Today, Bose unveiled its first TV, a 46" backlit LCD with 16 built-in speakers, which the company is touting as its most advanced product ever, the result of ten years of research.
But the first thing you'll notice (or won't notice) is that the speakers are nowhere to be seen -- they're actually behind the screen. That might sound like a trade-off -- sacrificing room-filling surround-sound -- but we've heard it, and it's no sacrifice. In fact, when you listen to the system, sound seems to magically emanate from invisible speakers all around you.
The technical key to the whole shebang is something called "Phaseguide" technology: Seven of those 16 speakers are linked with a single, nanosecond timing system. But sightly alternating the sound from each, the sound can seem like it's traveling through space, to your ear, from another point in the room. Additionally, a tube that connects those phased speakers points and directs the sound. In person, the experience can be totally strange: A Bose spokesperson, demonstrating the underlying technology, waved a laser pointer around the room while sounds issued forth -- voila, it seemed like the sound was moving around precisely the laser dot.
In addition, there are six compact subwoofers in a magnesium chassis, inside the TV which are placed facing each other, so that all the mechanical vibration cancels out. That ensures clean bass that does shake your house but remains deep and rich.
Yet from a design standpoint, what might be the most outstanding feature also happens to sound like the most boring: A universal remote that allows any device connected to the TV to be controlled via a simple onscreen interface -- no more hunting for tiny remote buttons.
It works simply: When you plug in a new device -- which could be an iPod or a DVR or a DVD player -- the central media dock recognizes it and then recognizes what specific controls that device requires. Thus, for a Blu-ray player, these might include play, pause, fast forward, etc.
Then, you can bring these up on screen, with a touch-sensitive ring on the remote. Simply by scrolling your finger around that touch-sensitive part of the remote, you can move a cursor around the on-screen buttons. Click and you're there.
The only additional buttons the remote has are the common, universal one: Volume, Channel, Source, and Power.
The system will be on sale October 14th, for $5,349 at Bose stores only.