HARBETH: “The only speaker licenced by BBC Worldwide”?

From the Harbeth archives; the thread starts ....

News of the launch of a Dr Who loudspeaker by the BBC's highly-profitable commercial arm, begs the question as to what defines a BBC speaker these days. Once the three initials B B C ensured credibility and assured performance. The plastic, and doubtless China-made, "Tardis" speaker is no less than £150 from the online BBC shop - see attached image.

BBC Worldwide (which boasted a trading profit of £156m and headline sales of £1,116m last year), advise that their new toy (?) is "The only speaker licensed by BBC Worldwide...". We hear of other loudspeaker-related licences granted by "the BBC" in the recent past, so it seems that one part of BBC Inc. is working quite independently of other divisions.

Of concern to anyone familiar with the BBCs loudspeaker legacy, is what the BBC is doing to its brand and its previously high standing in the technical arena? In the days when Harbeth's founder, Dudley Harwood, was in charge of loudspeaker development at the Corporation's Research Department (1960s, 70s), the broadcaster's name would not be attributed to any product which didn't meet stringent performance criteria. Can any plastic speaker meet those legendary standards of yesteryear? Maybe it can.

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