The subjectivity in our AV industry is so dominant and drastic at times that it can practically influence the judgement and tastes of complete generations. A good example is Bose who has managed to influence AV enthusiasts generation after generation. The key to their success, we feel, is the ability to innovate and simply ‘think out of the box’ – however clichéd it may be. Their latest product, the VideoWave II home entertainment system is an apt testimony to this. We find out if it lives up to the claims that it makes and also the expectations that tag along.
OUT OF THE BOX
When we heard 'home entertainment system', we were expecting a full-fledged system with a number of speakers and an AV receiver system, but instead, with the Bose VideoWave II, we were presented with nothing else than a huge 55" LED TV, not as thin as the ones which we get today in the market, but still quite slim in profile for its diagonal size of 55". Accompanying the TV was a small console (slightly bigger than a Sony PlayStation 3 console) that claimed to be the hub of this home-entertainment system. We couldn’t help but be sceptical of the system’s tall claims. So we decided to find out more about this?product.
Audio forms a major function of any home-entertainment system and that was found missing from Bose’s VideoWave system. But on closer inspection we found that the missing speaker is actually the USP of the Bose VideoWave II system and Bose has come up with an unique way to address this issue. The 55" LED TV itself holds all the pre-requisites for a home-theatre system. For this, Bose has employed not four or five but 16 different speakers, placed strategically at different locations within the TV cabinet so as to provide an all-encompassing sound?experience.
Speaking of an effective sound experience, the lower-end holds the key and for that Bose has employed a six feet wave-guide arrangement with six subwoofers pumping air into it. Next in line is the console hub, which acts as the AV receiver in any conventional HT setup. It incorporates four HDMI inputs and a host of other input options so that you can add your existing Blu-ray player, camcorder, etc. to the TV and get started immediately.
The console does not have any decoding capability as far as audio is considered (Dolby or DTS), so make sure that the player you use should be able to do this. In terms of video, the 55" display is a backlit LED display with the capability to playback full HD video (1080p) with no 3D or smart TV capability. Bose has also packed an iPod dock with the?console.
With everything shoved in one box, we expected the remote for the VideoWave system to be heavily crowded due to all the functions that it has to do single-handedly. But instead, much to our surprise, we were handed a controlpad that had not more than six buttons. A snug fit in any hand, the remote had a squarish touchpad which took only a couple of minutes to get used to. We loved the simple and absolutely easy to use approach of Bose here, as there is hardly any remembering or confusion that we had to go through.
After we got the hang of this really interesting product from Bose we started the setup process which, we emphasise, was super easy and absolutely dumbed down. There is hardly anything that you have to do on your own in the set up process. The setup includes, connecting your Blu-ray player, set-top box or any other such source and for this Bose has provided a software program called Unify, which assists you as you begin the setup rituals. As soon as you try to connect any source, the program prompts you about the exact point of connection on the console, the kind of cable that you will need and also if there is any system changes to be done within your source.
After you are done with this, Unify also assists you in programming the universal controlpad that comes with the VideoWave II in accordance to the remote of your source device, it has all been made that easy. The sound system, as we have mentioned, is a sort of pseudo surround system and obviously needs to be calibrated according to your place of usage. To do this, Bose has provided a calibration assistant called AdaptiQ, which, like all other calibration assistants, lets you calibrate the sound system in the TV according to your living room or wherever you have placed the system. Once you have done that and got the TV started, you are treated with the very intuitive and suggestive user interface on the TV itself. As we have mentioned earlier, you will have to get used to the working of the trackpad to make optimum use of the user interface on the TV and, according to our experience, it did not take more than two minutes for that to?happen.
Moving ahead, we slipped the Blu-ray of ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’ to see how the TV fairs in terms of both audio and video and were only mesmerised with the crisp, clear and very accurate picture off the TV. The Blu-ray of Sherlock Holmes has a gamut of options where you can check the picture quality of your display device. The TV was able to portray the set sepia tone of the movie with good warmth and authenticity. The skin tones were at their best and we could clearly see the organic feel that we always seek and also the freshness that we look for.
In terms of black levels, the TV was very convincing, with a deep black level response, which not only added to the contrast response of the TV but also helped the TV to put out a healthy colour response. The best part about the TV was its ability to handle motion, as we did not see any judder or stutter throughout the movie, even during scenes which have heavy transition from slow motion to regular frame speed. The TV does not offer a lot of opportunity to tweak the picture but instead has holistic preset options wherein the TV adjusts the overall picture (essentially brightness) according to the ambient light. This is not an automated feature, but instead you have to specify the information (dark room, well lit room, etc.) to the TV according to which it adjusts the picture.
Sound is an important component in the Bose VideoWave system and we believe it is a sheer delight. We have never seen a television that is able to provide a sound experience so immersive and room-filling. All that the sixteen speakers claim and the waveguide boasts do work and very effectively at that. The speakers in the Waveguide system manage to provide for an absolutely entertaining sound experience and at no point will you realise that it is coming off a TV. If we were not told at the beginning about this absence of speakers, then we would have never found out about it! It's not that the speakers give a complete 360° surround sound experience but they definitely managed to span out atleast 220° of soundstage. While we played the BBC documentary ‘Life’ on Blu-ray, we were simply delighted to see how the speaker system managed to put up a very convincing show as far as audio was concerned. The Blu-ray has a great mixture of music and ambient sounds, which the Bose system was able to render very accurately and with utmost directivity. Even the lower end in the audio spectrum was nice and succulent (though coming from a TV and without a dedicated subwoofer) which made the experience even more entertaining and satisfying.
The best part was listening to stereo music, during which the speakers presented us with all the prerequisites for a perfect stereo system. There was a wide horizontal expanse, very balanced tonal response and, most of all, a nicely rounded and room filling sound. The TV also comes with a feature called Video Mute, wherein you can mute the video signal and use the VideoWave system only for music reproduction purposes. You can also use the iPod dock for the?same.
WHAT SAY AV?
Yes, it does have its shortfall, mainly, absence of 3D video and also the lack of smart capabilities, as most TVs these days have, but priced at approximately Rs 5 lakh, the Bose VideoWave System II aptly fits the bill of a lifestyle product, especially for its simple and hassle free plug’n’play operation. The VideoWave II manages to pull out a lot of different tasks and still does not even show a single trace of complexity. With it elaborate in-built speaker system, an easy to use remote control and uber cool and convenient user interface and on-board programs, it manages to make your life much easier and simpler as compared to people who have a discreet home-theatre system. And the best part is that it still manages to give you the same level of involvement and quality in the overall entertainment zone. We definitely recommend it.
RESOLUTION 1920x1080p LED Backlit Display (Full HD)
ASPECT RATIO 16:9
CONNECTIVITY 4 HDMI Inputs
2 High-definition Component A/V Inputs
2 USB Inputs