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Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar Soundbar Review & Comments

Mallardo

Well-known Member
Certainly an odd decision to not include HDMI. There is an argument to be made that there isn't really a lot of difference between DD+ and lossless audio in most domestic settings (ie living rooms at sensible volumes as opposed to dedicated home cinemas), and that the quality of the speakers is more important than the sound processing, however asking people to drop over 2.5K on a 5.1 system without even the option of HD audio will surely be a deal breaker for most.
 

Steve Withers

Reviewer
It isn't just the fact that no HDMI connections limit the processing to lossy codecs, it's also means there's no ARC or CEC support. The latter is even more important given that Bowers & Wilkins decided not to include a remote control with its £1,000 soundbar.
 

Coulson

Well-known Member
The B&W speaker on the new Phillips OLEDs is outstanding. This is just plain mental. Knock a grand of this and now you've got something worth talking about. Excellent industrial design even if it only used lossey codecs.
 

lgans316

Distinguished Member
One day companies like Sonos, B&O, B&W, Bose etc. are going to be left far behind by their competition.
 

steve sph

Active Member
Style over substance and the arrogance to assume you can sell on name alone.

*cue the usual 'but you haven't heard it so you're not allowed an opinion' fanboys.

No I haven't heard it, but I know what £2700 could buy you for a proper 5.1 set-up.
And it would include ARC, HDMI connects, a remote and better sound than Dolby Digital.
 

JoeSepi

Well-known Member
Overpriced, under featured rubbish, that they brought this to market says a lot about the company
 

Mister_Tad

Active Member
I think it will do fine. It's not for me, nor do I think it's for anyone that's likely to frequent this or any other Hi-Fi/AV forum.

It's for well-heeled non-enthusiasts shopping in high-street lifestyle and department stores IMO.

It looks high end and expensive, has "proper" hifi name on it, I'm sure it will demo well. I don't think the buyer for this is really going to be looking through spec sheets. Just "will it work with my TV".
 

Coulson

Well-known Member
I think it will do fine. It's not for me, nor do I think it's for anyone that's likely to frequent this or any other Hi-Fi/AV forum.

It's for well-heeled non-enthusiasts shopping in high-street lifestyle and department stores IMO.

It looks high end and expensive, has "proper" hifi name on it, I'm sure it will demo well. I don't think the buyer for this is really going to be looking through spec sheets. Just "will it work with my TV".
I personally think that it has been deliberately priced to keep the oiks out. They don't want us to buy this. They are marketing it like a designer brand and it might have worked if it wasn't for (those pesky kids?) the lack of HDMI. Someone somewhere seriously dropped the ball on that one.
 

zubeir

Well-known Member
Ugly design, no HDMI, and no remote. Give us your hard earn't money.
I thought the specs were an April fools joke in December.
 

Mister_Tad

Active Member
the lack of HDMI. Someone somewhere seriously dropped the ball on that one.
I can see how the product design meeting went where they decided to leave it off. Let's go for the keep-it-simple-stupid approach. Bear in mind there are people out there that are connecting their blu-ray player to their surround system using stereo RCA cables because that's just what happened to be in the box and it "worked" when they tried it.

There's a brand of individual that given both HDMI and optical on a soundbar will use optical because they tried the HDMI and it didn't work (because they didn't set it up correctly, or their TV doesn't support it, or were using a non-ARC port, or whatever), and never give it another thought, other than "how complicated it was to set up".

I'm not saying it was the right call, I'm just saying I can see how they got to it.
 

Rockets

Member
I'm a more than a bit surprised that it got 7 out of 10 with no HDMI. I would have thought really it should have several HDMI's never mind just one. I would think 3 giving you various options should be the minimum.

Seems like a total failure. Doesn't matter how good it sounds if the soundbar fails at the basic requirements.
 

anotherarunan

Active Member
I don’t understand how you can give a £999 soundbar with no remote and no HDMI anything more than a 4 out of 10.
This has to be the most bonkers AV product I’ve ever seen.
 

BlairH

Active Member
Massive Bowers & Wilkins fanboy here. I own probably a good portion of their catalogue from the last 10 years or so (CM S2s; M1s; PV1s; 600 S2; etc); including all of their on-ear headphones.

When this was first revealed, I pointed out on their Facebook page that -at face value- it seemed to be a massive downgrade from even their original Panorama soundbar; mainly due to the lack of HDMI. I was immediately set-upon by self professed “system integrators” who claimed that they only ever used optical when setting up HT systems for clients.

Imagine the sort of person who pays a so-called “system integrator” good money to plug in an optical cable and you’ve probably pictured the target market for this product. It’s not for us. It’s for someone who knows nothing about AV and is a bit jealous of his mate’s Sonos system and wants something more “upmarket”.
 
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boabis

Active Member
Designed for clueless ****s in loud shirts and white jeans, with their permanent-tanned awful wives, to buy in Harrods and take home to their new-build townhouse.
 

Jamie

Distinguished Member
Designed for clueless ****s in loud shirts and white jeans, with their permanent-tanned awful wives, to buy in Harrods and take home to their new-build townhouse.
It'll match the over priced B&W stereo in the diesel Volvo XC90
 

Dunners

Active Member
Integrators use optical inputs as it is simply more reliable than CEC.
ARC itself is fine, but introducing CEC means the end user is reliant on a tech that can stop working for no reason whatsoever, let alone a rogue firmware update on a connected product that causes it to stop working.

However, this bar SHOULD have HDMI inputs / lossless audio capability.
It's simply under-spec'd for the money. I'm sure it sounds good, but it's well spendy and it will be up against some phenomenal bars for the money.
 

Simba

Well-known Member
Lol at how high the tv's are mounted in the pics. Goes to show the target audience.
 

Mallardo

Well-known Member
Lol at how high the tv's are mounted in the pics. Goes to show the target audience
The couple in the first picture look happy with their purchase, although I reckon the bloke is secretly wondering what the film would sound like in Dolby Atmos.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Mallardo - Google 'CEC Problems' - 11,100,00 results, now tell me again about those poor quality
integrators :)

Joe
 

Mallardo

Well-known Member
Mallardo - Google 'CEC Problems' - 11,100,00 results, now tell me again about those poor quality
integrators :)
Fair point, I was being facetious. I didn't mean to upset any AV integrators! I'm sure it can't be easy plugging in all of those fiddly optical cables.

Sorry, I'm doing it again....
 

Mister_Tad

Active Member
When CEC sh_tting itself for no reason whatsoever results in you trekking your way out to the customer’s house to turn it off and on again, you use optical. Basically.
 

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