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Roku squeezes 4K streaming player into compact soundbar

Roku squeezes 4K streaming pla...
A compact Dolby Audio soundbar with 4K streaming smarts
A compact Dolby Audio soundbar with 4K streaming smarts
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The Streambar comes with a remote that's compatible with Alexa and Google digital assistants
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The Streambar comes with a remote that's compatible with Alexa and Google digital assistants
A compact Dolby Audio soundbar with 4K streaming smarts
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A compact Dolby Audio soundbar with 4K streaming smarts
Roku promises room-filling sound from the Streambar's four 1.9-inch drivers
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Roku promises room-filling sound from the Streambar's four 1.9-inch drivers
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Watching streamed content on a big TV can involve a good many cables running between your media streamer, soundbar or surround-sound audio setup and TV. Roku aims to cut some of the clutter with the Streambar, one unit that combines a streaming player and a compact soundbar.

This is not the first soundbar from Roku. The company launched the Smart Soundbar last year, but that was designed to be used along with a set-top box. The Streambar has the streaming player cooked in, and is smaller in size. The content streaming part of the setup rocks a simple, easy-to-use interface for access to popular streaming channels in Full HD, 4K and HDR picture quality.

The soundbar component holds the promise of room-filling sound from the unit's four 1.9-inch Dolby Audio speakers – two at the sides and two more at the front. It offers boosted bass and speech clarity too, the volume can be set to automatically lower during commercials, and there's a night mode for watching TV without disturbing other members of the household. There's support for Spotify Connect and you can also stream music over from a Bluetooth-enabled source device such as a smartphone. And if you want to splash some extra cash, it can be paired with Roku's wireless speakers and subwoofer for surround sound.

Roku promises room-filling sound from the Streambar's four 1.9-inch drivers
Roku promises room-filling sound from the Streambar's four 1.9-inch drivers

Cabled connectivity shapes up as HDMI 2.0a (ARC), S/PDIF optical and USB 2.0 ports, and the included remote is compatible with Alexa and Google digital assistants. AirPlay 2 and HomeKit capabilities are expected to roll out later in the year.

The 2.4 x 14 x 4.2-in (60.9 x 355.6 x 106.6-mm), 38.4-oz (1-kg) Roku Streambar is up for pre-order now for US$129.99, with shipping expected to start on October 18.

Roku also announced the Ultra today, a new streaming player with improved range and Bluetooth support, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos when paired with compatible devices, and more. This device is priced at $99.99.

Product page: Streambar

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