The star feature of the Boston Acoustics SoundWare XS Digital Cinema is its Bluetooth. It supports the A2DP profile and is easy to set up, entering pairing mode when we selected it for the first time and appearing on our device instantly. If you have lots of music hoarded up on your phone or iPad then this is a killer feature, making it super easy to liberate your tunes without the extra clutter of docks or cables.
Another of the system’s key features is built-in Dolby Digital decoding. That means you can hook up a DVD/Blu-ray deck or TV to the optical input and enjoy movie soundtracks, albeit in 2.1 channels. There are Movie and Music sound modes, delivering the most appropriate EQ settings for the content you’re listening to – the Movie mode brings extra width while Music gives it to you straight.
The system is also very easy to operate thanks to the supplied Control Pod, a black matchbox-sized IR receiver that connects to the back of the subwoofer. Putting the IR receiver in the sub would be no good if it’s hidden away, but the Control Pod (and its long cable) can be placed in a convenient place with good line of sight from your seating position. It’s equipped with three LEDs indicating the selected input, sound mode and power status using different colours (red, green or blue). It’s simple but effective.
The accompanying remote is a fiddly credit-card sized affair, with a few blister buttons covering volume, input and all the other key functions. But if you don’t have the dexterity to handle this little device you can use your existing TV remote. The system can be programmed to respond to your TV’s handset using the ‘Learn’ button on the supplied remote. It’s a matter of holding down the Learn button then pressing the relevant keys one by one, which takes a little while but is well worth it for the added convenience. The subwoofer’s volume can be adjusted using the dial on the back.
As for the specs, each satellite features a 64mm woofer and 13mm tweeter to deliver a frequency response of 39Hz – 20kHz, while the front-firing subwoofer is equipped with 250W of amplification to drive the satellites and its own 203mm woofer.