WESTAN TO LAUNCH NEW POLK VOICE ACTIVATED SOUNDBAR, INDUSTRY FIRST
Melbourne based distributor Westan is set to launch the industry’s first wireless multiroom soundbars from Sound United’s Polk audio range that comes with far-field microphones and an embedded Cloud-based digital assistant.
Westan who previously distributed the Q Acoustic range is set to benefit from a move to voice activated sound gear which is not available in the Q Acoustics soundbars.
the new soundbar which is set to ship in Australia in the second quarter will feature built-in Amazon Alexa which is also set to be launched in Australia in the second quarter.
The introduction of this technology allows users to deliver voice control of Alexa-supported Wi-Fi music-streaming services, networked smarthome devices, and Alexa-enabled A/V products.
Amazon streaming devices can be plugged into the bar’s two HDMI 2.0a ports and get power from the bar’s USB port to stream video content to an HDMI-connected TV. The HDMI ports are spaced to fit the Amazon Fire TV Stick and other wide HDMI-streaming dongles.
Channel News understands that a Google Assistant version will also be available later in the year.
A so-called “Just Ask” feature automatically reduces playback volume when the wake-up word “Alexa” is uttered so the ensuing voice command can be interpreted correctly, the company said.
Key features include built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, two 4K HDMI 2.0a inputs with HDCP 2.2 copy protection, HDMI passthrough of HDR 10 and Dolby Vision HDR, one HDMI (ARC) port, an optical audio input, Ethernet RJ45 port and Dolby and DTS 5.1 surround.
The bar packs two 1- by 3-inch full-range drivers and two 1-inch tweeters, complemented by a ported, wireless outboard 6.5-inch subwoofer.
The product’s feature set also includes proprietary dialog-enhancing technology, called Voice Adjust for Crystal Clear Dialogue, to isolate and adjust the voice channel for clearer vocals. Pre-set EQ setting are optimized for playing back movies, music or sports and include subwoofer-level adjustment.
The bar supports HDMI CED, comes with IR remote, and features keyholes for wall mounting.
Alexa-supported music services that can be controlled by voice include Amazon Music, TuneIn, Pandora, iHeartradio, Sirius XM and Spotify. Other Alexa-enabled services include information, news and Audible audiobook playback.
Michael Greco, Polk’s global brand director, contends the soundbar “profoundly changes how we control our home theatres” and “produces Polk Audio-quality sound for movies and music, while simultaneously giving owners the flexibility to use the soundbar like they would any other Amazon Alexa product.”