Been wondering about this for years....

When I went to San Fran for a little vaca around the end 1998-99 I stopped into a B&O store to check things out. Living in MS makes one forget that there are actully stores that you can go in and listen to high end audio. Amazing.

Anyway, I noticed they had The Fifth Element movie playing on one of their CRT based tv's , approximately 27-32 inches in size. I sat down to veg a little and was dumbfounded by the picture that this TV had. I dont mean the colors etc...I mean the picture was so 3 dimensional that I was blown away. I had NEVER seen anything like this before. I called my then girlfriend (now wife) over to check it out..and for the next hour and ahalf she did not budge from that seat. The picture was so lifelike (on a small scale of course) that even she was mesmerized by it. Can someone tell me what the heck kind of technology that B&O were using??? Had I possibly NOT been exposed to high end video to this extreme that I did not realize what could be had? Is this level of quality something that can be purchased today?? I have NEVER seen a television picture so vivid and again "3D" since then. I am more into audiophile 2 channel more than anything else, so I could have been (and probably still am) a video newbie.

thanks again for your time folks.

That television was the BeoVision Avant (US variant), a 32" CRT-television . . . and your impression of it is pretty spot-on. My parents have one -- and a standard-def DVD running into the S-Video input looks better than most new flat-panel sets playing Blu-Ray. The sound is pretty stunning from the built-in speakers as well.

As far as the technology goes, B&O used a Philips video-processing engine for hardware, and tweaked the living crap out of the software algorithms. It was very, very carefully optimized for the best possible performance with standard NTSC scan rates on a 32" picture - output of the processor was 480p/60Hz. They then backed it up with all of the little CRT tweaks they learned over the decades - separate focusing for the edges, multi-point convergence, black level enhancement, proprietary scan-velocity modulation techniques, adaptive luminance peaking . . . and on and on. Not to mention B&O had a history of selecting the very best picture tubes from their OEM supplier's production lots (and paying a premium for them of course).

They're available pretty cheap on the used market (they were $8500 new!) . . . because in this age of cheap flat-panels, a huge console CRT set has very limited appeal, even one as great as the Avant. If I had a spot for one, I'd be really tempted.
Same experience w the Loewe TVs. You cannot beat a CRT for that 3-d PQ, in my opinion. But of course, they are not practical at any size over about 32-36" and are stretching it at that size.
wow guys, thanks a bunch. Just to think that as I sit here enjoying the new tech gear of this decade...10 years ago I had seen an image that is still very clearly visible in my mind. Crazy.

much appreciated
When did B&O stop making the avant? What is a normal price to pay for this TV? Bob

Go to Ebay, type Beovision Avant or item #150330121112, a 32" BluePearl in Maryland for 2K.
Hi Bob, the US Avant was available until I think 2005-ish . . . the same chassis was used in BeoVision 5 (plasma) and the BeoSystem 1 (external sound & picture processor), so I'm not sure exactly how production resources were allocated to these three products at the end. BTW, the Avant is the best of this generation in terms of picture quality.

But if anybody's looking for one, I'd certainly stay away from Ebay - they're expensive to service, and 2K is more than I'd pay on Ebay for one. Rumor has it that Bang & Olufsen Newberry Street in Boston has "a bunch" of Avants, so I'd start there.

I did as a matter of fact decide to search ebay for one. Yes, that is the unit I remember. I wonder if there is anything out there today that will compete with the quality of this TV?


Yes, Pioneer Kuro or Elite Pro series plasma.

Kirkus, I personally hate Ebay myself and only suggested it as reference.
As nice as I'm sure that TV looks, for me, it would be pretty tough to invest in something that isn't widescreen, as pretty much all movies are in widescreen.
And that was the reason I got a Loewe Planus which is 16 x 9.
Goatwuss, the Avant is indeed a widescreen 16:9 set.

And for those wondering about its picture quality vis-a-vis current stuff, it still kicks butt. This is especially if one still cares about standard-definition picture quality, as I do. And in a 32" size, from a typical domestic viewing distance (say 8' or more) . . . it really is so good that one can really not care whether they're watching an HD source or not.

But if having a bigger, lighter flat-panel with all the latest acronyms is a priority . . . the Avant definately is not the way to go.