Bang & Olufsen looks to the future with new headphones and Airplay 2 support

Bang and Olufsen joined the chorus of companies making big announcements at CES 2018. The audio manufacturer detailed several upcoming headphone models, as well as teased future updates that will bring Google Assistant and Apple Airplay 2 to its existing products.

The first of those headphone models are the Beoplay H9i and H8i, which are updated versions of Bang & Olufsen’s previously available H9 and H8 over-ear headphones.

Upgrades to the H9i include an improved active noise-canceling (ANC) feature, enhanced for better performance at the 300-800Hz range, which is about the range of human voices. That means hearing even less of the conversations around you. Bang & Olufsen also touted improved sound and a battery life that lasts up to 18 hours — four hours longer than the previous H9 model. This new model has been given an updated design, with slimmer ear cushions and a more secure removable battery, as well as an additional microphone for better call quality.

The H8i has also seen similar updates to design, call quality, and battery life, with an industry-leading 30 hours with Bluetooth and ANC turned on (or 45 hours without ANC).

Both the Beoplay H9i and H8i share some other interesting features, including a transparency mode that turns off ANC when the playback is paused so you can immediately hear your surroundings. Both have a “proximity sensor,” which will automatically pause your music or video when the headphones are removed. It can also recognize when the headphones are put back on, and will automatically resume playback. Finally, the H9i and H8i will be able to pair with up to two Bluetooth devices simultaneously.

You’ll be able to purchase the $500 H9i and $400 H8i from the Bang & Olufsen online store and select third-party retailers starting January 25. They come with a carrying bag and 4-foot-long USB-C charging cable and an audio cable.

Other headphone announcements include new special-edition color variations for the Beoplay E8 wireless earphones, the E8 All White and E8 All Black. The E8 are full wireless earphones that feature the Transparency mode feature of the H9i/H8i, as well as touch and voice controls. The earbuds are magnetized, and will click into the included charging case, which will automatically power them down and begin charging once inserted. The E8 are compatible with the Beoplay smartphone app, which allows users to customize the EQ of the earphones for personalized playback and soundstage

Both the All White and All Black versions of the E8 will be available on February 22 from Bang 7 Olufsen’s online store for $300. A leather charging case, charging cable, and five ear tips are also included.

Bang & Olufsen has unveiled more than just new products this year. The company announced that it will be among the first to support Apple Airplay 2, bringing the wireless streaming feature to a number of its products following Apple’s official launch. Airplay 2 enables users to stream music and other content from Apple Music and similar apps from their iOS device to multiple audio devices simultaneously for a multiroom setup. The entire setup can be controlled with the Apple Home app or via Siri on an iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch. Here’s the full list of Bang & Olufsen products that will support Airplay 2 at launch:

  • Beoplay M3
  • Beoplay M5
  • Beoplay A6
  • Beoplay A9 mk2
  • BeoSound 1
  • BeoSound 2
  • Beosound 35
  • BeoSound Essence mk2
  • BeoSound Core
  • BeoSound Shape (via BeoSound Core)
  • BeoVision Eclipse (audio only)H8i/H9i

The last piece of CES news from Bang & Olufsen is that Google Assistant can now be used to control select Bang & Olufsen speakers and TV audio devices via either a Google Home or Google Home Mini. Further Google Assistant support will be coming to select Bang & Olufsen products later in 2018, including the ability to interface with the artificially intelligent assistant directly through the device.

Be sure to check out Bang & Olufsen’s official website for more information on these announcements and all Bang & Olufsen products.

Product Review

It sounds like a Sonos, but the Beam pulls one trick none of its siblings can

Sonos makes really good surround sound speakers for home theaters, but they’re expensive. A cheaper model with great sound would be a win. The Sonos Beam is that speaker, but were too many corners cut to make a more affordable product?
Trash

Block the outside world, tune into your own with the best in-ear headphones

Over-the-ear headphones offer top-flight sound, but they're not so easy to take along with you. If you're looking to upgrade your portable sound, check out our favorite in-ear headphones -- there's a model for every user and every budget.
Home Theater

Run to the beat of your favorite music with the best running headphones

Running is a great source of exercise but isn't always the most thrilling, especially when you're fiddling to keep your headphones in place. Check out our picks for the best headphones for running, so you never have to miss a beat again.
Deals

Jabra wireless earbuds now cost $9 less than AirPods with this Amazon sale

You can now get a pair of our favorite workout earbuds, the Jabra Elite Active 65t, for $9 less than Apple's AirPods, making them a fantastic deal for those who are looking to cut the cord on their listening life.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (April 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in March, from Buster Scruggs to Roma

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robots that eat landmines and clean your floors

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

Netflix vs. Hulu: Which streaming service is right for you?

Netflix and Hulu are two of the biggest names in streaming entertainment. Our guide will help you decide which streaming service has the content you want and the best value for your limited budget.
Deals

Get some bud-green Master and Dynamic wireless headphones for $50 off this 420

Looking for the best possible audio experience to pair with your favorite herb? Master and Dynamic has announced a special 420 edition of its gorgeous on-ear and over-ear headphones, which will be available for $50 off this 4/20.
Movies & TV

Skip the flowers and sunshine this spring and watch the best shows on Hulu

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

These are the best movies on Hulu right now (April 2019)

From dramas to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: Avengers: Endgame, Child’s Play, and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. We round up the best ones for you. This week, it's Avengers: Endgame, a Child's Play reboot, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, and a terrifying gothic mystery.
Movies & TV

An Obi-Wan TV series? 10 things we’d love to see on Disney’s streaming service

While we know the upcoming Disney Plus streaming service will have tons of great content, we put together a wish list of projects from across Disney's properties we'd like to see on the service in the near future.
Movies & TV

Best new shows and movies to stream: Mid90s, BlacKkKlansman, and more

Need something to watch this weekend? Check out our list of the best new shows and movies to stream right now. On the list this week: Jonah Hill's Mid90s, vampire action movie Blade, and more.