Skip to main content

Polk Audio’s Command Bar joins Alexa’s multiroom music party

Polk Command Bar
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

Polk Audio’s Command Bar, which features Alexa built in, was updated with Amazon’s Alexa multi-room music feature (MRM), which the company claims makes it the first Alexa-compatible soundbar to work with the system.

Launched in 2017, Alexa multi-room music was initially designed to give users voice-based, whole-home control over their Amazon speakers, like Echo, and Echo Dot, allowing each device to play a different track or to play a single track in perfect sync. The road map included support for third-party Alexa devices within groups and we’re now seeing some of the first products to benefit from that support.

Using the Alexa app, the Command Bar can be added to groups that contain other MRM-enabled devices, including Amazon’s own growing collection of Alexa products. We really liked the Command Bar when we reviewed it in 2018, noting that at $300, it offered some features and sound quality that more expensive products couldn’t match. But we were less than impressed with its ability to process Alexa commands into actions.

Of course, combining Alexa capabilities with multi-room sound isn’t exactly new. Both Sonos and Denon’s Heos systems use their own proprietary multi-room systems and can be controlled via Alexa. However, neither of these proprietary systems let you include other company’s devices within their multi-room control. With MRM, Amazon is effectively opening its own control system to non-Amazon built speakers, letting you combine its products with those of companies like Polk (so long as they’re Alexa and MRM-enabled).

From a practical point of view, the Command Bar is the first third-party audio product that can group with (and play music simultaneously from) first-and third-party products.

When you add this new feature to the Command Bar’s already impressive feature set, such as its multiple HDMI inputs, dedicated Amazon Fire TV slot, wireless subwoofer, and dedicated remote control, it’s an increasingly attractive product.

There is no word yet on when the next MRM-enabled products will arrive, but you can be sure we’ll see plenty coming in the scene in 2019 as Amazon puts increasing pressure on Google and its Assistant.  With Sonos compatibility already launched, and this new MRM functionality underway, Amazon has a commanding lead in the whole-home audio space.

Editors' Recommendations

Simon Cohen
Contributing Editor, A/V
Simon Cohen covers a variety of consumer technologies, but has a special interest in audio and video products, like spatial…
All of Amazon’s Fire TV streaming devices are heavily discounted today
Two Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max sticks in hand.

Any model of Amazon's Fire TV streaming devices will give your non-smart TV access to streaming services and other apps, or replace the interface on your smart TV if you don't like it. If you're interested, they're available with discounts of up to 40% from Amazon, but only for a limited time. There's no telling how long you've got in order to pocket the savings from these deals, but if you want to make sure that you get these Amazon Fire TV streaming devices for cheaper than usual, you have to select the model and proceed with the purchase as soon as possible.

What to buy in Amazon's Fire TV streaming devices sale
The cheapest option in Amazon's Fire TV streaming devices sale is the Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite, which is instead of $30 for a $10 discount. You'll be able to access all of the popular streaming services with this devices, including Amazon Prime Video and Netflix, on Full HD quality after an easy setup process. If you want to watch content with 4K Ultra HD quality as your TV is capable of it, then we highly recommend the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, which you can get for for savings of $20 on its original price of $50 -- this is the largest discount percentage-wise in the sale at 40% off. The streaming device supports Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos for a cinematic experience in the comfort of your own home.

Read more
Soundbar sale: Save on Samsung, Sony, Bose, and more, from $42
TCL Alto wireless soundbar and subwoofer deal walmart

Best Buy has a huge sale on soundbars with models available from just $42. For anyone looking for an inexpensive upgrade to their audio setup, these soundbar deals are the ones to consider. Over 60 soundbars are in the sale so we’ve picked out a few of our favorite deals to help you narrow things down. If you want to see the sale for yourself, simply tap the button below to take a look.

What to shop for in the soundbar sale
For the cheapest soundbar around, check out the which is down to $42 from $50. It was already cheap but $42 is pretty much impulse buy territory. It’s a basic soundbar but it has options including Bluetooth for wirelessly streaming your content, while you can also use the optical in port to connect it, while there’s also an aux-in port too. It also comes with a wall mounting kit and has a remote too.

Read more
Best QLED TV deals: Samsung, TCL, LG and Vizio
The Hisense U6H ULED 4K TV in a living room.

The best TVs tend to come down to TVs with QLED or OLED picture technologies behind them, with QLED being the picture technology many people prefer. Both technologies have become more and more affordable over the years, which makes now a great time to shop the best QLED TVs for a QLED TV that offers more savings. Right now you can find some discounted prices on top TV brands like TCL, Samsung, and LG, as there are a lot of QLED TV deals currently taking place. You’ll find our picks for the best QLED TV deals below, as well as some information on which QLED TV may be best suited for your home theater.
Hisense 55-inch U6 QLED 4K TV — $350, was $450

Hisense offers a range of impressive TV models and sizes. The Hisense 65-inch U6 QLED 4K TV will bring a range of great features to your home theater. These include compatibility with Google Assistant and Alexa for voice controls, a filmmaker mode that displays movie content precisely as it was intended by the filmmaker to be seen, and a game mode that automatically adjusts settings for smooth video game playback. This TV also has Bluetooth connectivity that will allow you to connect devices like the best wireless headphones and the best soundbars. This is also a Google TV, which gives you instant access to all sorts of streaming content.

Read more