Bose has launched two new soundbar home cinema solutions, the Lifestyle 135 and the CineMate 1 SR. We only have US prices for them at present, and as you might imagine they don't come cheap. The Lifestyle 135 costs $2499, and the CineMate a mere $1499.
As with any Bose product, though, they're carefully geared to fit into the average buyer's life - this buyer being a well-heeled chap in a suit (or so we imagine). Both feature a subwoofer unit as well as the bar.
The Lifestyle 135 - Bose's soundbar mac-daddy
The Lifestyle 135 also includes a control console that acts as a home cinema receiver, letting you plug in your Blu-ray player, games consoles and so on. A wide array of connections are catered-for, including three HDMI inputs, two sets of component sockets and an optical audio in, among other bits and bobs. Bose has unfortunately not provided a nice hi-res shot of the control unit's back - you don't get more "lifestyle" than that.
The best-available shot of the control box's connections
Similarly, Bose is keeping quiet about exactly what drivers feature in soundbar itself. It doesn't appear to offer any clever tech to simulate a proper 5.1 soundstage, so while it's compatible with HD sound codecs, it's not the best way to make use of your Avatar Blu-ray.
The speaker array module is 935mm wide, enough to span the most of the width of your TV and give a decent stereo image. For two and a half grand, it's a lot of money for an arguably simple 2.1-style setup, though.
The CineMate 1 SR sheds a thousand dollars off the 135's price, but also lacks the control centre. It's designed to be connected to your TV and not a great deal else. It offers Coaxial and Optical digital audio inputs, as well as trusty old phono stereo sockets. Other than these connectivity differences, the soundbars themselves appear similar.
The simpler CineMate 1 SR offers basic connectivity
Both do feature some neat little tricks, though. The offer automatic calibration, removing the headache from setting up your home cinema (we'll admit there's a lot less to calibrate there than in a 7.1 setup, mind) and can tell if they're laid flat or upright - mounted on a wall, perhaps.
It's a lot of money to ask for a simple audio setup, but perhaps these Bose soundbars will blow us away with their sound quality. Stay tuned for the full review to find out. The Bose Lifestyle 135 and CineMate 1 SR already feature on Bose's website, if you'd like a closer look at its blurb on the pair.