Roku, Walmart Unveil `onn’ Brand Soundbar, Subwoofer
Walmart and Roku officially announced Monday the first Roku Smart Soundbar and Roku Wireless Subwoofer to be sold under the discount chain’s new “onn” brand.
Similar to the wireless Roku Smart Soundbar and Roku Subwoofer recently introduced by Roku for broad-based retail distribution, the new “onn” branded models will be sold exclusively through Walmart stores and website. Both products will be priced at $129 each.
Roku said the Walmart-exclusive onn soundbar version features 40W of peak power versus the Roku Smart Soundbar’s 60W. Positioned as a premium version to the onn model, Roku clarified that its Roku-only branded version will also have different drivers, and a Roku IR remote with TV power controls.
The onn Roku Wireless Subwoofer features a 10-inch driver like the Roku Wireless Subwoofer, but is slightly smaller and features 150 peak watts of power versus the Roku Wireless Subwoofer’s 250 peak watts of power, to justify a $50 step in price.
Still, the features of the onn versions of each product are similar to the previously introduced Roku branded version, which will have retail prices of $179 each and will be available at retail outlets beyond Walmart. For the time being anyway, this will let Walmart shoppers save a few dollars over the competitive version available elsewhere.
Both versions of the soundbar (onn and Roku) will include certain extras, like HDMI and optical cables, when they hit retail shelves shortly. In addition, both versions measure 32-inches long and offer a 2.0-channel experience.
Both subwoofers will have 10-inch drivers. The Roku-only branded subwoofer eventually will be adding the ability to pair with Roku’s wireless speakers for Roku TVs introduced earlier.
The new onn Roku audio products are designed for use with any brand of television, including Roku TVs. The onn Roku Soundbar will incorporate a Roku streaming player, to offer both better sound and a better streaming experience from non-Roku TVs
As with the Roku-only branded audio products, Walmart customers will have the option to buy the onn Roku Soundbar along with the onn Roku Subwoofer at one time, or add the subwoofer later .
“We’ve created the onn Roku Wireless Subwoofer as an option – for now or later,” stated Mark Ely, Players and Whole Home Product Management VP at Roku. “Roku and Walmart have worked together for years to enhance the entertainment experience for millions of people who have purchased Roku TV models and Roku streaming players. Now, we’re looking forward
to getting these new audio products on shelves to provide consumers with better sound for their TV experience at a great price.”
The onn Roku Smart Subwoofer is positioned as an easy way to add-on high-quality sounding bass for a more immersive movie and TV show streaming experience.
“We know our customers shop with us for quality products at an affordable price,” said Ryan Peterson, vice president of consumer electronics for Walmart. “We’re thrilled to be working with Roku to deliver a new category of audio and streaming products in time for the holiday season
that are easy to use and come at an incredible value.”
The “onn Roku Smart Soundbar” features HDMI inputs, HDMI-ARC and optical audio output. The sounbar will be equipped with the Roku OS and popular user interface to playback up to 4K Ultra HD resolution video with HDR10 high dynamic range (HDR) support. Setup is said to be as simple as the wildly popular interface is to use. The Roku smart platform provides access to more than 500,000 streaming movie titles, thousands of streaming TV episodes and hundreds of different streaming apps.
On the audio side, the onn Roku Smart Soundbar incorporates advanced audio modes including Automatice Volume Leveling, Night Mode, and Speech Clarity. Roku said automatic software updates are expected deliver expanded features and capabilities into the future.
Other features include Roku Connect, which is billed as a wireless audio protocol that seamlessly connects the Roku ecosystem components; Dolby Audio; Bluetooth connectivity to stream music, podcasts, and more from popular streaming channels or connected Bluetooth-enabled devices; single cable connection to a TV via HDMI-ARC; Roku Search capability and the classic simple-to-use Roku remote with channel shortcut buttons.
Users can also control the soundbar via a free Roku mobile app with the ability to use the on-screen soft keyboard for input, or alternatively users can use voice input through the app to control the streaming experience. The remote also includes a mini headphone jack when private listening is desired via a set of earbuds or headphones
The onn Roku Wireless Subwoofer expands the high-quality audio of the onn Roku Smart Soundbar by adding even deeper bass for more dynamic sound from movies and music, alike. The onn Roku Soundbar features easy wireless plug-and-play connection and setup. When the subwoofer connects with the soundbar, both units will automatically adjust their crossover frequencies for an optimal paired listening experience.
By Greg Tarr
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