Last year, Roku entered the speaker business with the debut of the Roku TV Wireless Speakers. The company is introducing the Roku Smart Soundbar and Roku Wireless Subwoofer, both of which work with any TV. While the new soundbar and subwoofer are the latest examples of this, they are not the first.
"We've been very successful in delivering best-in-class streaming experiences to our customers and we're constantly innovating in order to deliver on our promise of making TV better", said Roku vice president Mark Ely in a release about today's announcements. "And that's compounded by audio volume levels that have been all over the map, from loud commercials to really quiet dialog passages in movies". Not only is Apple TV overpriced, but the remote control is bad.
The Roku Smart Soundbar is a 32-inch 2.0 soundbar, and it has four 2.5-inch speakers. It runs the Roku OS, like all Roku boxes, and provides access to OTT services. It also offers Automatic Volume Leveling (for consistent volume across channels and programs), Night Mode (which evens program volume between scenes), and Speech Clarity (boosting the dialogue). You can connect via HDMI or an optical port, but there's one drawback to the former: It only supports ARC HDMI ports right now.
By the way, you can also use it as a Bluetooth speaker and connect media servers to it via USB. In our briefing Roku wouldn't specify which processor the Smart Soundbar would use, but says that it's a quad-core chip that stacks up nearly identically to the one in the Roku Ultra. Speaking from personal experience with a TCL Roku TV, this remote voice search function is exceptionally useful to find a specific titles without going through all the apps.
On the one hand, the option to integrate with either of the top smart voice assistants is useful.
For those that want more bass, Roku offers a supporting Wireless Subwoofer with a 10-inch driver to help amplify explosions and such like. It's a wireless subwoofer with a 10-inch driver and 250-watt amp, created to work with Roku audio devices.
The Roku Smart Soundbar is just that. Currently, it works with the brand-new Wireless Soundbar, but the Roku Wireless Speakers will get an update in the next few months to add compatibility with the subwoofer. It is essentially a traditional soundbar with a Roku media box built in. For $179.99, Roku's new soundbar seems to pack a decent audio punch while providing a somewhat unique Roku twist.
Roku already has plenty of hardware device on the market.