Roku unveiled Wednesday the next stages in the expansion of its home theater audio product assortment.

Starting in October, Roku will deliver its first Roku Smart Soundbar ($179.95 suggested retail price) and Roku wireless subwoofer ($179.95), both of which will be available direct from the Roku website as well as from Best Buy stores.

Roku said the soundbar is designed to work not only with Roku TVs, but other smart TV brands and models as well.

Last year, the popular smart TV company launched its first wireless speakers dedicated for use by integrated Roku TVs. The spearkers, which were successfully received by Roku TV owners, offer a wide sound stage, by allowing users to position each unit to the far left and right of the screen, creating a wider sound stage than is possible with most sound bars. Those speakers offered a built-in deep bass response and a virtual center channel that delivers clear, discernible dialog.

Through its website, Roku began accepting today pre-orders on the first Roku Soundbar and Roku wireless subwoofer. The Roku Smart Soundbar is designed to present what Roku called “exceptional audio and powerful streaming to any TV with HDMI.”

The Roku Wireless Subwoofer ($179.95 suggested retail)

The Roku Wireles Subwoofer can be added to the Roku Smart Soundbar, and (soon) to existing Roku Wireless Speakers.

The Roku Smart Soundbar offers 2.0 channels and measures 32-inches long. It incorporates four 2.5-inch speakers, two on each side of the soundbar, and will create a virtual center channel with clear understandable dialog.

The soundbar connect with 4K Ultra HD, HDR, 1080p and 720p HD streaming sources up to 60fps. It will connect to a home Wi-Fi network via built-in dual-band 802.11ac wireless technology, and is equipped with an HDMI-ARC port as well as a digital optical audio input. Other features include support for Bluetooth, Dolby Audio and USB 2.0.

“The Roku Smart Soundbar combines fantastic sound with premium 4K streaming, just like in our high-end Roku players,” said Mark Ely, Roku product management VP. “Having the two together creates a great suite with a two-in-one experience and all of it meticulously engineered with really high quality drivers, sophisticated signal processing for intelligent sound leveling and dialog enhancement and it supports Dolby Audio.”

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The Roku Smart Soundbar also features a premium High Speed HDMI Cable, optical cable and Roku’s voice remote along with two AAA batteries.

Ely said Roku focused on designing the new audio components to be very easy to setup and use. The soundbar connects like a Roku player and connects to the TV with HDMI-ARC or optical digital cables. It ships with a Roku (RF) voice remote and is compatible with both Alexa and Google Assistant voice control devices.

Via Bluetooth, the soundbar will also connect to a mobile device to stream music of other content from the phone.

The DSP in the soundbar offers auto sound leveling for optimal performance for various listening modes, including Night Mode to adjust levels for listening without disturbing others in adjoining rooms and spaces.

The Roku Wireless Subwoofer features a digital amplifier with 250-Watt peak power (125W RMS), as low as 40 Hz, 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity, and a 10-inch driver. It includes a power cable and is designed to work with the Roku smart Soundbar. The subwoofer does not offer built-in streaming but is designed to work with Roku Smart Soundbar, which does support internal Roku streaming capability.

“When the subwoofer connects with the soundbar, both of them automatically adjust their crossover frequencies, so you get premium frequency response in an very easy to setup process,” Ely said.

Roku said the Roku Wireless Subwoofer will be compatible with existing Roku TV Wireless Speakers in the coming months but will not be ready for everyone at launch. Roku said it plans to soon announce when that capability will be coming.

By Greg Tarr

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