Bose misses the mark when it comes to video

People either love or hate Bose

Let me start this by saying that I am a fan of Bose audio products. I currently have more of their gear than I care to admit. The New Bose Sounddock Portable ROCKS! However, when it comes to their home theater solutions, I’m starting to wonder "what were they thinking?" In my home theater I have a Bose Lifestyle 28 system. I bought it a few years ago off eBay. I got it new in the box for a fraction of the retail price. I’ve been happy with the performance and I’m thrilled by the compactness of the whole system and sound that it delivers. It was also extremely easy to setup and it’s very well integrated. This particular system included a DVD player built-in. Their higher end systems also include hard drives for music storage. Again, these were all welcomed features THREE OR FOUR YEARS AGO!

Today, anyone looking to equip a home theater has one thing in mind and that’s HIGH DEF! Traditionally Bose home theater solutions have focused on DVD and Component connections. Now that the format war is over, everyone that is moving forward is looking at Blu-ray and HDMI. So the question becomes, why would you introduce a new system in 2008 that doesn’t have a Blu-ray player in it? That’s right! I received an email advertisement from Bose about their NEW "3-2-1 GSX Series III". This system (the higher end model) has a hard drive that can store up to 200 hours of music from your CDs. It has an HDMI out port (about time) and drum roll please…A DVD player that upconverts to 1080p!!!! Huh? Um, hello! Upconverter DVD players are so 2006! While you can argue that Blu-ray is still a pricey situation and most people are still on DVD, I would agree. However, most people aren’t looking to buy NEW systems that feature DVD upconverters. If you’re in the market for a NEW system, you’re in the market for HD. Bose has never been known for being "cheap!" This "new" system goes for $1,499 ($999 for the model without the hard drive). For that kind of coin you should expect to have the latest and greatest technologies. Obviously you could piece together a system that does include a Blu-ray player for less (and you probably should). Granted, it wouldn’t be as integrated in an all-in-one easy to configure solution. So is it worth a grand for this kind of convenience? Um, based on my experience with the previous model, I’m gonna have to go with NO. For less than a thousand dollars, you can do better and have a really good sounding system that DOES do both Blu-ray AND upconverted standard def DVDs.

It’s funny that they don’t even picture the one HDMI port that they do have (probably an older picture on their site).


Note to Bose

If you want to stay in the game, then you’re going to have to step up quickly and adopt the new standard. Yes, it’s Blu-ray and yes it’s from your competitor – Sony. Otherwise, stick to what you do best which is audio. Leave the video to the others that are doing it better. Also realize that having no HDMI "in" or Component in ports and only one optical audio in port is like having a analog TV with one channel. Even if I want to add my own Blu-ray player to this system, I wouldn’t be able to as you have no HD inputs at all. You are so missing the mark with this product it’s not even funny and this is coming from a fan. Imagine what the haters are saying?

15 Replies to “Bose misses the mark when it comes to video”

  1. You could always run the hdmi directly into the tv and use an optical cable to get sound into the bose system. Your snazzy harmony remote is going to effortlessly switch the tv input for you anyway. So yes, it’s still possible to add a blue ray player to this unit.

    Klipsch speakers and a denon receiver would also do the job. Have you seen the wireless 2.1 setup in the CS-700? It sounds really nice if you like fuller sound.

  2. Brandon, Good point. Yes, as a work around the Blu-ray could be connected directly to the TV via HDMI and the Bose could be used for Audio via the “one” optical audio in port (which is what I do now on the Lifestyle 28). However, then that kind of defeats the purpose of this being an all-in-one system, which was the point I was trying to make. If I’m going to go with separate components anyway (like a Blu-ray player), then it would be much better to just get a receiver and not go with this system.

  3. Well did you consider what it would cost Bose to add a 2.0 blu-ray player? (with ethernet jack) There is no doubt that with the cost to create these changes it would mean much higher prices for bose. besides bose is known for audio. you buy one of their systems for audio. If you want an easy two speaker solution thats exactly what they are offering in a product like the 321. and the hdmi output is just an added convenience. obviously HD and the use of HDMI cabeling is blowing up and becoming very popular. that is why the nice HD TVs have a handful of HDMI inputs. Just keep your current set up with all your components the way it is. add the 321, connect audio and enjoy audio way better than what came from your tv. or get a V-Class system. the market is funny right now. blu-ray isnt the only available HD format. i could understand why a company that sells a luxary item (is not going to put gas in your tank) is being weary of a fickle media

  4. Bob,
    I sure did consider the “extra” cost of adding a Blu-ray player and there is no reason why a Blu-ray model couldn’t have been an “option”. Ethernet is already on the unit. Bose has no problem charging $400 more for a hard drive for your music option, so why not a $400 Blu-ray option? Again, the point of this unit is to be self contained and YES, I know that I can add my own Blu-ray player and plug it in directly to the TV. My point is that why even bother going with a standard def player at all for a NEW system? Also what would be the other HD formats that you speak of? As far as I can see it’s Blu-ray when it comes to buying movies on disc. Am I missing something?

