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Bose TV Speaker Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v1.2
Review updated Aug 10, 2023 at 11:34 am
Bose TV Speaker Picture
6.4
Mixed Usage
6.9
Dialogue/TV Shows
6.7
Music
5.8
Movies

The Bose TV Speaker is a simple plug-and-play soundbar released in 2020. Designed as a step up from your TV speakers, its small, compact design makes it ideal for those who don't have a lot of space in their setup, and its 2.0 design makes it ideal for enhancing stereo content, which includes most music and TV shows. Naturally, it doesn't come with as many features as Bose's more premium offerings, like the Bose Smart Soundbar 900, and it doesn't sound quite as immersive.

Our Verdict

6.4 Mixed Usage

The Bose TV Speaker is acceptable for mixed usage. It's a 2.0 bar that lacks the extra bells and whistles of more premium offerings, so it's better suited for users who just want to improve stereo content like music and TV shows. Its default sound is quite balanced, meaning that voices and lead instruments are clear in the mix. You won't find a lot of customization tools, though, and it's not ideal for listening to multi-channel content.

Pros
  • Dialogue enhancement feature available.
  • Bluetooth-compatible.
  • Bass adjustment feature available.
Cons
  • Doesn't support Atmos.
  • No EQ or room correction feature.
  • Compression artifacts at max volume.
6.9 Dialogue/TV Shows

The Bose TV Speaker is fair for dialogue-heavy TV shows and podcasts. It's a 2.0 bar, so it lacks a discrete center channel, but thanks to its balanced mids, you don't have any trouble following the action in your favorite shows. Voices are clear and detailed, and a dialogue enhancement tool is on hand. Since it's Bluetooth-compatible, you can stream podcasts from your phone to the bar.

Pros
  • Dialogue enhancement feature available.
  • Bluetooth-compatible.
Cons
  • Compression artifacts at max volume.
  • No auto-volume mode.
6.7 Music

The Bose TV Speaker is alright for music. Its default frequency response is quite balanced, especially in the mids, where most voices and lead instruments reproduce. As a result, it's suitable for most music genres, and there's even a little extra boom and warmth to mixes. However, like most small, standalone bars, it has difficulty reproducing deep low-bass rumble, so you won't feel your chair move along with bass-heavy genres like EDM. You can add a subwoofer to improve its bass reproduction, but it's a separate add-on.

Pros
  • Bluetooth-compatible.
  • Bass adjustment feature available.
Cons
  • No EQ or room correction feature.
  • Compression artifacts at max volume.
5.8 Movies

The Bose TV Speaker isn't ideal for movies. Dialogue sounds clear, but without a sub, it struggles to bring the deep rumble in the bass that brings a cinematic feel to action-packed movies. It's a 2.0 setup, too, so multi-channel content like Dolby Digital downmixes into stereo. There's no support for more immersive formats, like Dolby Atmos, which is disappointing if you watch a lot of movies on streaming platforms.

Pros
  • Bass adjustment feature available.
Cons
  • Doesn't support Atmos.
  • No EQ or room correction feature.
  • Compression artifacts at max volume.
  • 6.4 Mixed Usage
  • 6.9 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 6.7 Music
  • 5.8 Movies
  1. Updated Aug 10, 2023: We've updated this review's text to bring it up to date and improve its accuracy.
  2. Updated Jun 07, 2023: Converted to Test Bench 1.2. Updated the results for audio format support via ARC/eARC, HDMI In, and Optical. Added Video Passthrough to TV results as well.
  3. Updated Mar 30, 2023: Added a market comparison to the Samsung HW-S60B/S61B in the Height (Atmos) box.
  4. Updated Mar 08, 2023: Added cable lengths to In The Box.
  5. Updated Mar 06, 2023: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. With this update, we've added a Mounting test and added information aboutSubwoofer Output, Spotify Connect, and Microphone Mute.
  6. Updated Aug 18, 2022: Updated review for accuracy and clarity.
  7. Updated Aug 26, 2021: Updated review for accuracy and clarity.
  8. Updated Feb 18, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.0.
  9. Updated Jan 13, 2021: Due to a change in our methodology, we updated DTS and DD+ support via ARC to 'No'.
  10. Updated Sep 21, 2020: The Dynamics tests have been reconducted due to a value input bug.
  11. Updated Sep 08, 2020: Review published.
  12. Updated Aug 31, 2020: Early access published.
  13. Updated Aug 24, 2020: Our testers have started testing this product.
  14. Updated Aug 21, 2020: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  15. Updated Aug 19, 2020: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Bose TV Speaker soundbar comes in 'Black', and you can see the label for the model we tested here.

