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Use Your Voice To Control This New Home Speaker From Sonos

sonos1

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.

Beam
Image via Wired

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.

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Here Are 9 Fun Ways To Blow $1000

skateboard

Did tax day roll around, and surprise, you got $1,000 more than you were expecting in your refund? While you should put it in savings, you could also blow the extra amount on some ridiculously cool and fun gadgets, like the items below.

The fast and furious and fun

In the transportation category it’s all about finding a last-mile, fun to ride device.

Boosted Boards’ new Boosted Mini S electric skateboard is styled like past manual ones of the past, but incorporates batteries and a motor. The Mini S will set you back $749 for a top speed of 18mph and 7 miles of range.

For a slightly cheaper option, coming in at $599, Riptide’s R1 electric skateboard will get you the same speed and distance with a similar look.

If you want to take an electric ride, but don’t feel comfortable cruising on a skateboard, you might do better with Xiaomi’s scooter. It’s able to navigate more than 18 miles and go up to 15.5 mph.

The frivolous spender

While it’s easy to make a case for electronic transportation, here are a few things no one needs but are tempting to try.

Lightphone 2 is the dumbest of all phones–on purpose. For people who want to disconnect, but just can not think of not having a backup connection for emergencies. Lightphone 2 strips almost everything away, including a screen. There’s nothing to fiddle with, just a glowing dialpad.

lightphone 2

Going the complete opposite way of Lightphone 2, LaMetric Time desk clock adds a bunch of connectivity to something that probably doesn’t need it. But, as with a lot of things, if you add Wi-Fi, you can do some really fun things. LaMetric TIme can show when you get new emails, flip through time zones, show countdowns, show real-time social followers, connect with Slack, connect with IFTTT, and so much more.

lametric time clock

The high-tech homebody

Nest remade the thermostat and now they are remaking the doorbell. The Nest Hello features HD video, wide-angle views, night vision, and can be told not to ring during a “quiet time.” Hello can even recognize family and friends with facial recognition and send a special alert so you know to answer the door without looking.

nest hello doorbell

If you want video surveillance beyond your front door, you might want to try EverCam which is a stick-anywhere, wireless camera with a 1 year battery life. EverCam looks to be a super easy way to quickly add cameras to any location, especially those without access to a power outlet.

evercam security

Outside your house might need security, but inside your house, it should be party time. Nanoleaf can help facilitate that with smart lights to decorate your walls. Of course these lights can be controlled by your phone, but they can also be activated by music or noise which makes dance parties even more memorable.

nano leaf Aurora lights

Also, for the walls of your house, is a Meural frame. Unlike cheesy digital photo frames of the past, Meural is a large, wood framed display which shows pictures and art in a way that might fool people into thinking they’re real prints.

If you’re more about saving instead of spending, check out our tips for saving money on streaming video services like Hulu and Netflix.