Roku Streambar review: No-brainer TV sound and streaming upgrade

Compact soundbars like Visio m-series 2.1 And this Yamaha SR-B20A Offer superior TV sound in a small package. 4K HDR streamer like Chromecast with Google TV And Roku Streaming Stick Plus Provide better streaming on any TV. So far, however, no product has combined the two into a single, do-it-all package for under $ 150. It does the Roku streambar, and does this job very well.

like

  • Compact, easy to install and inexpensive
  • Excellent communication reproduction
  • Tried and true stop experience

do not like it

  • Reduction in movies and music bass
  • Ability to limit sound

Streambar follows in last year’s footsteps Roku Smart Soundbar With a smaller size and more affordable price. Usually the biggest issue with hybrid devices is that they have compromised too much in some area, and while the streambar is not sonically perfect – the lack of bass is its biggest weakness – it makes for excellent sound for dialogue. Has the ability to fill a room that caters to its small footprint. Sure, it lacks a subwoofer, but it can still beat your TV’s speakers without one.

Then, a lot can be done Other soundbars. If you want better sound and do not require streaming, then Yamaha SR-B20 or Vizio V21 ($ 180 at Best Buy) There are better options. The Roku streambar is cheaper than either one, though, and makes perfect sense for those who don’t already have a good streamer that hooks up to their TVs. If you want to listen to your TV better, especially the tone, and can also enhance its streaming capabilities, this is an excellent value.

What is this

The Roku Streambar is a 2.0-channel soundbar with side-firing “wide” speakers, and the company says its onboard streaming capabilities are on par Roku Streaming Stick Plus. The system will process 5.1 audio, which means that you can upgrade the system at a later date Roku Wireless Subwoofer And Around the speakers or Walmart-exclusive ONN products.

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The 14-inch-wide, streambar (right) is dwarfed by this 55-inch TV.

Tips Clear Staff

The main differences between the streambar and the original Stop Smart soundbar are the size and shape. The smart soundbar is 32 inches wide while the streambar is more compact at 14 inches. Although I have not heard of both sides simultaneously, I can guarantee a much larger cabinet to produce more bass.

The streambar includes Roku’s voice remote, which allows you to issue commands by speaking in the clicker. The remote includes volume control and mute. Shortcuts at the bottom include Netflix, Disney Plus and Hulu.

The streambar offers a “simple volume mode” that “enhances the volume of sounds in low-loud commercials and optimizes sound for nighttime listening”, as well as adjusting bass levels – an external sub. Easy to control.

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Sara Tew / Tips Clear

Connectivity includes an optical digital input and HDMI Audio return channel Capacity. It is designed to connect to a TV and if you have other devices, such as a game console, you’ll need it Use your tv as a switcher. The soundbar is also equipped with Bluetooth and Spotify Connect, while Apple Airplay 2 Support is coming soon.

How does it perform

The team at Tips Clear has written at length about our experiences with Roku streamers, so I won’t pay attention to the bar’s streaming capabilities here. Suffice it to say that this is our favorite streaming platform and the streambar is similar. The menus were familiar and simple, the response speed and picture quality were excellent as expected and the voice remote was a joy to use as usual.

Instead I am going to focus on sound quality. The streambar is smaller than most soundbars, but I used to naturally perform with dialogue after plugging it in. There was no chest on male voices – a problem with some soundbar / subwoofer combos – and there was clarity in the dialogue that made the story easy to follow. I was listening to a couple Elac Uni-Fi 2.0 Speaker Immediately before the streambar and it was easy to imagine that I was still there. Given that vocal vocal is the priority of the Elac speaker, this is probably the most praise I could have given the Roku speaker.

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Streambar’s remote can turn your TV on and off.

Sara Tew / Tips Clear

Of course, there were almost certainly differences due to Roku’s small cabinet. Roku’s lack of bass or midbass was immediately apparent when I compared the streambar with the Yamaha SR-C20. With Mad Max: Stop Rage Road made the dialogue understandable, while it also appears to come from around the room. Roku’s side-firing speakers really help to create a larger image. Compared to the Yamaha speaker’s virtual: X software did an equally good job of delivering sound around my listening space, but when Max stretched its charger’s engines, Yamaha pulled ahead.

Roku is so small physically that the engine and onscreen explosion in Mad Max had little effect. Yamaha was able to better catch the roar of cars and the explosion that made Max fly into the air. Yamaha lacked the oomph that a dedicated sub can bring, but was better than Roku for those who want to see more from the news and dramas.

The lobby scene of The Matrix was next and Yamaha offered more of a balanced sonic mix, with less high frequency and more low-end. Roku, by contrast, looked a bit tart, especially with falling bullet casings. Changing the sound mode to bass boost helped a bit, but Yamaha was better.

Adding the $ 130 ONN subwoofer to Roku greatly helped. At the end I could hear the chugging bass score, the shotgun blasts had more impact and the falling shell casings were not as piercing or burning. If you are looking for an easy, affordable upgrade to the streambar, the ONN subwoofer is recommended.

With music Roku again lagged behind Yamaha for the same root cause – lack of bass response. There is not a dedicated music mode, which is a shame for those who want to use the streambar to listen to melodies from their phones or music apps like Spotify. Songs like Dox’s Cathedral of Mind sounded hollow on Roko despite excellent singing, and again Yamaha made the song fuller and more entertaining.

Should you buy it

If you want a real home cinema to be thrilled, you still need to spend more than $ 130 on a soundbar – although Roko’s ability to add subwoofers and rear-channel speakers gives you a clear upgrade if you want. Provides the path. The $ 130 Roku Streambar is for those who value small size and simplicity yet want a better sound And Streaming for their TV. It is easy to connect and install (a cable!), It is as easy to use and its streamer behaves like a simple rookie in every respect. And it’s a good thing.

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