Cable operator Altice wants to take on Sonos and other smart speaker makers with a Hi-Fi product of its own: Altice announced a new speaker called Altice Amplify Wednesday that combines audio technology developed by luxury smart speaker maker Devialet with Alexa-powered voice control.
Altice customers will get Amplify for $399, while the company will charge non-customers $499. Subscribers to the company’s Altice One triple play product will also be able to rent the speaker for $10 a month. Altice Amplify will be available on Amazon.com as well as in Altice’s Optimum and Suddenlink retail stores some time later this year.
Altice Amplify will pack 2 long stroke Diamond woofers, designed by Devialet, and a 19v, 7.5 A peak amp, according to specs released by the cable company Wednesday. It also comes with 6 far-field microphones that are supposed to work even with a TV turned up — which is exactly how the company envisions its customers to use the device: Amplify users will be able to control their Altice One set-top box with voice commands.
To be fair, the latter will also be available with a regular Echo speaker, or any other smart speaker with Alexa built-in. So why is Altice confident that consumers will pay between $400 and $500 for the device?
Much of that comes down to the audio system, which has been designed by Devialet. That company is competing on the smart speaker market from the high end, with products costing anywhere from $1100 to $3000. Compared to that, the Altice Amplify could be considered a steal — provided that consumers will trust their cable company to be an arbiter in high-end audio.