Roku’s Streambar is a compact soundbar with built-in streaming smarts

Roku’s Streambar is a compact soundbar with built-in streaming smarts

A year after Roku announced its Smart Soundbar, the company is back with the Streambar, which combines a compact soundbar with a 4K / HDR streaming device. It’s compatible with all the apps and services you’d expect from Roku, and it combines this with four full-range speaker drivers to fill your living room with stereo audio. The soundbar was announced today alongside the updated Roku Ultra streaming box, which now supports Dolby Vision. The Streambar will retail for $129.99 (£129) and ships in mid-October.

The big difference between the Streambar and Roku’s previous Smart Soundbar is size. While the original soundbar was over 32 inches long, the new Streambar is under half that at 14 inches. Its smaller size should make it easier to fit into smaller living rooms or alongside bedroom TVs.

The Streambar includes four full-range drivers. Image: Roku Around the back, there’s an HDMI, optical audio, and USB port. Image: Roku

Otherwise, the Streambar’s specs are broadly similar to the Smart Soundbar. It connects to your TV via HDMI ARC or optical audio, and it has a Bluetooth receiver and support for Spotify Connect if you want to stream music. There’s also a USB port on its back if you want to plug in a USB stick or external hard drive to play content locally, and this port can also be used for Ethernet with an adapter. If you’re in the US, then like the Smart Soundbar, you can pair it with Roku’s wireless speakers and subwoofer to give yourself a surround sound setup.

Also like the Smart Soundbar, the Streambar includes software audio features for a couple of different use cases. There’s one that makes speech easier to hear and another that levels out the volume across the content you watch to reduce the volume of loud commercials. There’s also a night mode so you can hear the TV without waking others in the house. All of this is controlled with an included Roku voice remote.

The Streambar supports up to 4K content and HDR via the HDR10 and HLG standards. Audio formats supported include PCM and Dolby Audio. Support for Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos aren’t included here but can be found in the new Roku Ultra. The Streambar integrates with Alexa, Google Assistant, and will be one of Roku’s devices that’s getting HomeKit and AirPlay 2 support.

The Streambar will be available in the US, Canada, Mexico, and the UK and is available to preorder starting today.

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