Just when we thought hybrid soundbar-streamers couldn’t get any cheaper than the $180 Roku Smart Soundbar, the company says, “hold my beer.” The new Roku Streambar lowers the price of entry to $130/£129 and still manages to pack in some sophisticated features for the money.
As its name suggests, the Streambar is a soundbar with a full-cream 4K HDR streamer built-in. Roku says its streaming capabilities are equivalent to the $50 Roku Streaming Stick Plus. It’s also a 2.0-channel soundbar with side-firing “wide” speakers. The system will process 5.1 audio, which enables you to add or (or both) for a full-fledged wireless surround system (total cost: $450).
The biggest difference between the Streambar and the Smart Soundbar is the bars’ size and shape. While the Smart Soundbar is 32 inches wide, the Streambar is much more compact at 14 inches. Both bars include Roku’s voice remote, which lets you issue commands by speaking into the clicker, control volume and turn the TV on and off.
The Streambar offers “simple volume modes” which “lower loud commercials, boost the volume of voices and optimize the sound for night listening” according to the company’s press materials. In addition to Apple support, which is coming soon, the Streambar is equipped with Bluetooth and Spotify Connect.
Physical connectivity on the Streambar is standard for inexpensive soundbars: an optical digital input and HDMI with capability. It’s designed to connect to a TV and if you have other devices, such as a game console, you’ll need to .
The only real competition is “dumb” soundbars, such as the TVs better but I believe that’s where hybrid systems are most at home anyway: They’re a way to “undumb” older, less expensive TVs, especially in secondary rooms.or the , in the Streambar’s price range. For that reason alone the combination of sound and streaming makes the Streambar an attractive proposition, and for many people it’s a better value than the original $180 Smart Soundbar. The Streambar will probably suit smaller
The Roku Streambar, and the new Roku Ultra, will be available for preorder at Roku.com starting today and are expected to ship in October.
Roku’s 2020 audio lineup
|Price||Size (inches WxH)||4K HDR streaming built-in||Voice remote with TV control||Requires another Roku device|
|Streambar (new for 2020)||$130||14×2.4||Yes||Yes||No|
|Wireless speakers||$150 (pair)||7.7×4.9 (each)||No||Yes||Roku TV or soundbar|
|Wireless subwoofer||$180||11.8×11.8||No||No||Roku TV or soundbar|