The TVee Model Two subwoofer is also pretty compact--just 9.5 inches high and 11.5 wide and deep. Maybe it was the molded grey plastic shape, but we think it looks like an overturned waste-paper basket. Still, it's unobtrusive enough, and the fact that it's wireless means it can be tucked away in a corner of the room--only an AC power source is needed. You can fine-tune the speaker/sub bass balance with the sub's volume control.
Boston claims that the TVee Model Two is a stereo speaker, but we found that it sounded as spacious as many "virtual" surround speaker systems we've tested here at CNET. Sound was projected a few feet out from the left and right ends of the speaker, and forward of it, as well. But the source is still 2-channel stereo, so don't expect any elaborate surround effects.
Our DVDs' sound was detailed and the little subwoofer surprised us with its power. Boston claims the wireless sub can be placed "anywhere throughout the room." However while we experimented with placements, we found the speaker/subwoofer blend was best when the sub was within 6 feet of the speaker. We also spent a little time adjusting the sub's volume control. Set too high, the sub sounded boomy; set too low, the speaker sounded lightweight and ineffective. Our setup with the subwoofer in the 1 o'clock position sounded best.
With that squared away, we popped on The Fifth Element DVD, and by the time Bruce Willis was zooming around in his flying taxi, we were totally immersed in the film--which says a lot about the TVee's sound. Being critics, we had to pay attention to the sound and noticed the dialogue sometimes sounded slightly sibilant. It also suffered too low of a level compared with the music and sound effects. Moving on to action flicks, the TVee's power limitations were even more obvious. Turning the volume down helped restore the sound quality, which leads us to believe that the TVee Model Two will probably work best in smaller rooms--bedrooms, dorms, or midsize rec rooms.
It was certainly obvious that the TVee was branded as such when we tried out some music with the unit. Rock and roll is definitely not its forte. Sure, it'll do fine turned down to background level, but you won't want to have it as the center of attention when playing music.
We didn't have the opportunity to do a direct comparison with any of the single-speaker competitors in the TVee's price class--most notably, the Zvox 325 ($350, no subwoofer), the Yamaha Air Surround YAS-70 ($500, with wired sub), and the Soundmatters MainstageHD ($400, faux surround capability, but no sub). While we'd have preferred the Boston TVee to offer some more robust connectivity and better dynamic range, though, it's safe to say that it delivers on its promise of offering a far better alternative to your TV speakers. Toss in the wireless subwoofer and dead-simple setup and operation, and you've got a successful TV sound system.