Sonos announces the Sonos Beam, a soundbar with Alexa built

Enlarge Image The speaker features several drivers. No there won't be a translucent version of it.                  Screenshot by David Carnoy  CNET

Enlarge Image The speaker features several drivers. No there won't be a translucent version of it. Screenshot by David Carnoy CNET

It's small, light and it's hard to imagine it not fitting into your living-room - perhaps unlike the bigger Sonos TV speakers, which certainly need a lot more room.

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.

Sonos says the Beam will be able to support wireless rear speakers for surround effects. The Sonos Beam could change that.

The Sonos Beam isn't a replacement for the company's soundbar, as previously rumoured, it's something altogether new. 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. At only 25.6 inches long, Sonos Beam won't hang off furniture, block the TV or overwhelm your space.

And don't think small means it's not powerful as with four custom-built elliptical full-range woofers, three passive radiators and a single tweeter it should sound pretty good. While there haven't been any updates on its initial public offering, the company's integration with popular voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa will certainly help it fend off competition from the likes of Apple, Google, and Amazon, all of whom have their own popular smart speaker offerings.

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The Beam will also include an HDMI port to easily connect the speaker with televisions. For older TVs that may not have an HDMI port, or for people who don't want to use one of their TV's precious HDMI ports on a soundbar, Sonos will also ship with an optical to HDMI adapter with the speaker. Bass has some oomph to it, and can be upgraded with the addition of the Sonos Sub, while the highs peeked through periodically.

Coming in Sonos's familiar white or black, the Beam is comfortably cheaper than the £700 Playbase coming in at £399, so it sits between the Play 3 and Play 5 cost-wise.

The sound bar also offers support for Apple's recently introduced AirPlay 2 audio streaming protocol and control with Siri.

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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