  5. Yes, I too am curious what other HD formats Bob could be talking about. I mean sure, I’ve heard rumors about netflicks teaming up with x-box 360 for hi-def downloads, but I’m pretty sure blue ray is the only disc type option.

    And yes, Terry I agree it doesn’t make a lot of sense to go with a standard def unit in the 321. But then perhaps there was a licensing problem? Anyway, I’ve always been a fan of the separate receiver option anyway.

    Good thoughts, gentlemen.

  6. Hi Terry! I don’t want to sound too negative, but Bose is not taken seriously at all by home theater enthusiasts – myself included. I love the Wave Radio and Quiet Comfort headphones, but for the same money, you can get much more in a home theater. People like the small form factor, especially for living rooms where there’s a huge WAF (wife acceptance factor), but if you have a dedicated room, you’d immediately notice an improvement. I personally have an Onkyo AVR, Blue-Ray player and FANTASTIC PSB speakers from a dealer in Royal Oak. I’ll stop ranting now!

  7. that is why they brought out the VS2 + they are an audio company and do what they know with the instability of blu ray they prob wont go down that line yet

  8. Hi Terry,

    As a former Bose employee, I think your remarks on the lack of BR is certainly on target and likely echoes the sentiment of many consumers in the market for a mid level system. And while Bose does generally produce a good product, they are also quite slow to adapt and integrate new and commonly used technologies into their systems.

    I remember the struggle we had a few years ago to convince engineering to include a DVD player in the Lifestyle system instead of a CD player even when DVD players were already quite commonplace. I would be willing to bet a few dollars they are having that same conversation/struggle internally right now with regard to BR/DVD. For better or for worse, Bose has never wanted to produce “me too” products which often leaves consumers scratching their heads when they introduce products that lack state of the art technologies.


  9. Adding a BluRay player to a Bose system would HUGELY increase their costs. THey provide a 50 dollar DVD player wrapped up in a 50 dollar receiver, add 10 dollar speakers and a 20 dollar bass “module” (its an insult to all subwoofers to call a BOse module a subwoofer) and sell it for 2 grand. A Bluray player would probably cost as much asthe rest of the package. But they sell the crap out of these things because they have cultivated a market by spending tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing and advertising.
    Bose is a lousy audio and video company, but they are one of, if not the , best marketing companies of all time.

  10. The BIG question I have is exactly what hard drive is used in the GSX Series III. As a computer technician who has worked on HD issues, I will insist on knowing what HD is used and I can perform a DIY mirroring of all data the system puts on the drive, back it up, then restore if it ultimately crashes. I love their idea, but they MUST tell me more about what I’m buying before I’ll bite the bait.

  11. To add insult to injury none, that’s right none of the Bose systems can decode bitstreamed HD Audio No dts-HD or Dolby TrueHD, Which is only available via HDMI 1.3.They don’t even have the brains to put Analog 5.1 input for BD (not BR!) players that can internally decode HD audio formats. A $199 yamaha Receiver atleast has that input!!! Stop wasting time on “cute” little speakers and come up with some innovations Bose or atleast some current features. Like maybe: ( this will be long) XM and/or Sirius support, HD audio support, ipod/itunes A/V support, internet radio, using HQV Reon or Realta chips for video scaling,Burr Brown DACs for CD playback, Compressed music enhancer, or maybe even a system that doesn’t have problems with the HDMI handshake ( or is that too mainstream for you Bose?)

  12. It is very funny that there seems to be no middle ground when it comes to Bose. But as a point of reference, they hold by far, the largest percentage of market share for their category among trusted brands. It isn’t even close. Those of you that would say they have no innovation have had no real exposure to the company or their products for that matter. Dynamic Equalization, Digital Dynamic Range Compression, AdaptIQ, VideoStage 5, Radio Frequency Remote Control; all technologies developed by Bose to make listening to music and watching movies simply and enjoyably. Are there better systems? Define better first. Sure there are opinions, and we all have them. But for my money, and that of my customers, Bose Lifestyle systems sell, and most important of all, stay sold. They are easy for customers to use, and for the masses, they sound “great”, self-proclaimed audiophiles insert caveat here. They back up their marketing with demonstrable benefits for customers, and yes I too used to work for them. Take it for what it is, but be objective.

  13. I toally agree. Bose should eliminate video from their Lifestyle systems and let users add their own Blu-Ray.

    What’s next for Bose?…Eight-track?

  14. I have to agree with much of the previous stmts. I like bose’s compactness and all but c`mon Bose, update and market your supposedly highend with current formats at least! It would get at least that respect from haters and followers alike. Bose heed this advice, release a Lifestyle V50 7.1 system that decodes Dolby TrueHD, DTS HD MasterAudio, and your basic DD, DTS 5.1 through HDMI. With 4 HDMI inputs and a HDMI output. Along with 7 jewel cube speakers. If you can do that then I’m sold.

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