Having improved the audio quality from the front of its TVs and soundbars, Roku today announced a software update that will allow its Roku Wireless Speakers to serve as rear surround speakers when used with a Roku Soundbar. The update will start pushing to customers in February.
Additionally, Roku announced that Walmart's "onn"-branded Roku Soundbar will get its own Roku Wireless Surround Speakers as well, coming to Walmart stores and online in February.
We got to take the updated speakers and soundbar for a test listen at CES in January and the result was a marked improvement over not having rear speakers. Combined with a soundbar in the front and a Roku subwoofer keeping up with the low end, you end up with a relatively affordable surround system — you're at $450 for the trifecta of soundbar, speakers and subwoofer — with the Roku experience baked in.
And that last part isn't to be overlooked. A big pain point of surround systems is ensuring the connection, and Roku has done an excellent job of the setup process so that even those without dual degrees in electrical engineering and computer science can connect and setup their wireless rear speakers, with everything handled on-screen.
How'd it all sound? Pretty darn good. We were in a fairly small hotel suite, though, with the rears placed right behind us. But everything worked as advertised, worked well, and was as simple to set up as can be.
Easy setup with improved sound.
These speakers are somewhat of an add-on for Roku TVs, but they're definitely not an afterthought. Setup is simple, and sound will be good enough for lots of folks. And now they work as rear speakers with a Roku Soundbar.
It's a Roku, and a soundbar
Ever wonder what it'd look (and sound) like if you crammed the entire Roku operating system into a soundbar? This is it, with full 4K support, HDR 10, and Dolby audio. (But not Dolby Vision or Atmos.)
The bottom end
A must-have for the sound bar
Life's too short to go through it without a subwoofer. The same is true for the Roku Smart Soundbar. This'll fill out the low end quite nicely.
Roku Adds Surround Sound Expandability to Roku Smart Soundbars; Walmart and Roku Introduce onn.™ ∙ Roku Wireless Surround Speakers
LOS GATOS, Calif. – January 29, 2020 – Roku, Inc. (Nasdaq: ROKU) today announced a Roku OS software update that will enable surround sound expansion of its Roku Smart Soundbars, making it easy for its customers to use Roku TV Wireless Speakers to expand their systems with room-filling multichannel sound for TV, movies and music. Walmart will also be expanding their onn.™ ∙ Roku surround system with the addition of onn.™ ∙ Roku Wireless Surround Speakers, expected on Walmart shelves and Walmart.com in February.
"We want to simplify home theater the same way we simplified streaming and we're taking a big step towards that vision by expanding our Roku Smart Soundbars to support surround sound capabilities," said Mark Ely, Vice President, Retail Product Strategy at Roku. "We want customers to be able to expand their system over time without having to spend a lot of money or run wires throughout the home. The Roku Smart Soundbar is an incredible two-in-one device that adds exceptional sound and powerful streaming to a TV and when Roku TV Wireless Speakers and a Roku Wireless Subwoofer are paired with the Smart Soundbar you get truly enveloping surround sound without breaking the bank."
"Customers are responding well to our onn. brand, which includes a Roku Smart Soundbar and subwoofer, because they love the quality and value of onn. products," says Ryan Peterson, vice president of consumer electronics for Walmart. "Roku is known for their quality and affordability as well, and we're looking forward to offering our customers a premium surround sound experience with the new onn. Roku Wireless Surround Speakers to add to their onn. ∙ Roku Smart Soundbar."
Roku Surround Sound
The Roku Smart Soundbar offers premium sound quality with crisp dialogue and dynamic bass, an easy-to-use 4K and HDR Roku streaming player built in, simple set up and a remote with TV power and volume buttons. With the Roku Wireless Subwoofer, adding heart-pounding bass to entertainment is easy and now Roku TV Wireless Speakers, or the new onn.™ ∙ Roku Wireless Surround Speakers, can be placed behind the sofa or in the back of a room to provide consumers with immersive multi-directional sound. Stereo content will sound better when adding rear speakers as the Roku Smart Soundbar sends sound to all speakers.
Roku Smart Soundbars support Dolby Audio™, which delivers an enhanced surround sound experience when streaming content from compatible platforms such as Netflix, the Apple TV app, Disney+ and more, as well as any input source.
Roku audio devices are built with expandability in mind so consumers can add to their home entertainment system over time. The devices can be set up in a matter of minutes by simply plugging them into power, pairing them to each other via very easy to understand menus and completing a quick sound check. Traditionally home theater can be hard to set up, but Roku aims to simplify home theater for consumers by making high quality products that provide access to endless entertainment, offer premium audio, connect to each other wirelessly and are all controlled by one remote.
Roku Surround Sound capability will be available as a Roku OS software update for all Roku Smart Soundbars and will begin rolling out to devices in February.
The onn.™ ∙ Roku Wireless Surround Speakers will be available for $149 in Walmart stores and online at Walmart.com mid-February to pair to the onn. ™ ∙ Roku Smart Soundbar and onn.™ ∙ Roku Wireless Subwoofer.
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