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Roku Streambar review: streaming & sound all in one

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Erin L

Erin L

Roku Streambar, review, sound bar, audio, streamingWhat could make a streaming box better? They’ve gotten smaller, and faster, but what if your streaming stickor streaming box was also a sound bar? That’s the idea behind the all new 4K Roku Streambar that’s just launched in Canada.

What is Roku Streambar?

The Roku Streambar combines the 4K streaming capabilities of a streaming device like a streaming stick, box or smart TV, all wrapped up in a super conpact sound bar, making the Streambar a great option for older TVs without streaming capabilities, but the small size of the Streambar also means it’s a great option for tighter spaces. It’s actually quite surprising how small and light the Roku Streambar is, (coming in at just 14 x4 x2) so it’ll be fascinating to hear how it sounds. To operate it, use either the included Roku remote control or the Roku Remote app, or both.

Roku Streambar Review

Roku Streambar connects to your TV to create a streaming entertainment portal where you can watch channels like Netflix, YouTube, Apple TV and others. That same HDMI or optical digital audio connection also amplifies sound for better audio quality.

Do you really need a sound bar? A big yes to this. As TVs have gotten thinner, there’s really no physical space for a quality speaker that can kick out all the audio characteristics we expect like clear dialogue and bass, particularly if you’ve upgraded to a 4K TV. Generally speaking, sound off the TV’s internal speakers is sub par and that’s why sound bars more important now than ever.

How to set up Roku Streambar

Getting the Streambar going was quite easy. you just need to connect it to your TV (using either the HDMI cable or optical audio cable). I connected it to my living room Hisense Roku TV. (If you’re using this on a Roku TV the set up is simple, but this sound bar is smart enough to work with almost any brand of TV.) Once you get it connected, click over to the HDMI input you’ve connected it to and follow the on-screen prompts. The Roku Streambar will step you through everything you need to do, and I was up and running in seconds.

One note here: since I was connecting the Streambar to a smart Roku TV already, in this case, the streaming capabilities are redundant for me, but since I did need  sound bar on my TV that’s what I relied on it for most. I also hooked the Streambar up to an older non-smart Samsung TV in my kitchen and there it was a great option for both streaming smarts and better sound.

Roku Streambar, review, sound bar, audio, streamingIn the Roku Streambar package you get:

  • Roku Streambar
  • Voice remote with TV controls
  • Premium High Speed HDMI® Cable
  • Optical digital audio cable
  • Two AAA batteries
  • Power cable and adapter

Audio quality: Roku Streambar

From the moment I fired this up, I was surprised at how big the Roku Streambar sounds. It really fills my living room space quite well and gets plenty loud enough. Four 1.9” full range speakers fill the room with Dolby Audio compatible sound and on the inside, a centre channel is designed to play crisp, clean audio that makes dialogue easier to hear while the angled side-firing speakers are designed to spread sound across the room. The dialogue sounds great, there’s plenty of detail  to music and movies and and it sounds super overall.

Let’s talk about the bass.  I put on a some different bass heavy content and I was absolutely wowed by the depth, resonance and the boom in this box.

The Roku Streambar definitely sounds amazing for its size and it does exactly what it says it will; it amplifies the sound and improved the audio from my TV, while also providing streaming smarts, plus a bunch of different additional features, which I’ll get to. I also really liked its small size.

Roku Streambar, review, sound bar, audio, streaming How to get smart streaming using your sound bar

Roku Streambar’s built in streaming platform gives you access to hundreds if not thousands of channels and programs. I’ve long been a fan of the Roku system since it’s easy to understand and it’s well organized and simple. You can also voice search using your Roku remote, your Roku smartphone Remote app or you can also ask Alexa or Google to search using your voice.

Cast & share to your TV

With the Streambar you can cast, share or send video, music, and photos to your TV. Coming soon, Roku will be also adding Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit capabilities on some 4K Roku devices.

Other features of Roku Streambar

Night Listening

This feature lets you quiet ultra loud scenes if you’re watching TV while other are sleeping. It  lowers the volume on sound like crashes or explosions to a less offensive level.

Quiet loud commercials

The Roku Streambar can also quiet loud commercials with the Automatic Volume Leveling setting.

Roku Streambar, review, sound bar, audio, streamingVoice Control with Google & Alexa

You can control the Roku Streambar by asking  Amazon Alexa and/or Google Assistant devices.

To get this set up you just need to link your  digital assistant in the Google Home or Amazon Alexa app to the Roku Streambar. Then you have control over your TV power, sound, and streaming.

Remote control optionsRoku Streambar, review, sound bar, audio, streaming

You’ve got options for how to interact with included your Streambar: you can Roku remote or your smartphone as a remote. The physical remote is quite convenient for quick adjustments, and the on board voice search button is convenient. Using the Roku Remote app gives you a few additional features: one of my faves is Private Listening.

Private Listening on the Roku mobile app

Only on compatible Apple and Android devices, the Roku mobile app lets you use headphones connected to your phone or tablet, to listen to streaming TV programs. This feature means you can listen to the TV without disturbing others in the room, or avoid waking the kids if you’re watching late night movies. Or the kids can not bother YOU. I have a full video on how to do this here and I’ll make sure it’s linked up.
This feature works really well and provides a reliable way to listen to the TV with headphones, which also makes it good for seniors or those with hearing troubles.

Overall review: Roku Streambar

Overall the new Roku Streambar is a pretty great and convenient device. It’s got a lot of sound power and great overall audio quality, especially for such a compact sound bar, plus the bass was truly great. As far as I’m concerned, Roku Streambar has earned a place with living room TV set-up.  Downsides? It doesn’t have a convenient wall mount: the Roku Streambar uses M6 mounting sockets so you need to go buy a separate mounting kit if you do want to put it up on the wall.

The price is pretty sweet though. Coming in at just $189CAD, it’s probably the most wallet friendly way to get proper audio for your flatscreen TV. You can get the Roku Streambar at Best Buy or Amazon.

*A note about Affiliate Links: Occasionally I will include affiliate links in my reviews. I do this partly for convenience of the reader (since I’ll almost always include a link to the company website or similar anyway) in case you want to read more or purchase but I also may get a small commission from the click, which helps me keep the blog running. If you chose to use this link I thank you greatly for supporting the blog. There’s no obligation or cost to you for using this link.

 

Erin L

Erin L

I'm a journalist, tech blogger, writer, TV producer, silversmith& jewelry designer, foodie and world traveler. I blog, write for publications, and supply freelance writing services to Calgary, and the world.

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