Sonos Beam unveiled: Compact $399 sound bar with Alexa

Sonos announces the $399 Beam its compact home theater smart speaker		
	Lucas Matney

   	7 hours

Sonos announces the $399 Beam its compact home theater smart speaker Lucas Matney 7 hours

Beam hits store shelves around the world July 17 and will retail for $399.

The Sonos Beam is a smaller smart speaker for TV watching.

"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". You can wall-mount the Sonos Beam, too.

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Most importantly, like the Play:1, Sonos Beam may be entry-level, but it's good.

By aiming to support everything that comes along, Sonos is banking on the Beam being a device that appeals to those who are hesitant about buying into voice control. Sonos seems to have finally listened and has equipped the Beam with HDMI.

Get one connected system for TV, music and more. With Alexa, you can set moods and perform smart home tasks like locking doors, turning down the lights and changing the thermostat, and thanks to the Beam's proximity to the TV, it works as a handy voice remote for those of us with Amazon Fire TVs. There's no aux or line-in for me to connect my music equipment to it.

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The Beam - $399 when it goes on sale later this year - will support Siri, via your Apple device, and Amazon's Alexa is built-in. Unfortunately, the company still isn't providing a firm launch date for Google Assistant other than "later this year".

That last bit is important as Sonos pegs the Beam as a living room-first speaker. All "new" Sonos speakers - meaning the Sonos One, the second-gen Play:5, the Playbase and the Sonos Beam - already have Alexa support, and they'll get AirPlay 2 support this July. For its part, Sonos says the speaker "produces a surprisingly wide soundstage" for its size, and that it's focused on delivering crisp dialogue. The Sonos Beam is a three-channel system (left, right and center), but for those who want the complete 5.1 surround sound experience, you can pair the Sonos Beam with two Sonos Ones (or two Play:1s) and a Sonos Sub.

Sonos has expanded its line of multiroom audio speakers with a compact, more affordable sound bar called the Sonos Beam.

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Lacking an assistant of its own, or a music streaming service, Sonos has sought to be an open platform that works with every major music streaming service.

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