Sonos Beam unveiled: Compact $399 sound bar with Alexa

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Sonos today debuted a new home smart speaker and TV soundbar named Beam that comes with Alexa voice control, and later this year voice control from Apple's Siri and Google Assistant.

Besides, if I am looking for an intense, high-quality audio experience, I've always been happy to pay to see a movie in theaters, or watch a band play live.

It can also link to other speakers from Sonos around a home and be controlled with a physical remote or via Amazon.com Inc.'s Alexa digital-voice assistant, Sonos said Wednesday during a presentation in San Francisco. Sonos seems to have finally listened and has equipped the Beam with HDMI.

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Following up the original Playbar speaker introduced in 2013, and the Playbase, a larger home theater speaker solution unveiled a year ago, 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.

"It would have been relatively easy to build an Alexa speaker or a Google speaker, but the fact is we don't want to choose for you".

First off, the Beam takes up much less space than Sonos' last soundbar, measuring in at 60% smaller and 28% shorter than the Playbase.

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Beam produces a surprisingly wide soundstage for a speaker of this size, with four custom-built elliptical full-range woofers and three passive radiators delivering deep, warm bass and superior mid-range performance, while a single tweeter ensures crisp and clear dialogue. It's also smarter, coming with a five-microphone array that supports Alexa voice commands (like the Sonos One) and will eventually work with Siri when AirPlay 2 support comes this July. 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. "We believe we've created the best, most versatile, smart speaker in the world". It'll retail for $399 and be available on July 17, but pre-orders begin today.

On stage, Sonos demonstrated using Siri to prompt the sound system to play a song, and then later it was possible to ask Alexa what song was playing.

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