At an event in San Francisco on the 6th June, world leading audio solution manufacturer, Sonos, announced the release of a brand new product named the Sonos Beam. Set to begin shipping globally on the 17th July, Sonos Beam is essentially an entry level home cinema speaker, but can also be used to play music like the more sophisticated Sonos One.
The Sonos Beam is a smaller, cheaper and smarter soundbar than the company’s previous Playbar Soundbar. It is approximately 60% smaller than the Playbar and is set to hit the commercial market at a price of £399, which is only a little over half the price of Sonos’ flagship soundbar.
Perhaps the most notable difference from the Playbar, however, is Beam’s five microphone array which supports Alexa voice commands. That means that the Beam can be voice controlled, just like the Sonos One, and will also work with Siri when Sonos support for AirPlay 2 arrives next month.
Able to group with other speakers in a multi-room system, the Sonos Beam is a three-channel system, which can also be paired with two Sonos One speakers and Sonos sub for a full 5:1 surround sound experience. Alongside voice control, another interesting innovation delivered by the Beam is connection to a TV via an HDMI rather than optical cable.
Thanks to a technology called “Audio Return Channel” that was added to the HDMI standard in 2009, that means that the Beam will automatically pick up all the audio coming from your TV and outputs without any special setup required. It also means that the Beam does not have its own remote, as your existing TV remote will instinctively control the Beam’s volume levels.