I have now had the Polk Command Bar setup at home for about two weeks. I only started using a sound bar with my home setup about two years ago. Prior to that I just simply used whatever speakers were in the TV and was OK with that setup.
The sound bar I used before the Polk Command Bar was from Vizio and something I picked up on sale during the holidays a I recall. It helped a lot with sound for both TV watching the Xbox gaming.
However, when the Polk Command Bar finally arrived and I got it setup on my system – it puts the Vizio well into memory.
My wife, someone who doesn’t notice the difference between HD and 4K, actually turned to me one night watching TV and asked if the Polk Command Bar provided surround sound. She commented about this because she could hear sound coming in from the sides of the room. In reality, the Polk Command Bar is not a surround sound system. However, it does have side firing speakers in the ends of the sound bar and that in combination with the forward firing speakers and the sub-woofer, makes for a solid faux surround sound experience.
Lets go over some of the key features for the Polk Command Bar:
- Built-in Amazon Alexa: Easily control, monitor and schedule your electronics using your voice.
- 260W total output power: Provides quality sound for your favorite movies, shows, games and music.
- Performance-tuned driver array, wireless subwoofer and Dolby/DTS surround sound decoding: Offer an immersive, room-filling home theater experience.
- Bluetooth music streaming: Makes it easy to enjoy tracks stored on a compatible Bluetooth-enabled device (not included).
- Sleek appearance: Fits seamlessly along most HDTVs for a streamlined look. Can be wall mounted.
- Universal Compatibility: Included High-Speed HDMI and Optical cables ensure quick and easy setup and the low-profile 2″ design won’t block your TV’s screen.
- Fire TV Compatible: HDMI ports designed and spaced to fit Fire TV and other wide HDMI streaming devices. Built-in USB port also powers original and 4K versions of Fire TV (where Fire TV is available).
Prior to receiving the Polk Command Bar I was feeding my desktop Xfinity desktop box into the Xbox One S and then that was being output to an HDMI port on the back of my Samsung 4K UHD television. So basically, I watched TV through the console and had one HDMI port that needed to be active at any time.
The Polk Command Bar comes configured with two HDMI ports, known to Alexa as HDMI1 and HDMI2.
Note: These can not be renamed to any label and it matches the names on the remote control that comes with the Polk Command Bar.
So I had the option to keep my cable TV feeding through the Xbox One console but I opted to use both HDMI ports on the Polk Command Bar. That meant one was for cable TV and the other was for the console. This setup has allowed me to actively test the Polk Command Bar’s ability to switch between the two HDMI inputs both using my voice with Alexa and the remote control.
My only issue with the Polk Command Bar is that when I turn on the TV or console you must still ask Alexa to switch to HDMI1 or HDMI2 to see the video output from that device. For some reason the Polk Command Bar does not remember what input it was on when everything was last shutdown.
I am no high end audiophile, but the sound produced by the Polk Command Bar is superb. The wireless sub-woofer provides a nice bass to everything and there are three modes to fine tune the sound output – Movie, Sports, and Music – which are selectable on the remote or via voice commands to Alexa.
Speaking of Alexa, we have several things registered with Alexa for smart home control such as lights, our thermostat and having her right there to help control those items is extremely convenient. It also means not having to connect another device in the living room power matrix which is my favorite aspect. Alexa has the ability to be heard over normal sound thanks to the far field mikes in the Polk Command Bar.
I am very pleased with this device and with a retail price of just $299 – it is a serious option for great sound and access to your Alexa skills and capabilities.
The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.