ZVOX Blog

How The Soundbar Evolved Into The SoundBase

Posted by Tom Hannaher , Tuesday, July 30, 2013
There was a lot of home theater innovation taking place in the late 1990s. Several companies introduced digital surround sound formats. And audio designers around the world were attempting to out-do one another -- creating more and more elaborate (and expensive) surround sound systems. 
In the middle of all this, a few of us looked around at what was happening and thought, well, this is getting a little nuts. Maybe there are people out there who would prefer a simpler alternative to a seven-speaker dual-subwoofer sound system priced at over $20,000.
So we created what was arguably the first “soundbar” TV sound system. It was called TVWorks and was manufactured by our previous employer, Cambridge SoundWorks. A few years later in 2003 we introduced the first ZVOX soundbar. To be honest, TVWorks was a resounding failure in terms of consumer acceptance. Pretty much nobody bought it. And selling the first ZVOX soundbars -- at least selling them to retailers -- was not easy either. We would go into a dealer's showroom, set up our system and play it. The dealer would then say, "sounds great...how much is it?" And when they found out it sold for $200 and required no installation labor, they politely showed us the door. 

But over time, things changed. The prices for good flat-panel TVs went from $5,000 to $800. And the idea of spending $2,000 on a home theater system for one's $800 TV just didn't make mathematical sense. So slowly but surely the rest of the audio industry followed our lead and introduced simple and affordable TV sound systems. Now pretty much every company in the business sells soundbars.
In 2008 we changed things again with the ZVOX 550 – the world’s first SoundBase® home theater system…a low-profile speaker cabinet that fits under your TV.  The SoundBase is a great idea because it’s so simple. No subwoofer on the floor (it’s built in). One short connecting wire. No concerns about the sound system blocking IR remote signals to the TV. And it looks “just right” – kind of like it’s the base for the TV.
 It took a while, but now, once again, companies seem to be lining up to copy our idea. Imitation SoundBases are beginning to pop up all over the place. 

Insert heavy-handed marketing pitch: Copying an idea is easier than copying a ZVOX. With real wood (MDF) cabinets, PhaseCue® surround sound, precisely contoured tonal balance, multiple inputs – and great features like Dialog Emphasis and remote control learning – ZVOX delivers a level of performance and value you just won’t find from other companies.  Read all our rave reviews. Then use our cool 30-day home trial and listen for yourself. Great sound doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. We can prove it.
Thanks for reading.
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