If you encounter another version of this soundbar, let us know in the forums, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Soundbars

The Bose TV Speaker is a very compact 2.0 soundbar designed for TVs and TV-centric content. While it's pretty bare-bones in features, it delivers decent bass with smooth and neutral mids right out of the box, which is better suited for dialogue-centric content. It's also fairly easy to set up since it only has a couple of inputs, so you can watch your favorite game shows or soap operas without too much delay. You can expand this setup with one of Bose's Bass Modules, which is nice. However, this soundbar doesn't get very loud, so it may not be ideal for large or crowded rooms.

If you're looking for more soundbars, check out our recommendations for the best small soundbars, the best soundbars for dialogue, and the best soundbars under $300.

Sonos Ray

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer the Bose TV Speaker or the Sonos Ray. They're both budget-friendly 2.0 setups that are best with music and dialogue-focused TV shows. However, the Bose can reproduce a more extended low-bass, making you feel more rumble in the mix. Unlike the Sonos, it supports HDMI connectivity, too. However, the Sonos comes with more sound enhancement features, such as room correction, and it lets you connect to the Sonos ecosystem through its Sonos S2 app. There's even DTS support, which the Bose lacks.

Bose Smart Soundbar 300

The Bose Smart Soundbar 300 is better for mixed use than the Bose TV Speaker. The 300 has a better center and surround performance. It also offers treble adjustment and more wireless playback options like Apple AirPlay 2. It also connects to the Bose Music app that gives you a bit more functionality.

Sonos Beam

The Sonos Beam is a better soundbar than the Bose TV Speaker. The Sonos is a 3.0 setup with a better surround performance. It comes with more sound enhancement features, it can get loud enough for a large room, and you can stream music wirelessly to it using Wi-Fi or Apple AirPlay. It also has a companion app that can control all the bar's features. However, the Bose is a 2.0 setup that lets you use Bluetooth to play audio from your phone. The Bose also has an auto-off power-saving feature.

Bose Soundbar 500

The Bose TV Speaker and the Bose Soundbar 500 are two well-built soundbars with different setups. The Bose TV Speaker is a 2.0 setup that's smaller and more compact, which some users may prefer. It has a better-balanced sound profile with a decent amount of bass. The 500, on the other hand, is a 3.0 setup with a better-performing discrete center channel. It also has a better surround performance, EQ presets, and an ethernet port if you want to listen to audio from a flash drive. It even supports eARC, and although it re-encodes these formats into Dolby Digital, it has a companion app, and you can stream audio to it via Wi-Fi, Apple AirPlay, and Bluetooth.

Yamaha YAS-109

The Yahama YAS-109 is a slightly better soundbar for mixed use than the Bose TV Speaker. The Yahama has fewer compression artifacts at max volume, comes with EQ presets, and has a better surround performance. It also has a Full HDMI In port and supports Wi-Fi. However, the Bose is better built and sounds more neutral out of the box.

Sonos Arc

The Sonos Arc is a better soundbar than the Bose TV Speaker. The Sonos is a 5.0.2 setup that offers better soundstage, center, and surround performances. Unlike the Bose, it supports Dolby Atmos content and has built-in voice assistant support. It also comes with more sound enhancement features, including room correction. You can even upgrade it to the Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers for a better performance.

Bose Smart Soundbar 900

The Bose Smart Soundbar 900 is a better standalone bar than the Bose TV Speaker. The 900 is a premium 5.0.2 setup that supports Dolby Atmos content and has better soundstage, center, and surround performances. Also, it gets louder than the TV Speaker. If you're low on space, the TV Speaker's more compact design is a better fit. It's still a fair choice for listening to vocal-centric audio like TV shows.

Bose Solo Soundbar Series II

The Bose Solo Soundbar Series II and the Bose TV Speaker are similar 2.0 soundbars. The TV Speaker is better overall, having a couple of extra features. It's better built and has an HDMI ARC port, so it supports HDMI CEC to let you control the bar's basic features with your TV remote. Its stereo soundstage is better, too. These features may not be worth the value for some, so the Series II is a more affordable alternative.

Bose Smart Soundbar 700

The standalone Bose Smart Soundbar 700 is better than the Bose TV Speaker. The Soundbar 700 is better built, with better soundstage, center, and surround performances. It gets louder and has built-in voice assistant support. It also offers a room correction feature and more wireless playback options.

