Roku has announced new products intended to advance its foray into the home audio realm. The first is a new smart soundbar that will double as a TV speaker and streaming box. The device is set for release in October and will cost $180, a solid price for an entry-level soundbar with high-end Roku capabilities.
According to the first look from Variety, the 32-inch device will connect via HDMI cable and will be capable of full 4K Ultra HD HDR streaming. It has the same capability as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and more, as well as access to the company’s free proprietary Roku Channel service. It will utilize HDMI ARC, allowing sound from cable boxes to be amplified as well. Consumers with older, HDMI-less television sets will be able to connect the bar via optical cable.
In testing the new device, Variety noted that the device had good sound which undoubtedly improved on the quality available from the in-built speakers on most modern TV’s. However, it was noted that the quality was not going to rival the highest echelons of the soundbar market, which includes heavy-hitters like the Sonos Beam and the Bose 700. For its price, the Roku soundbar will likely compete with entry-level bars, which can typically be found for between $80 and $100. Considering that 4K-ready Roku devices can cost $50-100, the all-in-one value of this new product starts to become clear.
Roku has also announced a new subwoofer product, meant to work in tandem with the soundbar to improve the bass levels. At launch, the subwoofer will only be compatible with the bar, but the company intends to add compatibility with its already-released bookshelf speakers. The price is set at $180.
Both products will be available online and in Best Buys stores next month.