Sonos’ new soundbar is taking on the HomePod with Alexa

The new Sonos Beam is a $399 soundbar that works over HDMI to provide sound for TVs and uses Alexa to become a smart speaker than can take on the Echo and the HomePod. Can the hybrid Sonos Beam convince consumers to upgrade?

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33 COMMENTS

  1. I wonder how it sounds? I've been on the fence about getting a Playbar for months, but if this is a good alternative, why not pay $300 less? I guess I'll wait for a full review.

  2. Interesting video and finally one where someone says Alexa. It's so annoying to watch all these other YouTube videos where people are afraid of saying Alexa and it makes the video all awkward. If your Echo/Alexa devices keep being triggered by videos then maybe you should turn down the volume or watch the video in another room.

  3. I can use the Nvidia shield with the google assistant to turn off my TV. All I have to say is "Hey Google turn off Shield" then the TV turns off. I also nicknamed the Shield "TV" with Google Home and I can say "Hey Google turn off TV" and that works too.

  4. It's funny, but apparently I've had the "holy grail" of smart assistant tech for something like the last six months in that I can tell my Google Home to turn off the TV and, through the Chromecast plugged into my Panasonic TV's HDMI port, it turns the television off. Simple and absolutely no fuss. Using the same setup I can also cast any music I want through said Chromecast (controlled by voice via the Google Home again, or directly from the Spotify, Pandora, etc. app on my phone) and play it through the soundbar I already own. It's not a big deal or anything, but it feels weird to praise Sonos and/or Alexa for something a $35 Google dongle can accomplish with hardware people likely already own (or even just hardware that doesn't cost an additional $400). Likewise, the dongle approach also avoids the exact pitfall Dieter mentions, i.e. expensive speaker hardware tied to software/assistants that might not exist in a few years. If that ends up being the case, simply change the dongle. I wouldn't normally feel compelled to post a rant-y comment, because I really do enjoy this series, Dieter, and the Verge's generally level-headed perspective, but patting Sonos on the back here felt a bit… disingenuous? Maybe that's not the right adjective… But it seemed like too much credit given for too little value added. I'm sure the Sonos speaker bar sounds great, and that it can provide this level of integration is certainly nice, but when a $35 casting stick and a $40 Google speaker can do the same thing (provided you already own a sound bar/system of some sort – and many people do), doesn't $400 feel excessive?

  5. Stop saying Alexa and giving commands in the videos! Dammit. Kept triggering my Echo.

    Mute the audio in editing for the video when he says “Alexa” and just add a subtitle showing “Alexa” on the screen. That way it doesn’t trigger your viewers’ Echos who are watching this.

  6. HDMI ARC and CEC are nothing new. They have been in our Sony TV for years now. The only thing I see Sonos doing different is allowing the speaker to control HDMI devices through voice, and not just your remote. Pretty underwhelming in my opinion…

  7. So I have a really cool way of turning off the tv and changing the volume. One simple action! I push one button on the remote. It’s this relatively small input device that comes standard with most TVs and takes a fraction of the time it takes to say ‘Alexa turn off the tv’. Really is the future. Oh and I don’t lose it because I’m not a child and I place it on the coffee table.

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