Ever since the introduction of virtual assistants like Alexa or the Google Assistant, manufacturers have tried to shoehorn them into every possible product or appliance. Everything from microwaves to eyeglasses can now accept voice commands. While these may not be the most practical examples, there is one product category that seems to be a natural fit for voice assistant integration — home theater equipment. Both Polk and JBL have attempted to combine the functionality of a soundbar and a smart speaker into one device. Polk's entry into this developing market, the Command Bar, is currently on sale at Amazon for $200 — a savings of $100.
During his time with the Polk Command Bar, AP's very own Jordan Palmer found the sound quality to be a substantial improvement over his current setup. The included wireless subwoofer provided complimentary bass without overpowering the soundbar. Connectivity should be no issue as this device comes with a full complement of ports (2 HDMI, 1 HDMI passthrough, and 1 USB.) The inclusion of Alexa functionality can be helpful, but it can also be triggered accidentally or fail to understand voice commands.
Although the initial MSRP of $300 may have seemed a bit high, getting both an Echo Dot and a decent soundbar for only $200 could be much harder to pass up. Follow the link below if you could use a little more Alexa, some extra oomph, or a bit of both in your entertainment center.