A Sound Bar with Alexa Smarts
Sound bars deliver high-quality sound to home entertainment systems in sleek packaging. They provide a far better sound experience than your flat screen TV speakers, minus the complexity and expense of a surround-sound speaker set-up. Like most television set-ups, they typically come with a remote control or otherwise can be controlled by your TV remote or smartphone app. But do we really need another remote to keep track of or another smartphone app to download to control our new tech? Voice integration will mediate both of those issues. The Polk Command Bar is a sound bar now bringing Amazon Alexa to high-quality sound.
The Polk Command Bar is more than voice-controlled audio system. Polk has its own Alexa skill in the mix, which can be used to control your television inputs. A remote is also included to activate Alexa’s listening in the case that the music is too loud for her to hear your voice immediately. Additional features include HDMI input and an HDMI slot designed to connect the Fire TV stick and other streaming sticks without needing to power them. The Polk Command Bar is set to ship on June 30th, according to Polk Audio.
Polk Audio also has their Polk Assist—a new smart speaker with Bluetooth, Chromecast, and Google Assistant built in—set to ship June 4th. Polk Audio is adding the most-used smart speaker assistants to their own product capabilities. This is smart: consumers in the market for a smart speaker will also have higher-quality sound options.
Polk Might Not Be the Only Voice-Integrated Sound Bar This Summer
There is speculation that Sonos isn’t far behind on the voice-integrated sound bar. Sonos already launched their Amazon Alexa-integrated speaker, Sonos One, in October 2017. They have an event set for June 6th in San Francisco, advertised with an invitation that has the tagline “You’re better than this.” over a coffee table cluttered by remotes.
This could be reference to a universal-remote product. However, more speculate that this will be a voice-integrated follow-up to the Playbar. Since Alexa is already integrated into Sonos One, and FCC filings that Sonos submitted in March for a home theatre speaker, the invitation is likely pointing to a new sound bar with voice integration. Or, on the other hand, simply another smart speaker.