Tech Talk: Looking for a simple sound system? Go Solo with Bose.

Posted on November 16, 2012

Murray Hill Tech TalkA dedicated, wired-in surround system is a beautiful thing, but if you’re an apartment dweller, move a lot, or someone with a small space, then it’s certainly not all that practical to get a wired system. You’ve got those pesky wires to deal with, and besides, if you’re in an apartment you can’t crank it up anyway without having neighbours pounding on the walls. A portable sound system that easily connects to your flat screen is a good answer in my book.

Enter the Bose Solo TV sound system. This $449.99 CAD system sits under your TV, plugs into it with just an optical cable and dramatically enhances the sound from your TV. It’s not quite that simple, but pretty close to it. The Bose Solo comes with an optical cable that you plug into the back of your TV, but you could also use a right and left analog cable and a coaxial input. There’s also a USB port and a 3.5mm port but they’re for service and data – not for you. The Solo also plugs into the wall directly, so no power brick to worry about.

Bose Solo TV Sound System

Photo – Bose: Bose Solo TV Sound System

I would view the Bose Solo as a niche product. You can’t plug any other device into it other than your TV, so no DVD player or anything else. It’s made to strictly work with a TV and if that TV has an optical output than so much the better. It works. Bose’s speaker array technology spreads the sound all around the room, and it reproduces a wide range of sound. That takes the bedroom TV from something to provide background noise only into a device that you want to watch and listen to. According to Bose, “with proprietary digital signal processing, . . . sound is adjusted and optimized at any volume level”. What this means to consumers is that the Solo adjusts quickly to different sound levels, so you can hear quiet dialog and not be scared out of your wits by sudden explosive sound. I like that.

The 4 Bose Solo TV sound system speaker drivers and bass ports

Photo – Bose: The 4 Bose Solo TV sound system speaker drivers and bass ports

The Bose Solo is 7.6cm H x 52.7cm W x 31.1cm D, and weighs in at 4.6kg. It comes with a remote that turns the device on an off and increases or decreases the volume and another button to mute – that’s it. This is a simple system.

The Solo is built to put your TV on top of; it’ll support up to about 40 pounds – the size of a 37” or maybe a light 40” TV. It’s probably not going to be the TV the whole family watches football games on, but it’s more likely to be used on a second TV or even a bedroom TV. Junior, in his apartment or dorm, would love the Bose Solo.

With the Bose Solo. You can fill a room with clear, resonant sound at the flip of a switch. It’s amazing that when you mute your TV’s speaker and switch to the Bose Solo, the resulting sound is so satisfying you’ll never go back to the onboard speakers on your TV. Unless, of course, your TV happens to be one of the fantastic Bose VideoWave TVs. In that case you don’t need the Solo!

There are four drivers onboard the Bose Solo and two bass ports. The sound they provide is perfect for TV watching and even listening to the music channels you get on cable or satellite. There’s plenty of depth to the sound, highs are clear can crisp and lows are resonant.

The back panel on the Bose Solo TV sound system

Photo – Bose: The back panel on the Bose Solo TV sound system

PROS: Great sound for small spaces and smaller TVs; Bose quality and workmanship; dead easy setup; simple remote; you can stand your TV right on top of it.

CONS: It’s a bit expensive; additional inputs would be nice to connect DVD players etc to it; you need a different remote to control any devices other than the Solo.

TO SUM IT UP:  The Bose Solo TV sound system is the perfect thing for situations where all users want it to have a greatly enhanced TV viewing experience. It’s limited in that it only works with one TV, but there are plenty of situations where this is exactly the kind of product a consumer might be looking for. It’s definitely worth looking at.

Murray Hill is lead tech writer at You can reach Murray by email at or on Twitter at @MurrayDHill

About Murray Hill

Murray Hill has been a freelance columnist appearing regularly in some of the most prominent Canadian newspapers since 1974. He began writing about technology over twenty-four years ago and he still maintains the belief that there's a gadget or gizmo for every situation and application. His fascination with technology and gadgets has endured for over fifty years, and has led to many familial discussions about the the difference between the words "need" and "want" when referring to tech. Based in Saskatoon, connect with Murray at: Author's Note: I write a column on a single product, rather than comparing products. I do this because what I write is my personal opinion on a particular product. Sometimes I get something sent to me automatically, but mostly I ask manufacturers for a particular product to review. I usually have these products for a period of a few weeks to a few months, then they are returned. I get to keep some products - usually the ones that would cost more to ship back than they are worth - and most of those items get given away. I do get an honorarium from Communicatto for writing, but get no compensation from manufacturers or the firms representing them - so nobody buys my opinion! I also try to use photos and graphics provided, mostly because I'm a terrible photographer!

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