound 5 to play music which is very similar in several components to the last-played song. More-of-the-Same, or MOTS, basically scans every song within a digitised music library and finds similar songs based on sound, dynamics and rhythm. Essentially, it does a lot more than just group songs based on genre. In fact, Bang & Olufsen wanted MOTS to be as advanced as it could possibly be, so they teamed up with the Austrian Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence (OFAI). Their line of work specialises in Artificial Intelligence which isn’t just limited to bio-informatics or robotics so it may be applied to music classification as well.

So, to get started with your BeoSound 5 the user just has to select a song and then MOTS will do the rest in terms of creating a playlist which revolves around just that one song. Bang & Olufsen claims that MOTS will help you find long, forgotten music that you once enjoyed. If MOTS functions well, it could definitely be the deciding factor in purchasing this product over another as most people would find technology as this very useful.

Bang & Olufsen first tested their MOTS algorithm with a computer and, after they were satisfied with the results, they moved on to a certified panel of musical experts to make sure they obtained exactly what they had set out to obtain from the technology in the first instance.

So, in designing BeoSound 5 with More-of-the-Same technology, the creators of the system ensured that the hi-fi player would in effect, be anything but the same!

Bang & Olufsen and PacketVideo, the developer of the Twonky media-sharing software announced, in relation to the release of the BeoSound 5 Encore, a partnership which will allow Bang & Olufsen to offer customers a seamless and connected music sharing experience using Twonky. From 2011, the BeoSound 5 will include built-in Twonky software to create a seamless, connected music sharing experience. It makes sense to use proprietary media-connection systems rather than developing standalone systems (which are often used by just one manufacturer and in isolation to others), as connectivity between different manufacturers’ products is so much better.

Problems associated with the BeoSound 5 Encore:

Far from being an all-round media player (the BeoSound 5 Encore only plays compressed digital music, JPEG photo files and a plethora of Internet radio stations, the majority of which either do not work or are just so full of publicity making many of them unuseable) the unit does not play video files. So, the user still needs a system of playing back movies on-screen. But the problem now is that if you have a Bang & Olufsen Blu-ray player, one can no longer play back Divx, Xvid and the ever-more popular MKV files, unlike the company’s DVD players which were well-capable.

BeoSound 5 Encore technical specifications

Display: 10.4″ TFT LCD with low reflection coating (16,777,216 colours), 1024 x 768 pixels

Connections:

1 x Mini jack (for Headphone)
1 x Line-in (for iPod/iPhone or MP# players)
1 x USB connection (for temporary USB storage)
Permanent access:
1 x Power Link
1 x Ethernet 10/100Mb
Wireless (for music server and netradio)
1 x USB connection (for e.g. permanent USB hard disk)

Features:

Network connectivity via Ethernet or Wireless (WLAN 802.11 a/n - 5 GHz)
Internet radio (approx. 13.000 international radio stations)
Digital music and network player (from UPnP server, USB hard disk, computer or BeoSound 5/BeoMaster 5)
MOTS (automatic playlist generator)
iPod/MP3 player, AirPort Express/Bluetooth music receiver (audio playback via line-in)

Power consumption: Typical: 19 W/Standby 0.7 W

Dimensions / Weight: 31 x 19 x 8 cm/3 kg

Accessories: Wall bracket (included); Wall bracket, extended; Table stand; Floor stand

Menu languages: English, Danish, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, German, French, Swedish

Remote Control: Beo4 or Beo6 (Optional)