Through a coming software update, Roku will expand the capabilities of its soundbar to allow users to wirelessly connect rear speakers for surround sound.
Roku surround sound
Roku pushes further into TV audio by making its wireless speakers more capable. By adding the Roku 'smart soundbar' to any TV (via HDMI), a user can access the Roku streaming platform and now also expand the audio system with wireless speakers.
- "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, VP of Retail Product Strategy, 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."
The Roku soundbar supports 4K HDR video streaming in apps as well as audio in up to Dolby Digital, but not more recent object-based audio formats such as Dolby Atmos. Users can also add a wireless subwoofer ($180) to the system.
In addition, the software update will include new sound settings, including a setting to let music play in across all speakers.
Roku is positioning its solution as an "easy-to-use" and all-in one solution for any TV, comparing it to a traditional home theater solution that can "be hard to set up". Roku's wireless audio platform is based on technology from Dynastrom that Roku acquired in 2017. Through its technology it is expanding its business and challenging companies like Sonos.
- "We are investing significantly into a massive opportunity," Steve Louden, CFO, Roku, said referring to the Dynastrom acquisition in 2017.
Roku's surround sound capability will be available following a software update that will roll out in February. The speakers are available in the US and Canada but not Roku's European markets. The soundbar is available for $180 while the wireless rear speakers carries a list price of $200. Walmart will sell a cheaper version (onn Roku) with a simpler remote.
- Source: Roku