Price (RRP): $6199
Manufacturer: Baumann Meyer
The chances are your TV spends most of its time switched off. So there’s good reason for it to be styled attractively, unless you have some kind of device to hide it away when not in use.
The Baumann Meyer Symmetry Mirror TVs look, well, rather like their surroundings because when switched off, they assume the appearance of a mirror. Available in both 117cm (46 inch) and 140cm (55 inch) sizes, Baumann Meyer shipped the smaller one to Home Entertainment Buyers Guide to spend some time with.
So far Baumann Meyer hasn’t been into this newfangled networking stuff (although it does actually have a network-style RJ45 socket, but this is for system integration). Instead it concentrates solely on delivering a high quality picture from the built-in TV tuners and plugged-in AV devices. So no DLNA or USB music.
Instead you get a 117cm full high definition LCD panel in a nicely thin form (just 40mm thick). This uses edge LED backlighting.
The digital TV section supports MPEG4 decoding in addition to the more common MPEG2, so you won’t miss out on any TV stations employing the newer standard. Except for 3D ones. The TV does not support either 3D TV nor Blu-ray 3D.
But it does have plenty of AV inputs (aside from S-Video), with four HDMI inputs. There are also both optical and coaxial digital audio outputs for passing Dolby Digital to a home theatre receiver (the Audio Return Channel from HDMI 1.4 isn’t supported).
The TV does not come with a stand included. This, or a wall bracket, are options at $299 each.
When not in use, the Symmetry Mirror TV really does look like a mirror, albeit with aluminium top and bottom rails. If you peer closely you can make out the black section bordering the picture area, but you generally won’t notice this. It’s a darkish mirror to be sure, and is attractively enigmatic as a result.
When in use, the mirrored finish can detract from picture quality. Indeed, the non-mirror version – which is virtually identical aside from this finish – has eight layers of anti-reflective treatment specifically to kill any vestiges of a mirror finish!
For the very best picture quality, anti-reflection is the way to go. But we also live in the real world, and the Mirror TV is a much prettier device most of the time.
Anyway, make sure that you do not locate it where a bright window will reflect via the TV screen to the location of the viewers. Nor any other bright lights, including overhead ones. Even then, I could easily see myself in the TV simply from ambient room light during dark scenes. So for the best viewing, I simply switched off the room lights. The light produced by the screen picture itself seemed to be insufficient to illuminate me, the viewer, enough to be noticeably reflected back by the screen.
By default the colour levels were rather over-cranked, leading to a marked reddening of skin tones. This may have been to compensate for the reflectivity of the screen. I turned it down and found the picture very attractive. Dark scenes were a little mottled (when I had the room darkened) due to the nature of the edge LED backlight, but no more than is usual for very thin TVs.
The motion smoothing mechanism tended to produce some visible heat-haze artefacts, so I switched it off, but it is there for those who enjoy this kind of enhancement.
Performance with 1080p24 Blu-ray content was excellent, with a precise rendition of the picture and full sharpness preserved. The digital TV reception was strong. There was the occasional jaggie from SDTV, but not much more so than my other devices with high quality scaling and deinterlacing, so it was plenty watchable. High definition TV was uniformly excellent.