Roku squeezes 4K streaming player into compact soundbar
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.
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