Sony HT-X8500

The Sony HT-X8500 is a 2.1 setup that's better for movies than the 2.0 setup Bose TV Speaker. Even though it doesn't get much louder than the Bose, the Sony has significantly better stereo dynamics. Its surround performance is better and it supports Atmos, which is great if you watch a lot of movies. The Sony also has EQ presets, its HDMI ARC and HDMI In ports support all common audio formats, and it supports DTS via Optical. It even supports eARC. However, the Bose feels better built, its sound profile is better balanced and neutral, and it's more compact overall, which some users may prefer.

Sony HT-S100F

The Bose TV Speaker is a bit better than the Sony HT-S100F. The Bose has a simple setup with better soundstage and surround performances. It can reproduce a slightly more extended low-bass, and its default sound profile is more neutral and balanced. However, it doesn't get quite as loud as the Sony.

Samsung HW-S60B/S61B

The Samsung HW-S60B/S61B is a more versatile soundbar than the Bose TV Speaker. Both are small standalone bars with built-in smart features. However, only the Samsung soundbar supports Dolby Atmos content. As a 5.0 bar, the Samsung comes with a discrete center channel, too, and it can playback surround sound without downmixing it into stereo like the 2.0 Bose. It offers more sound enhancement features, too.

Bose Solo 5

The Bose TV Speaker is a better 2.0 setup for dialogue and TV shows than the Bose Solo 5. The TV Speaker feels better built, and its sound profile is more neutral. The TV Speaker also has an HDMI ARC port. However, while the Solo 5 doesn't get as loud as the TV Speaker, it can reach max volume with less thumping and compression artifacts.

Yamaha YAS-209

The Yamaha YAS-209 is better than the Bose TV Speaker. The Yamaha reproduces a more extended low-bass and has a better soundstage. Unlike the Bose, it has a Full HDMI In port, Wi-Fi connectivity, and built-in voice assistant support. There are also some EQ presets to help you customize its sound. That said, the Bose is better built.

Bose Smart Soundbar 700 with Speakers + Bass Module

The Bose Smart Soundbar 700 with Speakers + Bass Module is better than the Bose TV Speaker. The Soundbar 700 is better built, and its dedicated sub helps reproduce a more extended low-bass. It also comes with discrete satellites that help improve its surround performance. It has better center and soundstage performances, and it supports more wireless playback options. Unlike the TV Speaker, it has room correction and built-in voice assistant capabilities.

Sony HT-S200F

The Bose TV Speaker is slightly better for mixed usage than the Sony HT-S200F. The Bose is better built and has a better soundstage. Its default sound profile is also a bit more neutral, which some users may prefer. However, the Sony has more sound enhancement features, including EQ presets.

Samsung HW-A450

The Samsung HW-A450 is better than the Bose TV Speaker. The Samsung is a 2.1 setup with a dedicated sub that can reproduce a more extended low-bass. It has a better center channel performance and gets louder with less compression at max volume. There are even more sound enhancement features, like a graphic EQ. However, some users may prefer the Bose's compact, standalone design. It's also better built.

Samsung HW-Q600A

The 3.1.2 Samsung HW-Q600A is better than the 2.0 Bose TV Speaker. The Samsung has a dedicated sub that helps reproduce a more extended low-bass, and it supports Dolby Atmos content. It has better soundstage, surround, and center performances, too. It also gets louder with less compression at max volume. There are even some more sound enhancement features available, such as a graphic EQ.

Samsung HW-A650

The Samsung HW-A650 is better than the Bose TV Speaker. The Samsung is a 3.1 setup with a dedicated subwoofer that can reproduce a more extended low-bass. It has better soundstage and center channel performances, and it can get louder. Also, there are more sound enhancement features to choose from, such as a graphic EQ. Unlike the 2.0 Bose, it also has a Full HDMI In port.

TCL Alto 3

The Bose TV Speaker is a better soundbar than the TCL Alto 3. The Bose is better built, and its sound profile is more neutral and balanced, making it suitable for a wider range of audio content. However, the TCL has a few EQ presets, which the Bose lacks.

Samsung HW-A550

The Samsung HW-A550 is better than the Bose TV Speaker. The Samsung is a 2.1 setup with a dedicated subwoofer that can reproduce a more extended low-bass. It has a better soundstage and gets louder with less compression at max volume. It also has more sound enhancement features, including a graphic EQ. However, some users may prefer the Bose's better-built, standalone design. It even has a better center channel performance.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style - Bar

The Bose TV Speaker has a very small design that looks sleek on your console table or mounted to your wall. The top of the bar is made from smooth plastic, while the front and sides are wrapped in a metal grille to protect the speakers.

