Product: Bose VideoWave Entertainment System
With so much of the focus in the TV market being on smart features connecting sets to the internet, it's interesting to see a company focus on audio. The Bose Videowave diverges from the usual stable of social and programming apps for a more dedicated effort towards excellent surround sound right out of the box, and that, was music to our small space dwelling ears.
It's not surprising that a TV from Bose would have great sound, but what is surprising is just how full the sound is coming from such a relatively small package. We say relatively small because unlike other latest and greatest TVs on the market, the Bose VideoWave is not paper thin. We were skeptical when we first read about how this system could replace several speakers, but after this review period and hearing it in our home, we now understand what Bose meant.
When you look at the VideoWave it doesn't seem that much different from an ordinary 46" flat screen HDTV, it's only when you listen to it or look at it from the side, do you notice that something else is going on. As one would expect, the picture is clear and HD content looks great. What one doesn't expect, is just how full the room feels with sound whether you're watching a film or listening to music from your iPod.
When you purchase a VideoWave system you have the option of having it professionally installed ($4,499 with installation $4,249 without). After working with our schedule, Bose sent the install team to set up the VideoWave for the review period. The installers were professional and courteous and asked us questions about how we would be using the system. They also showed us how easy it was to add additional components to the system or remove others should our needs change. One of the highlights of the installation was the overview of the remote, which is hands-down the best remote control we've ever had the pleasure of using.
The remote fits well in your hand and is designed so that you can operate it without looking. We love the square touch zone, click-pad type path that you glide your finger over to make your selection. The VideoWave remote quickly replaced our other remotes and we only needed to bring out the Xbox or Wii controller when a game called for it. Unlike other multi-function all-in-one remotes, adding the ability to control other components did not add to the complexity of operating the remote. Using this remote made things easier and Bose should seriously considering going into the business of remote making because it is just that good.
The VideoWave was installed in our living room and while it's not the largest room (our whole apartment is under 600 sq feet) with our trusty TV it could be difficult at times to listen to music or watch TV over the AC. The VideoWave had no problem filling the room with sound and actually it filled the entire apartment quite nicely. The system came with a dock for an iPod or iPhone and we used that quite regularly to turn on some tunes while baking in the kitchen.
The remote offers a "video mute" option, which means when you're listening to audio from your iPod or iPhone, you can turn the video display off on the television so you can save electricity and just focus on the sound. Due to the excellent audio emanating from the VideoWave, we used the system more often in video mute mode than we did with the video on.
It was creepy at times just how much it would feel like the sound that we were hearing was coming from behind us or to the left or right. It was kind of amazing just how much it sounded like the speakers were not located where we knew they actually were. While for a true surround sound addict this sort of system probably won't do, it's great for those who want rich full sound but don't want to have multiple speakers in the room. If you can spare the extra depth needs that the unit has (6"), it's a no-brainer as the speakers are pretty much invisible.
Bottom Line: The VideoWave is perfect for people who want the best possible sound out of the smallest package with the least amount of fuss. It's a simple, elegant solution that's incredibly easy to use and will really add value to your space. If you have already substantially invested in your entertainment speakers than the VideoWave is not for you, but if you're in the market for solid sound and a 46" TV, then you would be remiss not to consider this piece of tech.
Pros: Easy to operate, excellent overall performance, small footprint considering the speaker integration which makes it great for apartments.
Cons: Very deep compared to other 46" HDTVs, price is higher than other TVs of the same size.
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did provide us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Images: Joelle Alcaidinho)