Can Bose Lifestyle System Be Connected to a Computer?
By James Lee Phillips
The Bose Lifestyle series is designed to work with your TV and home theater components. You may be considering integrating a computer into the living room or family room, or you may be thinking of using a Bose system to replace an old set of amplified computer speakers. Although Bose Lifestyle systems differ in some ways from a more typical home theater component system, both systems use many of the same kinds of audio/video connections. As long as your computer also has at least one set of these standard analog or digital outputs, you can connect the Bose system to your PC.
The Bose Lifestyle range is divided between the 135 sound bar system, the 235 with two speakers, and the T20 and V-Class systems, both with five-speaker arrangements. Although different in configuration, each version of the system comes with the same two components: the Bose Acoustimass module and, more importantly, the Control Console, which provides the front and rear inputs that you'll need to connect to your PC.
All Lifestyle systems feature analog RCA A/V inputs, so any source with the familiar trio of video, left audio and right audio connections -- usually yellow, white and red plugs -- may be plugged into the front or rear Control Console jacks. Most PC's feature sound cards or onboard audio that uses analog outputs for sound, although probably not video. Simply connect a stereo RCA-type cable from the output of the PC to the input of the Control Console, and select the proper input using the remote.
Bose Lifestyle systems also provide a coaxial optical audio input. This provides higher sound quality than analog connections, but there's far less of a chance that your PC will have a compatible output. Coaxial audio is found on relatively few discrete PC sound cards and on even fewer motherboards with onboard audio. If you happen to be one of the exceptions, you'll simply need to connect a coaxial digital audio cable between both devices and select the appropriate input.
For both audio and video in high-definition digital format, Bose Lifestyle modules support multiple HDMI input sources, as do many mainstream and high-end video cards for PCs. Connect an HDMI cable between your card's output and one of the Lifestyle module's HDMI inputs, and select the corresponding source using the remote control. If your graphics card has only DVI or VGA outputs, you won't be able to take advantage of the digital video, although you may still be able to use analog or digital audio features.