Polk Audio announced an affordable Alexa-enabled soundbar that provides a central voice-controlled hub for music and film fans’ home theater systems.
Michael Greco, the global brand director for Sound United (Polk’s parent company), was nice enough to grace the Digital Trends CES booth with his presence, chatting with us about the Command Bar. Polk Audio announced an affordable Alexa-enabled soundbar that provides a central voice-controlled hub for music and film fans’ home theater systems.
The Command Bar boasts integrated far-field microphones that allow listeners to control master volume, bass, sound modes, and source selection with simple voice commands.”If you were to buy an Echo Dot and connect it to a Bluetooth soundbar, you wouldn’t have that [granular] control. You can’t do any of the things you want to do with the soundbar itself. [The Command Bar] takes things to a whole new level of integration,” Greco said.
It also comes with a dedicated HDMI port that is designed to fit streaming devices like Amazon’s Fire TV — and will also be controllable via voice commands when connected to the Command Bar, which will support the usual set of Amazon Alexa-supported services, including Amazon Music, Pandora, Sirius XM, Spotify, and Audible.
“Intelligent assistants like Amazon Alexa have fundamentally transformed how we interact with our surroundings. However, until now, the home theater was devoid of an elegant solution,” said Joel Sietsema, Sound United‘s senior vice president of brand management. “For the past year, we worked closely with Amazon to develop a soundbar that profoundly changes how we interact with the home entertainment experience. The result is a product that produces Polk Audio-quality sound for movies and music, while simultaneously delivering unprecedented voice control not yet found in a traditional soundbar.”
Polk has a history of marketing great-sounding products, with recent devices like their Magnifi Mini soundbar even garnering our Editor’s Choice award.
The Command Bar will feature bigger, louder sound than the Magnifi Mini, thanks to two 3-inch full-range drivers, two 1-inch tweeters, and a ported 6.5-inch subwoofer for punchy bass response. It also supports Dolby and DTS surround-sound formats. In terms of connectivity, the soundbar will feature dual HDMI 2.0b ports, one HDMI (ARC) output, and a built-in USB port to power streaming devices, as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capability.
The new smart device could prove an excellent centerpiece for smaller home theater setups, especially one in a common area in which Alexa-enabled skills like music playback, weather forecasting, alarms, and more will frequently come in handy.
The Command Bar will retail for $300, and is available for pre-order on Amazon. It will ship to customers in the United States in March, and will be available in Canada, the U.K., Germany, and Australia later in the year.
Update: We added a video of our booth interview with Sound United’s Michael Greco.