Generally, when you think of Roku, the image of those handy HDMI streaming boxes that turn normal TVs into smart ones come immediately to the mind. And occasionally you are reminded of the Roku TVs, a set of smart television built by companies like TCL and Sharp that run the company’s Roku OS. However, like a must keep a promise, Roku wants to be more than just a company that throws Netflix onto your TV screen.
As witnessed by the wireless speakers it released in 2018 and its fast growth of audio researchers and engineers, Roku also intends to be the company that makes your streaming media sound amazing. And that’s where their new Smart Soundbar comes into play.
The 32-inch, Dolby-compatible soundbar will be available in shops later this year with a pricing of $180. It also packs four 2.5-inch speakers alongside the guts of a Roku Ultra — quad-core processor and all.
It’s different from last year’s Smart Speakers the Soundbar as this is meant to drive your television by itself, and with the help of those borrowed components, it can easily accommodate streaming video playback at up to 4K resolution.
In other words, the soundbar isn’t just to augment the Roku players you already own as much as substitute them outright. The soundbar isn’t a single feature, either. An additional $180 will give you a wireless subwoofer that — convincingly enough — looks like a Roku Ultra that underwent a late growth spurt.
If we ignore the aesthetics, it is quite powerful as it packs a single, downward-firing 10-inch woofer and its output peaks at 250W.
Things, however, could become dicier if you’re an existing avid Roku user. Since the Soundbar houses all the hardware and software required to stream A Good Place to your television, it’ll, by and large, replace any Roku devices you have previously connected.
The company says that the Soundbar is so smart that you could pick up either of your Roku remotes to control the Soundbar’s video output. Still, little changes you’ve made to on your original Roku, like the way you have laid out your channel icons, won’t carry over to the Soundbar.
However, if you’re using an actual Roku TV — that is, a TV operating on the Roku OS — you can easily have everything controlled that you need to from the interface you’re used to.