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Roku Streambar is a media streaming field not like some other, powering up your property leisure expertise with each content material and audio. A wonderful media streamer, Roku Streambar will not be the world’s greatest soundbar – however it’s the smartest.
It is a frequent mistake to imagine units corresponding to this are helpful just for turning dumb TVs sensible, with the Streambar in a position to considerably enhance the viewing expertise on even the newest and greatest televisions. Roku can be now the one platform that works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Siri, making controlling all that media energy a breeze.
This can be a 4K HDR media streaming field that may additionally upscale content material from 720p and 1080p decision. By its user-friendly software program interface it locations all the foremost movie-streaming platforms, on-demand and catch-up TV channels, on-line video and audio subscription providers only a click on away, simplying discovering the content material you wish to watch and providing up helpful suggestions for when you do not have already got one thing in thoughts.
Now with audio system and Dolby Audio sound processing built-in, the content material does not simply look nice nevertheless it sounds good, too.
Design & Construct
If one thing’s occurring present within the entrance room, particularly sitting beneath what could also be the costliest piece of tech in the home, it must look good. The Roku Streambar does not disappoint.
Though that is the primary such gadget we have seen within the UK, Roku final yr launched the Wi-fi Audio system and Good Soundbar within the States. This can be a extra refined and extra compact model (that can be now accessible within the US, Canada and Mexico). And after we say extra compact, it truly is – in comparison with different soundbars this 35x6cm field is positively dinky.
Because the identify suggests it’s a bar, and as such is an elongated gadget that slopes spherical on the left and proper ends permitting sound to fireplace out in any respect angles. This isn’t an oblong block, nonetheless, and its clean curved edges will assist it mix into any house atmosphere.
Its meshed material entrance is damaged solely by a small and unobtrusive Roku brand, whereas a blue LED shines from beneath when the gadget is powered on. The highest floor is matte black, neither casting distracting reflections nor leaving messy fingerprints in sight.
All ports are hidden out of sight on the again, stopping messy cabling from being on present, and you may wall-mount it if desired utilizing two M6 connections. There’s additionally a DC energy jack right here, with the Streambar requiring mains energy not like different units within the Roku household, however the cable is usefully lengthy.
You may additionally discover HDMI-ARC, USB 2.0, an optical digital audio (Toslink) port and a reset button. There isn’t any different audio inputs/outputs, nor a headphone jack, however you may get round this utilizing the cell app and a pair of earphones related to your smartphone.
The Streambar connects to the net wirelessly, however you possibly can as an alternative plug in a USB Ethernet adaptor; in any other case this USB port is helpful for enjoying media saved on a USB drive.
A compact distant management is equipped within the field. Usefully, this will management your TV’s energy and quantity, and it additionally helps voice management. It has shortcut buttons for fast entry to Netflix, Google Play Motion pictures & TV, Rakuten TV and Spotify, however sadly these are usually not customisable.
The format mimics that of the cell app, and that of the remotes equipped with different Roku streamers, so it ought to really feel acquainted for present customers.
Organising the Roku Streambar
Setup is straightforward, supplied you’ve a comparatively trendy TV. In contrast to different Rokus within the vary, the Streambar requires an HDMI-ARC port that helps CEC (Shopper Electronics Management), a know-how that allows the Roku distant to additionally management your TV’s energy and quantity settings.
In case your TV is simply too outdated to be geared up with HDMI-ARC, you should use an unusual HDMI port supplied that you just additionally join the equipped S/PDIF Toslink cable – however some TVs could also be too outdated even to characteristic this optical connection. It is important that you just examine the ports on the again of your TV before you purchase the Roku Streambar, as a result of with out them it isn’t a lot use to anybody.
Having related the required cables, you are prompted to attach the Streambar to Wi-Fi, enable it to obtain software program updates, after which signal into an present (or create a brand new) Roku account. If you happen to’ve ever used a Roku gadget earlier than, you will know that this account is critical so that you can take pleasure in a constant person expertise throughout all signed in units, permitting you so as to add and handle streaming channels, subscriptions and extra.
A fast tutorial later and also you’re able to go, controlling the Streambar both utilizing the equipped distant management or the free Roku cell app. You should use voice management by tapping and holding the button sporting a magnifying glass icon.
The interface is similar to that of some other Roku streaming gadget, along with your default Residence display screen itemizing any streaming channels you’ve put in (for instance Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube and BBC Information). You may scroll down the menu on the left to entry choices for My Feed, Search, Streaming Channels and Settings.
My Feed is in essence a content material suggestion service that allows you to discover TV reveals and flicks that you would be able to watch proper now or are coming quickly. With greater than 150,000 TV reveals and flicks on supply right here, one thing that may assist to slender down the selection is welcome.
