Bose TV Speaker Evaluation: Smooth and Easy TV Enhancer

“The Bose TV speaker is a little expensive for what you get. It’s the easiest way to get great TV audio.”

  • Small, elegant design

  • Very easy to set up and use

  • Impressive bass for its size

  • Effective dialogue mode

  • Optional subwoofer

  • A bit expensive

  • Cannot be paired with Bose headphones

  • No HDMI inputs

Soundbars are a fantastic way to give yourself much better TV audio without the hassle of running cables or having multiple speakers. But there are also different levels of complexity in the soundbar world. Some come with wireless subwoofers, others with additional surround speakers, and many try to double or triple as smart speakers and Wi-Fi music systems. But what if you just want your TV to sound better with the least amount of hardware and expense? Bose’s answer is this $ 250 Bose TV speakers.

What’s in the box?

The Bose TV speaker is packed in two small foam cradles, the rest is easily recyclable cardboard. You will receive a power cord, a slim remote control with pre-installed button cell battery, an optical cable and a quick guide. Although the TV speaker has an HDMI ARC input and an additional analog input, Bose strangely does not include HDMI or analog cables.


Bose TV speakersSimon Cohen / Digital Trends

While the Bose TV speaker lacks many of the features found in the company’s high-end smartbar soundbars (300, 500, and 700), its design and design means it is firmly in the same family as these more expensive speakers. The flat, perforated metal grille and the completely smooth surface give it a sophisticated, first-class atmosphere. The matte black plastic shell is non-intrusive, which means all of your attention is focused on the sound, not the speaker as it should be.

At just over 23 inches wide and hair over 2 inches wide, it easily fits in front of 32-inch TVs without blocking the bottom of the screen, which is an occasional problem with its predecessor, the Bose Solo 5 TV sound system.

If you’d like, you can mount the TV speaker using the same $ 40 wall mount kit that Bose sells for its other soundbars.

Setup and connections

Bose TV speaker connectionsSimon Cohen / Digital Trends

The beauty of a soundbar that is as simple as the Bose TV speaker is that it is as easy to set up as possible. Connect the speaker to your TV using the optical cable provided or your own HDMI or analog cable and plug the speaker’s power cord into the wall. Congratulations you are done.

The TV speaker automatically detects which of these three connections you want to use, so you don’t have to select the correct input. But you’re not limited to using just one either. You can connect separate audio devices to all three if you want. The catch is that the TV speaker defaults to using the first one it detects as active. So if you want to play TV audio from HDMI ARC and switch to a CD player via the optical connection, you must first turn off your TV and then click play on the CD.

HDMI ARC is a good option, especially if your TV doesn’t have an optical port, but the lack of an HDMI input means you are giving up valuable HDMI input on your TV just for the speaker. Since the TV speaker doesn’t support any of the high bandwidth audio formats enabled by HDMI ARC (like Dolby Atmos), it might be better to use the optical connection if you can.

There is a dedicated subwoofer output that can be used to connect one Bose Bass Module 500 or 700 via an optional $ 10 cable.

You also get bluetooth. This can be used as a wireless connection for streaming music from a phone, tablet or computer. However, you can also connect the TV speaker as a companion device to a Bose smart speaker or soundbar using the Bose Music app.

Speaking of bluetooth, I wish Bose only had the ability to pair a Bose wireless headset, like you can with the company’s smart soundbars. Given that the TV speaker is in many bedrooms, this would have been an excellent addition to home TV.

user friendliness

Bose TV speaker remote controlSimon Cohen / Digital Trends

If you just want to hear your TV through the Bose TV speaker, there is next to nothing to do, especially if you’re using HDMI ARC. This connection allows your TV remote control to send volume and mute commands to the speaker. This is all you need for basic operation. As a bonus for Roku TV owners, the TV speaker is Roku TV ready, which means all of the speaker’s functions can be controlled via on-screen menus and your Roku remote control.

There are no physical controls at all in the soundbar – just two LED indicators in the front left corner indicate when the speaker is being turned on, muted, or using Bluetooth.

The included remote control isn’t backlit, but the main volume and mute buttons are easy to spot in the dark thanks to their layout and recessed design. With the remote control you can activate bluetooth mode, switch the speaker to dialogue enhancement mode and adjust the amount of bass, all of which are effortlessly possible.

The Bose TV speaker is as simple as a soundbar, which is exactly what some buyers want.

Sound quality

Bose TV speakersSimon Cohen / Digital Trends

Consistent with the TV speaker’s focus on simplicity, you don’t get any audio extras – no Dolby Digital, no Dolby Atmos, no DTS: X – heck, there isn’t even a virtualized surround mode that pretty much every $ 100 Soundbar offers these days.

What you get is excellent 2-channel stereo sound that makes watching TV far more enjoyable. Bose has always been able to make small speakers produce big sound, and the TV speaker is no exception. There is no built-in subwoofer and yet the soundbar creates a lot of low-end – especially if you use the bass adjustment to the maximum.

The two angled full-range drivers convey a sense of breadth and depth that sometimes surprised me with its realism. At the price, it would have been nice if Bose had given us the ability to control other aspects of the EQ like highs and mids, but given the balance of the speaker that is out of the box, I doubt I would mess around with them myself when i had her.

Dialog mode does exactly what you’d expect, enhancing the upper registers where voices live while emphasizing the other soundtrack material.

Unlike some other dialog settings I’ve tried that can produce a harsh, brittle sound, the Bose TV speaker simply delivers cleaner, more intelligible speech.

Bose TV speakersSimon Cohen / Digital Trends

The TV speaker can definitely get loud enough to fill large rooms with sound – with virtually no distortion – but its sweet spot is smaller rooms like bedrooms or dens. In these rooms, the loudspeaker really shines and offers a much wider and deeper soundstage than a standard TV without having to rely on pure energy when working.

Can you use the Bose TV speaker for music too? Absolutely. Streaming sources like Tidal, Spotify, and YouTube Music over Bluetooth sounded very good, although unlike Bose’s Soundbar 700, which is used to reveal hidden details in my favorite songs, the TV speaker simply offers decent stereo sound through a single speaker. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Our opinion

While the Bose TV speaker may be significantly more expensive than larger, bolder soundbars with more features, it’s the perfect TV companion for those who are short on space, patient, and high quality sound.

Is there a better alternative?

If you’re looking for a simple TV speaker this is it Bose Solo 5 TV sound system is still available and is often offered for less than $ 200 off-peak. It is bulkier than the TV speaker, does not have HDMI ARC and does not have a special tweeter to improve dialogue.

If you want a soundbar with a similarly small footprint and more features, the $ 400 Bose Smart Soundbar 300 or $ 400 Sonos Beam are great options with voice assistants, Apple AirPlay 2, and smartphone apps that let you do a variety of EQ – and adjust other settings.

How long it will take?

Bose products are of excellent build quality. I assume the Bose TV speaker will last as long as you need it, especially because of its simple design and features. However, Bose only offers a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Should you buy it?

Yes. While expensive for what it is, the Bose TV speaker is a premium and easy-to-use TV audio add-on that will make your movies and shows sound as good as they look.

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