Friday, 21 September, 2018

Sonos unveils Beam - a soundbar with voice control and HDMI

Sonos Beam Juan Garzon CNET
Troy Mann | 09 June, 2018, 08:40

Sonos said it thinks the living room has been largely ignored in the quest to fill our homes with smart speakers, which is why the Beam comes with integrated voice control. The Beam uses your TV's own remote to work, so really, you're adding one external speaker to the system, rather than re-wiring an existing home theater system.

Sonos produce some great speakers, and the soundbar and soundbase are superb options if you have invested in Sonos already.

This FCC filing sketch was the first we saw of Sonos' latest simultaneous assault on the music, home cinema and smart AI markets.

Then the biggest tech companies started making their own speakers, all designed around a core killer feature: the voice assistant.

The Beam includes four custom-built elliptical full-range woofers, a single tweeter, and three passive radiators, which apparently gives it "deep, warm bass" and "superior mid-range performance" if you want to take Sonos' word for it. But looking at the design and Sonos's claims for sound and compatibility, the case for picking the Beam is surprisingly strong.

Sonos says that Google Assistant will also be come to the device later. Amazon's Alexa was demonstrated along with Siri so expect that capability in the new Beam as well.

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Sonos have finally announced a soundbar that does have a HDMI, the Sonos Beam.

That says nothing of the technical hoops Sonos and companies like it might have to jump through to support all major assistants.

Airplay 2 will not be available at launch and will not be added to all Sonos products, the company said. Basically, it enables one smart speaker to connect to other supported speakers that are most likely located in different rooms.

The Sonos Beam also offers a handful of very intuitive features aimed at TV and movie watchers. Also, since this is a Sonos speaker after all, you can pair the Beam with Sonos' other speakers to create a true surround-sound setup. The software update will also allow Siri to be used to play music from Apple Music all without ever touching a button. It emphasized that Sonos speakers support more than 80 music services, which of course is far less than the amount of services supported by systems such as Chromecast or Airplay 2.

As previously mentioned, the Sonos Beam will be made available for $399, £399, and €399. Costing $399, the Sonos Beam will ship globally on July 17th with support for Google Assistant coming at a later date.

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