Why Roku's Smart Soundbar Is a Winner (But There Is a Big Catch)

March 28, 2020 Topic: Technology Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: SoundbarStreamingTechnologyRokuSubwoofer

Why Roku's Smart Soundbar Is a Winner (But There Is a Big Catch)

You might really want the subwoofer. 


If you’re in the market for a new streaming stick and a soundbar, why not take care of both with one purchase? That’s exactly what you’re getting with the Roku Smart Soundbar.

This particular device is on the cheaper end of the spectrum, but if you’re still using your TV’s built-in speakers, you are likely to be pleasantly surprised by its potency. With this product, Roku has indeed thrown down the gauntlet in letting the world know that it is more than just a streaming set-top box.


Setting you back only $180, the Roku Smart Soundbar, equipped with four 2.5-inch full-range drivers, offers dynamic and balanced sound with just enough bass so that you can fully enjoy those action-heavy films and video games. The speaker is relatively compact -- at 2.8 inches high and 32.2 inches wide -- and it features a cloth-wrapped front with a single-operation LED light.

After a quick listen, the overall sound doesn’t necessarily blow you away, but the soundbar is probably better suited for family movie night rather than streaming music. If the latter is your thing, you can probably achieve higher fidelity and breadth with a more expensive model.

If you do feel that the bass is lacking somewhat, there is a quick fix. Just get the 125-watt Roku Wireless Subwoofer, featuring a 10-inch monster driver, and you’ll surely be able to “feel” your flicks as well. Best of all, the subwoofer will only set you back another $180, but if you head over to Best Buy and get the bundle with both devices, you can save $60 on the overall price.

Don’t forget that the audio element is only a part of the full package, as you will also be effectively receiving a Roku 4K Streaming Stick. Just by itself, this will cost $40 or $50, so if you take that off the price you’re paying for the soundbar, it really ends up being a fantastic deal.

As we are all aware, streaming TV is taking over the home entertainment industry. From Netflix and Apple TV to Disney Plus and HBO, Roku’s soundbar will be able to upgrade your streaming experience on the cheap. The system includes 4K video and support for HDR10, which means that Netflix and Hulu will look amazing on a 4K HDR TV. Not many soundbars out there can guarantee that.

So, is it worth buying? If you want to take care of the streaming aspect of your entertainment while getting a soundbar that can hold its own, it’s definitely worth it to take a flyer at this price. It’ll be even a better deal, and your ears will appreciate it if you bundle it with the subwoofer.

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek and Arirang TV.