Sonos Beam is a home cinema speaker with Alexa that wants to kill your HomePod

The Beam is Sonos' most connected speaker yet and will have AirPlay 2 by July

Sonos Beam

We're live (more or less) from San Francisco, USA and Sonos has just announced the Sonos Beam. It's a compact home cinema (or 'home theater' as the Yanks say) soundbar for the living room.

Coming in black or white it boasts Alexa integration, with the promise of support for more voice assistants - Siri perhaps - in the future.

That makes it an obvious follow-up to the likes of the Sonos Playbar and the Sonos Playbase which were the company's previous living room efforts.

Add one of Amazon’s compatible Fire streamers and the Beam goes a few steps further, adding a whole new level of interest by letting you voice control access to Amazon Prime video, Netflix, catch-up TV and all Fire’s other delights.

An early, rough sketch of the new Sonos

This FCC filing sketch was the first we saw of Sonos' latest simultaneous assault on the music, home cinema and smart AI markets. Turns out it actually looks like this. Uncannily similar.

Sonos Beam

The purpose of the new box is not just to play music via the Sonos app, which funnels everything from Spotify to Apple Music to TuneIn through Sonos' splendid array of multi-room speakers – with Apple AirPlay 2 support on the way in July across this and The rest of the Sonos range.

Beam with Fire will also simplify your TV viewing experience by giving you voice access to the likes of Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, et al (but not YouTube due to a feud with Google).

Beam connects to your TV via HDMI ARC or optical digital and can amplify quiet dialogue automatically. It also is no doubt a very proficient part of Sonos’ multi-room audio suite, and can be wirelessly paired to Sonos‘ Sub (woofer) with further speakers able to serve as rear surround speakers. Dolby 5.1 is supported rather than Atmos.

Sonos Beam

Sonos Beam: open (source) goal

• The Sonos Beam goes on sale on 17 July for £399.

Duncan Bell

Duncan is the former lifestyle editor of T3 and has been writing about tech for almost 15 years. He has covered everything from smartphones to headphones, TV to AC and air fryers to the movies of James Bond and obscure anime. His current brief is everything to do with the home and kitchen, which is good because he is an excellent cook, if he says so himself. He also covers cycling and ebikes – like over-using italics, this is another passion of his. In his long and varied lifestyle-tech career he is one of the few people to have been a fitness editor despite being unfit and a cars editor for not one but two websites, despite being unable to drive. He also has about 400 vacuum cleaners, and is possibly the UK's leading expert on cordless vacuum cleaners, despite being decidedly messy. A cricket fan for over 30 years, he also recently become T3's cricket editor, writing about how to stream obscure T20 tournaments, and turning out some typically no-nonsense opinions on the world's top teams and players.

Before T3, Duncan was a music and film reviewer, worked for a magazine about gambling that employed a surprisingly large number of convicted criminals, and then a magazine called Bizarre that was essentially like a cross between Reddit and DeviantArt, before the invention of the internet. There was also a lengthy period where he essentially wrote all of T3 magazine every month for about 3 years. 

A broadcaster, raconteur and public speaker, Duncan used to be on telly loads, but an unfortunate incident put a stop to that, so he now largely contents himself with telling people, "I used to be on the TV, you know."