Alexa-Enabled Polk Command Bar Gets Multi-Room Music Upgrade

Polk Audio has now confirmed that its Polk Command Bar is gaining support for Amazon's Alexa Multi-Room Music (MRM). Making it the first third-party soundbar to do so, according to the company.

MRM is an Amazon feature which lets Alexa-enabled devices connect with other MRM-compatible devices and provide a more robust output. In this case, the newly-added support means owners of the Polk Command Bar will be able to ‘group’ the soundbar with other speakers and enjoy more of a communal level of audio playback.

This includes first-party Alexa-enabled speakers, such as Amazon’s own Echo line of products.

Polk Audio first announced the Polk Command Bar during CES 2018. The big selling point at the time was the inclusion of a built-in version of Alexa with the product launched as the first ever soundbar to come loaded with Alexa. The integration between the two products is so much in effect that the Command Bar actually looks like a soundbar with an Echo Dot positioned in the middle. With the big difference being the heightened sound quality that’s on offer with the Command Bar compared to the Echo Dot, or most other Alexa-enabled smart speakers for that matter.

This latest announcement looks to build on that 2018 announcement by not only deepening the integration between the Polk hardware and Alexa’s ecosystem, but to once again also be the first soundbar to add the support.

With the standard version of Alexa on board, as well as integrated far-field microphones, the Polk Command Bar acts in the same way as any other Alexa-enabled device with users able to request information from Alexa or command the voice assistant to comply with various tasks, including smart home device control and management.

The latest improvement makes the smart home aspect even more intrinsic thanks to the Polk Command Bar’s ability to be coupled with other speakers. This effectively means users can now opt to use the Polk Command Bar in a standalone fashion for local playback, or have the device respond in harmony with other MRM-enabled products whether they are in the same room or positioned throughout the home.

Alexa aside, the Polk Command Bar is a typical soundbar product which looks to add more of an immersive element to the TV-watching experience. The main ‘bar’ draws on two full range drivers and two tweeters for it sound, along with a 6.5-inch ported subwoofer that connects to the main bar, wirelessly.

The increased Alexa support also extends to the ports as the unit includes a HDMI port that allows those more entrenched in the Alexa ecosystem to directly connect a Fire TV-branded product to the soundbar. Once connected, Alexa is then able to even better control the Fire TV device.

Polk Audio has not stated when exactly the new MRM support goes live, though users can always check if the support is active by heading to the settings portion of the Alexa app. Once there, the user can look for the “Add Multi-Room Music Speakers” option after clicking on the “Devices” icon. At which point the user can add the Command Bar to an existing group or create a new one.

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John Anon

Editor-in-Chief
John has been writing about and reviewing tech products since 2014 after making the transition from writing about and reviewing airlines. With a background in Psychology, John has a particular interest in the science and future of the industry. Besides adopting the Managing Editor role at AH John also covers much of the news surrounding audio and visual tech, including cord-cutting, the state of Pay-TV, and Android TV. Contact him at [email protected]