If you’re still planning to head to Las Vegas to catch the last couple of days of CES, you can give Polk Audio’s latest sound bar an audition. Known as The Polk Command Bar, the company claims it’s the first announced voice-controlled sound bar with Amazon Alexa Voice Service built in, and will retail in the US for $299.99, but not before Spring of 2018.
The unit includes integrated far-field top-mounted microphones for owners to wield commands to control master volume, mute, bass, sound modes and source selection. There is an included HDMI port designed to fit Amazon Fire TV and other devices. With the Alexa Voice Service integrated into the Polk Command Bar, customers can use their voice to control Fire TV, connected smart home devices and the sound bar itself.
A built-in USB port on the rear of the unit can power compatible Fire TV devices, and there is support for a full set of smart home skills to control lights, locks, and HVAC, as well as Amazon Alexa-supported music services. The Polk Command Bar can also read books from Audible. Predictably, Alexa can be asked to tell the time, relay the weather, set alarms, tell jokes or turn on the lights, from anywhere in your home theater space.
As well as Polk Audio’s performance-tuned drivers, the sound bar includes two 1.25 x 3.25 inch full range drivers, two 1-inch tweeters, and a ported 6.5 inch subwoofer for what the company claims is ‘big, dynamic sound’. There is additional support for Dolby and DTS surround for an ‘immersive room-filling home theater experience’.
“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,” says Kevin Duffy, CEO and president of parent company, 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.”
Connectivity includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and wired inputs consist of 2 x HDMI 2.0b (Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HDCP 2.2 compatible), and one optical for TV audio. There is also one HDMI (ARC) output, and the unit ships with both an HDMI and optical cable.