Published: Sat, June 09, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Grace Becker

Sonos Beam is a smart TV soundbar launching July 17 for $399

Sonos Beam is a smart TV soundbar launching July 17 for $399

No word if or when Google Assistant will make its way to Sonos speakers but sources say it will happen eventually. Whereas other smart speakers are created to sit on a (protected!) coffee table or countertop, the Beam sits below your TV, in theory blending in with your existing TV setup without adding to the clutter.

Sonos is said to be planning an initial public offering this summer, in what would likely be one of the year's most important technology IPOs, people familiar told Bloomberg News in April. The Beam has a single tweeter in the middle and three passive radiators, as well as four full-range woofers. The TV remote will now adjust the audio through the Beam instead of the TV, as it would with a regular sound bar, making setup easier than ever.

With the Beam, Sonos is aiming to make things simpler.

Sonos will keep the Playbase and Playbar around, too, but the Beam is both significantly cheaper and smaller, plus it comes with that sweet Alexa support.

Sonos have finally announced a soundbar that does have a HDMI, the Sonos Beam. Support for additional voice assistants is planned for the future as well. While smartphone owners might get a new device every other year, Sonos says 93% of the speakers it's sold in the past 13 years are still active.

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There are capacative touch controls atop the soundbar allowing you to select volume up/down, previous/next track, play/pause and microphone mute. Without a real-world review, we're not sure how to rate it, but after a demo session we will have a better view of it, so stay tuned as we update this article. If your TV doesn't support HDMI-ARC, use the included Optical Audio Adapter to connect Beam to the TV's optical audio port. Of course, Airplay 2 is not unique to Sonos.

Like the Playbar and Playbase, it will also connect to other Sonos speakers for rear speakers if you want to add a pair of Sonos One speakers to mix, though you don't have to, and can simply plug an HDMI cable in and you're good to go.

"You don't have to worry about what voice system you're already using", suggested Gartner analyst Brian Blau, who was at the event.

The sound bar also offers support for Apple's recently introduced AirPlay 2 audio streaming protocol and control with Siri. You're better than this. Pre-orders can be placed on sonos.com.

Finally, the price is lower than you might expect from Sonos: It can be yours for US$399 from July 17, and preorders are open now.

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