The Search possibility is, for my part, one of the vital helpful software program options of the Roku platform. It helps you to seek for specific content material – maybe the identify of a movie or an actor – throughout all streaming channels, displaying you at a look what providers supply the film or present and the way a lot it should price you if it isn’t included with an present subscription.
For somebody who subscribes to Netflix, Amazon Prime, Now TV and Disney+, in addition to utilizing varied catch-up providers, that is an absolute god-send for that second if you wish to watch a specific present and may’t bear in mind on which service it’s supplied.
Streaming Channels is the place so as to add new providers, and although I’ve talked so much about motion pictures and TV content material providers there’s additionally quite a lot of audio providers accessible. Given the huge variety of channels you might add to Roku, it is a lot preferable to have the ability to choose solely those you need than need to scroll by means of countless menus of channels you do not use with a purpose to discover what you want.
Final up, Settings. As soon as once more, this can be very acquainted to present Roku customers, however there’s not less than one new entry alongside the assorted system, community and show choices: Apple AirPlay and HomeKit. Roku lately introduced that it’s including AirPlay and HomeKit assist to its whole line-up, making it the one platform of its sort to assist Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Siri.
You may stream content material to the Streambar from an Apple gadget over AirPlay (Bluetooth 5.Zero streaming can be supported), and management the Roku utilizing an Apple gadget.
With the software program largely the identical, then, the foremost distinction between this Roku Streambar and different units within the household is its audio credentials.
There are actually 4 fashions within the Roku line-up for UK customers: alongside the Streambar there’s additionally the Roku Specific, Roku Premiere and Roku Streaming Stick+ (you possibly can even purchase a full-blown Roku TV). All serve up content material (the Specific at HD reasonably than 4K decision, additionally missing HDR), however solely the Streambar can moreover cater to your audio wants.
Hid contained in the field are 4 high-excursion 1.9in full-range drivers, with two dealing with ahead for readability and two angled to the aspect to assist fill the room and create a extra immersive expertise. These are paired with Dolby Audio processing and exact digital amplifiers to offer cinematic sound.
This audio setup is sort of definitely higher than the audio system constructed into your present tv, and even for those who’re already utilizing a soundbar – probably a greater soundbar – to enhance audio high quality it will not have the streaming smarts of the Roku.
Whereas watching any content material you possibly can faucet the * button on the distant to entry Sound settings. It is right here that you will discover a Night time mode that enhances quiet scenes and quietens loud scenes, a Leveling mode that quietens loud adverts, and the flexibility to tweak Speech Readability.
We had been impressed with the Roku’s sound high quality, which was constant wherever we sat within the room. There’s a time and a spot for ramping up the bass, relying on what content material you are desirous to stream, so the flexibility to regulate that is particularly welcome. That stated, the Roku Streambar nonetheless is not as bassy as some competing soundbars even when the setting is boosted.
(For a extra detailed analysis of the Roku Streambar’s audio functionality, see Tech Advisor’s sister website TechHive.)
Streaming video can be of top quality, with Roku constructing in assist for 4K and HDR content material (although it does not assist Dolby Imaginative and prescient), with upscaling supported from 720p and 1080p. Naturally your final viewing expertise can be formed by the specs of your TV and of the streaming high quality of the media itself.
The place to purchase Roku Streambar
Roku Streambar prices £129.99 (US$129.99), making it a barely dear media-streaming field, however an eminently inexpensive soundbar. For the performance it gives, we predict it gives wonderful worth.
You should purchase Roku Streambar direct from Roku, or by way of Amazon, Argos, Currys, Very or Littlewoods.
Roku Streambar is arguably one of the best media streamer on the market – and in addition a succesful soundbar, just about distinctive in its capability to cater to each home-entertainment wants (see additionally: Anker Nebula Soundbar). It is super-easy to make use of, and simplifies unearthing one of the best content material. Unbelievable worth for cash makes this a no brainer: an ideal purchase for all however the pickiest audiophiles.
Roku Streambar: Specs
Audio: 4x 1.9in full-range drivers, Dolby Audio
TV assist: HDTVs as much as 1080p (upscaling from 720p), 4K UHD TVs as much as 2160p @60fps (upscaling from 720p and 1080p), 4K UHD HDR TVs with assist for HDR10 and HLG, 4K TVs should assist HDMI enter with HDCP 2.2
Voice management: Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri coming by year-end
Networking: Twin-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO, wired ethernet requires USB adapter, Bluetooth
Mount: 2x M6 8mm threaded mounting sockets
Energy: 100-240V, 50-60Hz AC, 1A