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Polk's 'Command Bar' is the first soundbar with Amazon Alexa

18 Jan 2018 | Rasmus Larsen |

The company says that the new soundbar produces powerful sound for movies and music and that Alexa can be used to control Fire TV, music services, and connected home devices.

Powered by Alexa

The Polk soundbar is based on two 1.25 x 3.25” full-range drivers, two 1” tweeters, and a wireless 6.5” subwoofer. It is designed for movie watching as well as music playback. In addition, it includes a far-field microphone array to enable voice commands based on the Alexa system.

- “Intelligent voice services 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 Kevin Duffy, CEO, Sound United. "For the past year, we worked to develop a sound bar 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 voice control not yet found in a traditional sound bar."

Amazon’s Alexa was a big theme at this year’s CES show. Amazon was not present but partners unveiled various products enhanced by Alexa skills. Polk’s soundbar is the “first announced voice-controlled sound bar with the Amazon Alexa Voice Service built in”, the company said.

Google was also vying for attention at CES with its Assistant coming to TVs from LG, Hisense, and others. Some products even feature both voice assistants.

- "Voice is an incredibly natural way to interact with your home, and we're excited to work with Polk Audio to bring customers a new Alexa experience for the home theater," said Dave Limp, senior vice president of devices and services at Amazon. "With the new Polk Command Bar, customers get great sound quality and Alexa voice control for an even better entertainment experience."

Polk Command Bar

Having Alexa in a soundbar will enable users to use their voice to “control Fire TV, connected smart home devices and the sound bar”, including services such as Amazon Music and Audible (audio books).

Will people use voice assistants in a soundbar? Time will tell but Polk is not the only company envisioning this. At CES 2018, Roku announced a home entertainment focused voice assistant that will be implemented in soundbars and TVs.

The company added that the soundbar supports 4K HDR pass-through via dual HDMI 2.0b inputs as well as support for Dolby and DTS. Unlike several of its competitors, Sound United has opted not support more capable object-based audio formats such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.

The Polk Command Bar will launch this spring in the US where it will retail in the US for $300 dollars. It will be available in Europe, Australia, and more regions later in 2018.

Polk Command Bar - specifications

Amazon Fire TV Compatible: The Polk Command Bar boasts HDMI ports custom designed to fit Fire TV devices and other wide HDMI streaming devices. A built-in USB port can also power compatible Fire TV devices.
Amazon Alexa Voice Control: At launch, customers will be able to simply ask Alexa to play music, control smart home devices, provide information, read the news, set alarms, read audiobooks from Audible, control Amazon Video on Fire TV, and more. The Polk Command Bar also features Universal control via HDMI CEC, IR Remote and Alexa voice commands. Alexa is always getting smarter and the Polk Command Bar receives automated over-the-air updates to provide customers access to new services and features.
Connectivity: Polk Audio's Command Bar is Wi-Fi-and Bluetooth®-enabled and has a full suite of wired inputs, two built-in 4K HDMI 2.0b inputs (Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HDCP 2.2 compliant), one HDMI (ARC) output and optical input for TV audio. It also ships with both HDMI and optical cables.
Polk Voice Adjust™ for Crystal Clear Dialogue: Polk's proprietary dialogue-enhancing technology, VoiceAdjust, allows consumers to isolate and adjust the voice channel for clear, crisp vocals.
4K TV Compatible: Works with 4K and HDTVs—plus, built-in dual HDMI 2.0b inputs ensure 4K HDR content looks great.
Polk Smart Remote Compatibility: Whether connecting via Optical or HDMI cable, Polk Command Bar features built-in support for popular IR TV remotes from Samsung, LG, Sony, and Vizio. It is also compatible with most CEC-enabled TVs.
Optimized Sound Modes: The Polk Command Bar is outfitted with several preset sound modes for Night, Movies, Music, and Sports, which optimize the sound bar and subwoofer levels to ensure owners get the clearest dialogue, big room-filling sound and deep bass.
Simple Mounting: Designed for both tabletop and wall-mounting with built-in keyholes slots, the Polk Command Bar is easily mountable anywhere in the living room.

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