At an event today, Sonos announced its new compact TV sound bar, called Sonos Beam, which will be available in July for $399.
Sonos Beam is the company’s cheapest home theater sound bar to-date, but the biggest feature is that Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant comes built in.
Not only will the sound bar connect to your TV for better sound with movies, it also works as a standalone internet connected speaker, and use Alexa to request music on demand—just like Google Home and Apple’s HomePod.
Because Sonos Beam will be connected to your TV, you’ll also be able to ask Alexa to turn the TV on or off and the volume up or down, without fumbling for the remote.
Part of the Sonos Beam event was the announcement that AirPlay 2 support is coming both to Beam and some of its newer speakers in July. That feature will let you use Siri for play music to Sonos’ speakers. Those speakers will also gain additonal support for connecting with iOS devices updated to iOS 11.4.
What’s special about Sonos?
Sonos speakers are internet connected. They are made to replace home stereos and connect to Wi-Fi which will let them play any song, directly available from most streaming services like Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, and 80 more.
Unlike Bluetooth speakers, however, which connect directly to your phone and can be interrupted if you watch a video or go out of range, Sonos’ Wi-Fi speakers are initiated from your phone, computer, and now voice, but aren’t tied to the device controlling them.
Sonos Beam is interesting for several reasons. It puts a voice-controlled, high fidelity speaker potentially at the center of your home by making it part of your home theater setup. It’s one of the first speakers to support multiple voice assistants as well, like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant in the future.
At first blush, $399 may seem a bit steep for a speaker, but killing two birds with one stone and getting good TV sound along with a smart speaker starts to look pretty attractive.