Design
Style - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
No
Enclosure
No Subwoofer

This setup doesn't come with a subwoofer. However, you can purchase the Bose Bass Module 500 or Bose Module 700 to add one to the mix. Note that you can't use them wirelessly with this bar. You need to purchase a connection cable, sold separately.

Design
Style - Satellites
Satellite Wireless
No
Design
Dimensions - Bar
Width 23.5" (59.6 cm)
Height 2.2" (5.7 cm)
Depth 4.1" (10.4 cm)

This soundbar is remarkably small. It fits easily between the legs of a 55-inch TV. It's also not tall enough to obscure your TV unless the screen sits flush with the table.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Width N/A
Height N/A
Depth N/A
Design
Dimensions - Satellites
Width N/A
Height N/A
Depth N/A
Design
Mounting
Mountable Bar
Yes
Bar Brackets Included
No
Mountable Satellites
No
Satellite Brackets Included
No

You can mount this bar to your wall, which is great if you want to keep it off your console table. However, it doesn't include brackets, so you'll need to pick these up separately.

8.0
Design
Build Quality

This bar has great build quality. Even though it's partially plastic, it feels sturdy and solid. Its sleek metal grille gives it a more premium look and feel than the fabric wrap used by the Yamaha YAS-109/ATS-1090. Removable rubber screws cover the universal mounting holes, which is a nice touch.

Design
In The Box

  • Manual
  • Optical cable (4.9 ft / 1.5m)
  • Remote with battery
  • Power cable (4.9 ft / 1.5m)

Sound
7.2
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
Tested Preset
No Preset
Slope
-0.10
Std. Err.
2.82 dB
Channels
2.0
Low-Frequency Extension
55.0 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz

This soundbar has a decent stereo frequency response. Its response is pretty balanced, especially in the mids, which ensures that voices and lead instruments sound natural and clear. As a result, it's suitable for listening to most types of audio content. There's a touch of extra boom in the high-bass, too, but it lacks the deep thump and rumble in the low-bass you'll find in heavy bass lines and action-packed sound effects. If you listen to a lot of bass-heavy genres, consider adding on a separate sub to improve its bass reproduction.

7.2
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response With Preliminary Calibration
Suggested Preset
No Preset
Suggested Bass Setting
0
Suggested Treble Setting
N/A
Slope
-0.10
Std. Err.
2.82 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
55.0 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz

The Bose TV Speaker has a bass adjustment feature to help you customize its sound. However, its default sound profile follows our target curve well and represents the sound that most people enjoy. We don't recommend adjusting its settings unless you want a different sound profile.

6.5
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
2.99 dB

The Bose TV Speaker has an alright stereo soundstage performance. The soundstage stretches a bit past the bar itself, which helps to give the impression of a wider sound. However, it doesn't feel very focused, so objects like voices seem to be coming from a general or diffused area rather than from a pinpoint location.

6.5
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
89.2 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
3.17 dB

This soundbar has alright stereo dynamics. It gets loud enough to fill an average living room with sound, but like most small bars, it isn't enough for larger, more open spaces. Some thumping and compression artifacts are also present at max volume, especially in the bass range, which results in a less clear sound.

7.6
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.51
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.11

The THD performance is good. The range falls within good limits at normal listening volumes, resulting in clean and pure audio reproduction. There's a slight jump in THD at max volume, affecting your audio's purity. However, it's still minor, and it's hard to hear distortion with real-life content unless you're a discerning audiophile.

6.8
Sound
Center
Localization
Phantom
Slope
0.08
Std. Err.
2.45 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
88.1 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.50
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.08

The Bose TV Speaker is a 2.0 setup with no dedicated center speaker. Instead, it uses its left and right speakers to create sound in the center. However, this results in a diffused sound that's less clear than a discrete center channel. On the upside, its frequency response is quite balanced in the mid-range, so voices still reproduce clearly and with detail.

3.3
Sound
Surround 5.1
Localization
Stereo (Downmix)
Slope
-1.17
Std. Err.
4.79 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
84.7 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.55
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.11
7.1 Rears
No

This soundbar has a poor surround performance. As it's a 2.0 setup, it has to downmix surround content into stereo to play it, which doesn't produce the most accurate or clear representation of objects in the surround image. If you're watching a movie with lots of sound effects like gunfire, audio seems like it's coming from in front of you rather than from around you, resulting in an audio experience that isn't very immersive. Also, its frequency response is rather bass-heavy, which muddies voices in your surround content.

