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Roku Streambar Pro brings virtual surround, headphone remote to streaming soundbar hybrid

The $180 Roku Streambar Pro is basically the same as the original Smart Soundbar, but now comes with an upgraded voice remote.

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- 01:23
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Roku

Roku has rebranded its existing Smart Soundbar as the Streambar Pro for the same $180 price, but it now includes an upgraded voice remote. The Streambar Pro is a hybrid device: a 4K HDR streamer, similar to the Streaming Stick Plus, built into a soundbar. The improved remote comes with Roku headphones for private listening, one of our favorite features that automatically mutes the speaker when you want to use headphones. The other enhancement is a new virtual surround feature which the company says "creates spacious sound that moves around the room for an enhanced audio experience." 

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The new Roku Streambar Pro with headphone remote.

Roku

The soundbar itself is identical to the original Smart Soundbar, according to Roku. It features the same four-driver speaker array, Bluetooth capability and HDMI ARC input. It also offers AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect capability for music streaming.

I liked the original when I reviewed it a year ago, but the cheaper, smaller $130 Roku Streambar is a better value for most people. The addition of these new features makes the $50 upsell seem only a tiny bit more reasonable on paper, so that virtual surround had better rock!

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Owners of the existing Smart Soundbar will get an automatic upgrade with the forthcoming Roku OS 10 that adds virtual surround, but will need to buy the remote separately -- or get the even better, new Roku Voice Remote Pro.

The Roku Streambar Pro will be available on Roku.com at the end of May and at major retailers in June, following the release of the new Roku Express 4K Plus ($40). Look for my review then.