Roku has just announced its first ever soundbar and wireless subwoofer, the Roku Smart Soundbar and the Roku Wireless Subwoofer, respectively. It costs $ 180 and is designed to improve the sound quality of your home TV. Available for pre-order now, with delivery expected to begin in October.
Roku released Roku TV's wireless speakers ($ 150) last year and proved to everyone that it could make great hardware other than just streaming sticks; and in fact, even with the introduction of their new audio tape, these wireless TV speakers are still perhaps the best (and definitely cheaper) way for most people to improve the sound quality of their Roku TV. But not everyone has enough space for stereo speakers, that's where the Roku Smart Soundbar comes in.
Interestingly, the Roku Smart Soundbar is much more versatile than the Roku TV wireless speakers, which are designed to only work with Roku smart TVs. The new soundbar, on the other hand, can work with a basic TV. Like the just released JBL Sound Link, the Roku Smart Soundbar has its own OS baked into it (while Sound Link has Android TV, however, the Roku Smart Soundbar has its own Roku OS). This means you can plug the soundbar directly into any TV via HDMI ARC or optical and turn it into a Roku smart TV.
It should be noted that if you already have Roku TV wireless speakers, you should not consider buying a new Roku Smart Soundbar – the two will not work together.
The Roku Smart Soundbar has a few other tricks up its sleeve. It has built-in Bluetooth, so you can turn it into a really great Bluetooth party speaker. Works with both Google Assistant and Alexa from Amazon, so it can be integrated into most smart home ecosystems. And there are various features synonymous with Roku TVs, such as Night mode (volume down or loud noise), Automatic volume leveling (silent loud ads), and Speech clarity (makes dialogue clearer).
The Roku wireless subwoofer is slightly different in that it has to be connected to the Roku Smart Soundbar or the Roku TV wireless speakers; it can't work on its own It's great that when connected, the soundbar or stereo speakers will automatically lower the bass levels to allow the subwoofer and its powerful 10-inch driver to really light up.
It should be noted that if you already have Roku TV wireless speakers, compatibility with the Roku wireless subwoofer is not available at startup. The company says it will introduce a software update in the next few months.