0
Sound
Height (Atmos)
Localization
Not Supported
Slope
N/A
Std. Err.
N/A
SPL @ Max Volume
N/A
Weighted THD @ 80dB
N/A
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
N/A

The Bose TV Speaker doesn't support height content, but if you're looking for a small standalone bar with Atmos support, check out the Samsung HW-S60B/S61B.

2.1
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
No
Dialogue Enhancement
Yes
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
No
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
No
Bass Adjustment
Yes
Treble Adjustment
No
EQ
No
Surround Level Adjustment
No
Rear Level Adjustment
No
Height Level Adjustment
No
Virtual Surround
No

There aren't a lot of sound enhancement features. You can adjust its bass, which gives you a bit of control over its sound, but it lacks more premium features like an EQ. A dialogue enhancement feature on the remote helps make voices more crisp and clear. For a 2.0 setup with some EQ presets, check out the TCL Alto 3 or the Sonos Ray.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Inputs/Outputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
1
HDMI Out
ARC
HDMI 2.1 Class Bandwidth
No
Full HDMI In
No
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
1
RCA In
No
USB for Files
No
Ethernet
No
Subwoofer Output
Yes

There are a couple of physical inputs. Unlike the Bose Solo Soundbar Series II, it has an HDMI ARC, so you can hook it up to your TV and control multiple HDMI-connected devices with one remote. There's a USB port, but you can only use it to service the bar with updates. Unfortunately, you can't use the bar as a hub between your TV and other devices like a Blu-ray player since it lacks a Full HDMI In port.

4.8
Connectivity
Audio Format Support: ARC/eARC
Dolby Atmos
Not Supported
Dolby Digital
Supported
Dolby Digital Plus
Not Supported
Dolby TrueHD
Not Supported
DTS
Not Supported
DTS:X
Not Supported
DTS-HD MA
Not Supported
PCM Channels
2.0

This soundbar supports Dolby Digital content via its ARC port. It's the most commonly used surround sound format; you'll see it on streaming platforms. However, there isn't support for more advanced lossless or object-based formats like Dolby Atmos.

0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support: HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
Not Supported
Dolby Digital
Not Supported
Dolby Digital Plus
Not Supported
Dolby TrueHD
Not Supported
DTS
Not Supported
DTS:X
Not Supported
DTS-HD MA
Not Supported
PCM Channels
Not Supported
6.5
Connectivity
Audio Format Support: Optical
Dolby Digital
Supported
DTS
Not Supported
PCM Channels
2.0

There's only Dolby Digital support via Optical, which is commonly found on Blu-ray discs and streaming platforms.

9.8
Connectivity
Latency
ARC
11 ms
Optical
9 ms
Full HDMI In
N/A

The latency performance is incredible. Thanks to its low latency via its ARC and Optical ports, you won't notice a delay between the audio you hear and the video you see. As a result, it's suitable for watching movies and videos over these connections. However, some apps and TVs compensate for latency differently.

0
Connectivity
Video Passthrough To TV
1080p Max Refresh Rate
Not Supported
1080p @ 4:4:4 Max Refresh Rate
Not Supported
4k Max Refresh Rate
Not Supported
4k @ 120Hz @ 10-Bit
Not Supported
4k @ 4:4:4 Max Refresh Rate
Not Supported
8k Max Refresh Rate
Not Supported
HDR10 Passthrough
No
HDR10+ Passthrough
No
Dolby Vision Passthrough
No
HDMI Forum VRR Passthrough
No
FreeSync Passthrough
No
G-SYNC Passthrough
No
ALLM Passthrough
No

Unfortunately, this bar doesn't have a Full HDMI In port, so it doesn't support high-quality passthrough.

6.0
Connectivity
Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi Playback
No
Chromecast built-in
No
Apple AirPlay
No
Spotify Connect
No

This soundbar only supports Bluetooth, but at least you can wirelessly play your favorite music from your smartphone. If you're looking for a Bose soundbar that supports Apple AirPlay 2, check out the Bose Smart Soundbar 300.

Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
No

The interface is extremely simple. A light turns on when connected to your TV via HDMI ARC or Optical, and there's a light to show when connected via Bluetooth. The light blinks when you adjust the volume or when you're on mute. It also turns green when you're using the dialogue enhancement feature.

Additional Features
Bar Controls
Additional Features
Remote

The remote is very straightforward. As the bar has no controls and no companion app, you can control all of the bar's features from here. Note that the bass button can adjust the bass up or down two levels from its default setting.

Unlike the Bose Smart Soundbar 700, it doesn't have a companion app to help you control the bar in place of the remote.

Additional Features
Voice Assistants Support
Amazon Alexa
No
Google Assistant
No
Apple Siri
No
Microphone Mute
No