Sonos Announces Sonos Beam Smart Soundbar for TV and Music

June 6 2018, 04:10
During a special event in San Francisco Sonos unveiled Sonos Beam, a new compact smart soundbar with support for 80+ music services, as well as support for Amazon Alexa at launch (with multiple voice assistants to come over time). With Beam, Sonos combined three products into one – a smart speaker, a powerful soundbar, and a music and streaming center for the living room. Beam connects to the Sonos home sound system in multi-room set-ups. The Sonos Beam should be available from July 17 at $399 US, already supporting Apple AirPlay 2.

Sonos Beam is both a soundbar and a smart speaker that delivers virtually any streaming content in the rooms people spend the most time in. "With the goal of providing a simple, rich sound experience for all the sonic content that matters – from movies and TV shows to music and podcasts – Sonos Beam supports 80+ music services, multiple voice assistants and Apple AirPlay 2," states the Santa Barbara-based company.

Like all Sonos speakers, Beam is part of the Sonos home sound system, meaning owners have options like adding two Sonos Ones for surround sound, a SUB for more bass, or integrating Beam into their existing Sonos multi-room set-ups. Owners can also control Beam the way they choose, whether it be with voice, the Sonos app, third-party apps like Spotify, Audible, Pandora and Tidal, their existing TV remotes, and smart home gadgets like wall switches and remotes made by Sonos-certified partners.

Out of the box, Beam comes with Amazon Alexa in the US, UK, Germany, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and soon, in France. Beam will support additional voice assistants as they become available on Sonos around the world and won’t lock owners into specific streaming boxes or services.

“In a smart speaker category increasingly filled with tech clutter, poor audio quality and ulterior motives, Beam is the best example yet of what makes Sonos different,” says Sonos CEO Patrick Spence. “Our open approach, obsession with design, maniacal focus on quality and commitment to building a system that’s easy to use and gets better over time are at the heart of everything we do. We believe we’ve created the best, most versatile, smart speaker in the world.”

Sonos Beam was tuned by the company's acoustic engineering team, collaborating with leading sound experts from the worlds of film, music and television. "The result is a product that faithfully represents the artists’ work and delivers an unparalleled listening experience. 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," states the company.

Low profile and compact size, Beam was designed to fit on credenzas or under wall mounted TVs at only 25.6 inches long. A far-field microphone array with five microphones is used for advanced noise suppression and multi-channel echo cancellation for both music and home theater content. On the connectivity side, Beam has three ports – power, Ethernet, and HDMI-ARC. If the TV doesn’t support HDMI-ARC, the user has an included Optical Audio Adapter to connect Beam to the TV’s optical audio port.

The Sonos Beam comes in black and white fabric with matte finishes. Even though the Sonos Beam supports Alexa voice-services, users will need to add an Amazon video streaming device - like Amazon's Fire TV  - to unlock voice control for Alexa-enabled streaming services (music, movies, etc), and control playback, all with voice. For Apple users, AirPlay 2 will be available on Sonos in July via a free software update and, apart from all the multi-room features of AirPlay 2, users also gain access to the recently improved Siri voice assistant, now also available in French.
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