Well, we kind of saw this coming. We know that everyone is trying to get into this smart speaker business with all sorts of smart assistants, so it was only a matter of time before Sonos baked in some voice assistant action into a home theater soundbar. And so, they went ahead and revealed the brand new Sonos Beam earlier today.

To be available in black or white, the Sonos Beam is a cheaper, more compact, upgraded version of the Sonos Playbar, except now it’s got a microphone array to take in voice commands with the best of them.

Just as we saw in the Sonos One, the Sonos Beam will work with Amazon Alexa out of the box. Sonos is still promising that support for Google Assistant will come later this year and they’ll be pushing out a free software update next month for AirPlay 2. Use Siri to start a track from Apple Music and play it on your Sonos speaker.

The Sonos Beam measures 25.625 x 3.94 x 2.7 inches (651 x 100 x 68.5 mm) and weighs in at 6.2 pounds (2.8 kg). Like the Sonos One, you get capacitive touch controls on the top. For sound, there are five class-D digital amplifiers, four full-range woofers, one tweeter, and three passive radiators. This makes up the three front channels (left, center, right) of your standard 5.1 surround sound setup; you’ll just need to invest in a few more speakers to complete the set.

Perhaps one of the biggest changes is the inclusion of HDMI-ARC. This connects the Sonos Beam to your TV via a single HDMI cable. The TV then recognizes that this is a soundbar (assuming your TV supports HDMI-ARC), and then you can use your TV remote to adjust the volume on the soundbar and use Alexa to turn off your TV too.

The Sonos Beam launches on July 17 for $399 US and $499 Canadian. Pre-orders start now. The Verge has a great overview and hands-on video below for a closer look at this smart soundbar.


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