Polk Unveils `The Command Bar’ With Alexa Mic Array
Sound United is using CES 2018 to unveil the Polk Audio Command Bar, which was developed in association with Amazon to produce a soundbar that is kind of like an Amazon Alexa speaker on steroids.
In other news, Sound United said today that it is further expanding its brand portfolio by finalizing a new deal to acquire Classé Audio.
Classé Audio offers a suite of high fidelity amplifiers, pre-amplifier processors and integrated amplifiers. Classé Audio was previously owned and distributed by Bowers & Wilkins.
Classé Audio’s president, Dave Nauber, will continue to lead the Classé Audio brand at Sound United,
The Polk Command Bar, which will be available in March and priced at $299.95 suggested retail, will integrate Amazon Alexa far-field microphones into the home theater setup.
Meanwhile, Sounds United’s Marantz brand also unveiled a new model 8805 pre-amp (replacing the 7704) and the Denon brand unveiled the new flaship AVR-X8500H, 13.2-channel high-performance receiver with eight HDMI inputs/3 out supporting 4K Ultra/HDR10/Dolby Vision, XLR ports, compatibility with Dolby Amos, DTS:X, DTS Virtual:X, Auro 3D, HEOS multi-room audio, Crestron and Control4 certification, Alexa-voice control and comes with the Audyssey MultiEQ full setup for auto speaker tuning to the room environment and speaker layout.
The Denon AVR-X8500 AVR is slated to hit retail in May at a $3,799 suggested retail.
The company said the Command Bar was engineered to work the same way that any Amazon Echo, Echo Dot (and others) AI speaker does to control various home automation and home entertainment devices that operate within the same network.
Read more on The Command Bar for Polk Audio after the jump:
Like most Polk Audio soundbars, The Polk Command Bar measures just over 2-inches tall to comfortably fit below most TV screens using table-top placements, or mounted on a wall.
Being an Amazon compatible product, Polk designed the HDMI port and power source on the back of the soundbar to accept a connected Amazon Fire TV stick to access a plethora of streaming services, including Amazon’s own Prime entertainment services.
This allows Alexa to control the Fire TV functions as well as control the soundbar functions. A connected television will still require a separate remote control.
Read more on the Polk Command Bar after the jump:
Using Alexa, users will be able to simple call out commands to execute program searches and then call up and play the program on the home theater system. Voice commands will also trigger switching input sources, adjusting volume, call out the time, weather forecasts, tell a joke, and control compatible home automation devices like Wi-Fi lighting.
Amazon Alexa supports access to Amazon music services as well as Pandora, iHeart Radio, Sirius/XM, Spotify, and others.
The soundbar is designed to deliver a high quality sound experience, supporting both Dolby and DTS surround sound carrying
two mid-range drivers, 1 x 3-inch full-range drivers and two 1-inch tweeters. The Command Bar includes a ported wireless 6.5-inch subwoofer. The far-field microphone array is built into the top of the unit.
It is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled and includes a full suite of wired inputs including 2 HDMI 2.0a/HDCP 2.2 inputs (supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision) and an HDMI ARC (out) port, optical digital in and Ethernet port.
By Greg Tarr
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