At a media event this morning in San Francisco, Sonos unveiled a new smart sound bar they call the Sonos Beam. The speaker will be available on July 17th at a price of $399, with pre-orders beginning today.
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Following up the original Playbar speaker introduced in 2013, and the Playbase, a larger home theater speaker solution unveiled last year, the Sonos Beam is the company’s second speaker to feature native support for voice control with Amazon’s Alexa assistant, and in July, Siri. Google Assistant support has been promised, although no timeline has been given. The Beam is part of the Sonos sound system, meaning you can add additional speakers for even richer sound.
The sound bar also offers support for Apple’s recently introduced AirPlay 2 audio streaming protocol and control with Siri. Sonos previously announced that the Sonos One, Play:5 and Playbase would be the only exisiting speakers to receive support for AirPlay 2, meaning customers who purchased the original Playbar would miss out. New for a Sonos sound bar is HDMI ARC output instead of an optical port.
Sonos mentioned that they focused on creating the Beam because they felt the living room was a space that was being ignored in the smart speaker category. The company’s focus for the product was to create a compact sound bar with easy control that’s both smaller and shorter than the Playbar.
The speaker will be available in either all black or all white finishes with a mesh grille free of visible seams. More specifications from Sonos:
- Low profile and compact size, Beam was designed to fit on credenzas or under wall mounted TVs, providing versatility. At only 25.6 inches long, Sonos Beam won’t hang off furniture, block the TV or overwhelm your space.
- Five linear far-field microphone array used for advanced noise suppression and multi-channel echo cancellation for both music and home theater content.
- Beam has three ports – power, Ethernet, and HDMI-ARC.
- Use the HDMI cable to connect Beam to the TV’s HDMI-ARC port. If your TV doesn’t support HDMI-ARC, use the included Optical Audio Adapter to connect Beam to the TV’s optical audio port.
- Comes in black and white fabric with matte finishes.
- Adding an Amazon video streaming device like Fire TV unlocks voice control for Alexa-enabled streaming services. Ask for a specific movie or show, get more info about a favorite movie director or control playback, all with voice.
Photos of the Sonos Beam below: