Pros: elegant styling, outstanding sound quality, innovative design
Cons: no DTS, price
The top of the line Bose home theatre system is the Lifestyle 50. The Lifestyle 50 in includes 5 jewel cube speakers, a subwoofer, 6-cd changer, multi-room interface, amplifier capable of 5.1 and Bose's own propriety VideoStage decoding, more on that later. And of course a touch screen lcd wireless remote control that's almost worth the price alone. Make no mistake, the Bose Lifestyle 50 is not cheap and there are probably cheaper home theatre systems. Whether these sound better than the Lifestyle 50 is debatable.
In my opinion the most important thing in a home theatre system, is how it sounds and Bose defintely delivers in this aspect. The Lifestyle 50 with it's tiny Jewel cube speakers that literally blend into the decor, provide an unparalled level of sound. A distinction is required here, Bose delivers good quality sound but not loudness, while the Lifestyle 50 is adequate for most uses, it defintely can not be used as DJ speakers at a party. The quality of sound that is delivered from the Bose has to be heard to beleive it. The subwoofer provides more than adequate bass at normal volume level and can be quite powerful at a higher level. When watching dvd movies encoded in Dolby Digital 5.1 the sound is breath taking with sounds seeming to be coming from all directions. But one important feature lacking form the Bose Lifestyle 50 is DTS (Digital Theatre Sound) a competitor of Dolby Digital. Some say DTS sounds better others just say it sounds louder. Whatever the case, Bose should have included this up and coming technology it is the least you can expect for paying upwards of $3000! Unfortunately the Bose also does not include an optical input which can be used to connect dvd players and other digital components instead a co-axial connection is provided. Bose does seem to be dragging it's feet when it comes to new technology.
Bose's Lifestyle 50 system also comes with Bose's own VideoStage decoding. In a nutshell VideoStage allows you to get 5.1 surround sound from any stereo or even mono track be it from your videos, ld's, tape or radio. From my experience i have learnt that this is useful at times but cannont be used for all purposes.
On to the much talked about lcd touch screen remote control. If there is one reason for buying the Lifestyle 50 this is it. This innovative remote control sends commands using radio waves not conventional infra-red signals therefore eliminating the need for "pointing" the remote at the component. This can be really handy, and this remote can even be used in a different room as the radio waves travel through walls as well up to a distance of 80 feet. The LCD touch panel is a first in any home theatre system, and is really user friendly. But beware the LCD remote control takes up a lot of battery life and it can be frustrating to change the battery every 3 weeks when used frequently.
One feature of Bose Lifestlye systems that is quite unique is their ability to expand the music system to another room using the multi-room interface. All you need to do is buy a pair of speakers connect them to the multi-room interface and voila you can listen to the six-cd changer of the Lifestyle system or any other component that is connected to it.
All in all the Bose Lifestlye 50 is a great sounding home theatre system that is sleek enough to fit anywhere.