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.

Home Theater

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

Set your ears free with the best completely wireless earbuds

If you can't stand the tangle of cords, or you're just excited about completely wireless earbuds, you're going to need some help separating the wheat from the chaff. Our list serves up the best true wireless earbuds around.
Home Theater

5 sonic stocking stuffers to improve your loved ones’ listening life

Looking for some simple and affordable gifts to get the music nerd in your family? Here are five great gift ideas that will improve their listening life -- and won't cost you an arm and a leg to give them.
Mobile

The best smartphone stocking stuffers for a very techy Christmas

If you've got a tech-loving smartphone enthusiast to buy for, we can help you out. Here's a selection of top phone accessories that would make amazing stocking stuffers so you can have a very Merry Christmas.
Home Theater

These awesome A/V receivers will swarm you with surround sound at any budget

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to shopping for a receiver, so we assembled our favorites for 2018, at multiple price points and all loaded with features, from Dolby Atmos to 4K HDR, and much more.
Movies & TV

Celebrate the 25th anniversary of ‘The X-Files’ with the show’s 10 best episodes

The X-Files premiered 25 years ago, so here are the 10 best episodes of the award-winning sci-fi series. From alien-abduction drama to hilarious satires, these are the best episodes from all 11 seasons of the hit series.
Home Theater

Streaming services blast past networks for the most scripted TV shows in 2018

For the first time in history, streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, produced more original scripted series than broadcast or cable channels, setting a new record for the number of TV shows on the air.
Movies & TV

Can't get enough lightsaber action? Here's how to get your Star Wars fix online

Few of us want to deal with DVDs or Blu-ray discs anymore. Unfortunately, the Star Wars movies are few and far between when it comes to streaming. If you want to watch Star Wars online, check out our guide on where to find the films online.
Home Theater

Netflix vs. Hulu vs. Amazon Prime: Battle of the streaming giants

Trying to figure out which subscription streaming service to use while sticking to a frugal entertainment budget? Check out our updated comparison of the big three: Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and Hulu.
Home Theater

How to master your equalizer settings for the perfect sound

You may know what an EQ is, but do you know how to adjust equalizer settings for the best possible sound? We go through the basics of the modern EQ and lay out some guidelines for how to achieve tip-top sound from your system.
Home Theater

Confused about LED vs. LCD TVs? Here's everything you need to know

Our LED vs. LCD TV buying guide explains why these two common types of displays are fundamentally connected, how they differ, what to look for in buying an LED TV, and what's on the horizon for TVs.
Home Theater

What is Terrarium TV? Here’s everything you need to know

Terrarium TV offered a way to watch movies & TV for free, but now after a troubled existence, the app's developer has shut it down, and offered an ominous message to users on his way out.
Home Theater

The best Dolby Atmos movies for your home theater sound as good as they look

If you've got your hands on some sweet Dolby Atmos gear, the next step is to find films that take advantage of it. These are our picks in every genre for the best Dolby Atmos movies currently available on Blu-ray and streaming services.
Movies & TV

Do you have questions about Hulu? We’ve got answers

Not sure which Hulu subscription is right for you? We're here to help. This is your complete guide to Hulu and Hulu with Live TV, including content offerings for each service, pricing, internet requirements, and more.