The Sonos Beam is a $399 soundbar with Alexa (and Google, someday)

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The Sonos Beam is a $399 soundbar with Alexa (and Google, someday)

Sonos Inc. introduced the Beam home-theater smart speaker and said its products would be integrated in July with Apple Inc.'s new AirPlay 2 wireless music-streaming system.

We're live (more or less) from San Francisco, USA and Sonos has just announced the Sonos Beam.

The Sonos Beam is designed for three-channels, but it can almost make those three channels sound like true surround sound thanks to Trueplay - a software feature that calibrates the sound to the room.

Maybe biggest difference with the Sonos Beam compared to the Playbar and Playbase, other than voice control, is that it has an HDMI port rather than an optical port, which allows the Sonos Beam to better control your TV.

The Sonos Beam isn't a replacement for the company's soundbar, as previously rumoured, it's something altogether new.

While Amazon, Alphabet Inc.'s Google and Apple typically highlight their music and voice-activation services on the companies' individual smart speakers, Sonos uniquely lets users connect to multiple voice assistants and stream music via other companies' services.

Alongside a decent speaker, though, you'll also be getting not one, not two, but three smart assistants built in. It can be wall-mounted or placed on furniture and will work with other Sonos speakers in your home. Beam doesn't even come with its own remote because the one you use for your TV will automatically control the Beam's volume levels and not your TV's built-in ones. "We believe we've created the best, most versatile, smart speaker in the world".

The arrival of AirPlay 2 also means that any speaker from third-party brands that support it - Bang & Olufsen; Bluesound; Bose; Bowers & Wilkins; Definitive Technologies; Denon; Devialet; Dynaudio; Libratone; Marantz; McIntosh; Marshall; Naim; Pioneer; Polk; and, of course, Sonos have all signed up - can now be grouped together to make a whole home system that need no longer be single brand. During the event, Sonos show how a song could be requested via Siri, then how users could ask Amazon's Alexa "what song is playing?" The speaker will be available on July 17th at a price of $399, with pre-orders beginning today.

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