Roku Smart Soundbar
Source: Roku

Roku is in the news these days. The company just launched a Kids section on its channel. The company also entered the speakers business when it introduced Roku TV Wireless Speakers. Now, Roku introduces two new audio products: Roku Wireless Subwoofer and Roku Smart Soundbar; both cost $180 each. The soundbar and subwoofer are there to improve the streaming experience of the customers. However, unlike the last year’s speakers, this product will work with any TV, not just the Roku’s brand.

“Currently, there are these big 4K giant TVs that don’t have a space for speakers,” said Roku VP of Product Management, Mark Ely, “Moreover, there are different audio levels, from loud commercials to quiet discussions in the movies. Due to this, people constantly change the volume control on their remote.”

Roku is addressing these issues by investing in smart audio solutions, like speakers that offer premium sound and the Automatic Volume Levelling technology, which raises the volume for quieter scenes and lowers it when it gets too loud.

With the Smart soundbar, Roku introduces a similar feature. Roku OS powers this device. According to Roku, the smart soundbar contains a simple setup with four premium sounds to provide clarity and dynamic bass response. When you have the night mode on, the soundbar raises the volume for quieter scenes and lowers it for loud scenes. The speech clarity feature also boosts voice frequency and makes it easier to hear low sounds.

It also supports Dolby Audio and connects with the help of an HDMI ARC port and an optical audio input. It also has a Bluetooth connection that helps you to stream podcasts and music from Bluetooth compatible devices. The speaker also gives you the ability to turn off captions, replay scenes and more. You can use the Roku voice remote for this. You can also connect with either Amazon Alexa or a Google Assistant. This feature of the device gives it an edge over Amazon Fire TV.

On one side, the option to connect with the smart voice assistants is quite useful. However, the problem is that Roku’s voice tech isn’t that advanced because it focuses more on the TV-related commands. This gives an unreliable experience when you use Roku through Alexa. Users have also given poor reviews for Roku’s Alexa skills.

The next product, the wireless Subwoofer, is for people who want a theatre-like experience. You can place the device anywhere within 30 feet of the soundbar. It offers a digital amplifier with 250W power, an 802.11ac dual-band wireless, and a 10” driver.

Just like the speakers, the setup involves just holding the home button to pair and get running. Currently, it is compatible with the new wireless soundbar. However, it will also become compatible with the Speakers when Roku introduces an update in a few months.

The company believes that the soundbar is a good option for non-Roku customers and those people who don’t have enough space for other speakers. Meanwhile, the subwoofer is a good choice for individuals who want to have a home theatre experience.

This new hardware expands the company’s entry into the premium audio. However, this area doesn’t generate the main revenue. Instead, Roku’s advertising business has generated more revenue in the previous year. In Q2, Roku beat its expected earnings with 250.1 million revenue. Advertising was a major source of revenue.

However, Roku’s hardware is still getting popular within the public and people are buying them. Roku has now become the top streaming platform in America. Statistics show that every one in three smart TVs is Roku’s.

No one has conducted tests on the new devices yet. However, you can pre-order them from the Roku website to be shipped at your door in October. You can also buy them at Best Buy in October. Both hardware devices cost $179.99 each.