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BMW Just Fitted a 31-inch 8K TV in their Latest Model, is this the Start of Luxury Car TV Wars?

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It was going to happen someday, right? With automakers boasting about in-car entertainment with every new car these days, someone just had to go, "alright, put a TV in it!".

And when it comes to cars and specifications, trust the Germans to do it before anyone else. Yes, it has already happened. In this war where inches matter, the new BMW 7 Series comes with a TV for rear-seat passengers. That too an 8K screen, 31 inches no less. And to make things even better, it can conceal itself by folding into the roof and will pop back down again whenever needed. And when it does, the car will also automatically close the sunshades on both the rear windows as well as the rear glass to stop lights from outside disturbing your theatre-like experience. The moonroof is closed shut, the rear ambient lights are dimmed down and a special sound effect by Hans Zimmer is played through the Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System which also supports what BMW calls "4D audio" as it uses the seat to add vibration to the multimedia experience. Up until a day ago, this would have been a scenario in a modern sci-fi movie but now it's a reality.

Additionally, the rear seat can also recline backward like a proper lounge seat, and with footrests popping out for you to lay back and relax, with your head on a pillow that comes with the luxury seats, the viewing angle is taken care of. Of course, if you are thinking of how you interact with the screen, well, you do it with a screen that is the size of a modern smartphone fitted into the door handle.

You can operate the TV through the door-mounted smartphone-sized touchscreen display. (Photo: BMW)

As for what you can see on the screen, BMW has fitted the car with an onboard Amazon Fire TV which lets you stream through services Netflix through the car's own 5G internet connection! The screen can be used through touch inputs as well, should you feel the need to get hands-on with it.

However, it is not all perfect, yet. As the screen needs to fold into the ceiling of the car, it has to make compromises in the aspect ratio department which is an unconventional 32:9, meaning, there will be black bars giving you company on your favourite shows.

But the real question is where do we go from here? The inch-war has already resulted in multiple innovations at the front of the car with screens as big as 56-inch in the likes of the Mercedes-Benz EQS electric sedan. This warzone has now come to the rear seat which does not have to abide by the limitations of steering wheels and transmission tunnels.

And it is a snowball effect that starts from innovation and rolls into being a game of Top Trumps for automakers and the spec sheet of their latest offerings. The biggest beneficiary will, of course, be the end-user as these features trickle down to more affordable mass-market options. And with the current-day race between automakers of bringing features as soon as possible to as many car options as possible, the speed with which these options reach the mass market segment keeps getting faster. Remember, it was only a little over a decade ago when cars started recognising pedestrians on the road, and today, they can brake themselves too in case of an emergency.

Surely soon, a TV-like rear seat experience will not be as big of a surprise as it is today, right?

News Source: News 18, 21 April 2022


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