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Bose Adds Upgraded Systems

8/23/2006 08:00:00 AM Eastern

Framingham, Mass. – New Bose products include a 2.1 computer speaker system that delivers surround sound and an upgraded one-piece Acoustic Wave music system, which now offers iPod and audio-network connectivity while retaining its predecessor’s $1,079 price point.

The Acoustic Wave II music system, incorporating AM/FM tuner and CD player, will be available Sept. 7 in white or gray only through Bose’s direct channels, including Bose-owned stores. It will be Bose’s first music or home theater system to mate with an Apple iPod. The company already offers an amplified iPod speaker system called the SoundDock.

For iPod connectivity, Bose plans late-October availability of an optional $129 docking station that recharges an iPod and uses an analog output to connect to the Acoustic Wave’s analog auxiliary input. An included IR remote integrates the control of the docked iPod and Wave system by, for example, enabling users to automatically shut off the iPod when they hit the remote’s CD or FM buttons. The remote also controls basic iPod functions, including on/off, play/pause, and seek up/down. The Wave does not display the iPod’s menu or metadata.

The Acoustic Wave also adds BoseLink-network compatibility, enabling it to stream music from any of six Lifestyle home theater systems in other rooms through a proprietary wired connection or wirelessly via optional $399 transmitter/receiver package. Two of the Lifestyle systems feature music-storing HDDs. A separately available $149 RF remote enables users to control the remote Lifestyle systems and view the metadata of songs residing on the remote systems’ hard drives.

Other BoseLink clients include the $499 Wave Music System table radio/CD, the Wave Radio 2, and two two-speaker home theater surround systems.

Other improvements to the Acoustic Wave II include MP3-CD playback, a three-line text display instead of an icon display to show MP3 metadata, optional five-disc CD changer available Sept. 7 at $299, and digital signal processing, which is used to equalize the sound and deliver higher output, particularly in the bass region.

In another introduction, Bose will expand its computer-speaker selection to three SKUs on Sept. 7, when its flagship Companion 5 system becomes available at $399 through direct channels and authorized dealers. Unlike its two companions, the Companion 5 is a 2.1 system that delivers surround sound through the left-right desktop speaker pair.

For plug-and-play connectivity, the system’s subwoofer box plugs into a PC’s USB port to stream six channels of 48kHz/16-bit PCM audio from a PC that’s decoding Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks from movie DVDs, game software, or the Web. No software has to be loaded on the PC. A touch-sensitive control pod controls system volume and mute.

The subwoofer box contains system amplification, PCM decoder, and proprietary TrueSpace surround processor that uses psychoacoustic techniques to create 5.1-channel discrete surround sound through two speakers. The technology is derived from Bose’s 2.1-speaker home theater systems but is tailored for nearfield PC listening. It also eliminates the home theater systems’ need to bounce sound off sidewalls to deliver surround effects.

To test satellite-radio demand among Bose’s simplicity-minded customer base, Bose quietly began selling its first Sirius satellite tuner, which connects to the company’s one-piece $499 table radio/CD.