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Roku Streambar builds in 4K HDR streaming, 'wide' sound for $130

It's Roku's simplest, most affordable way to upgrade the sound and streaming capabilities of an existing TV.

Ty Pendlebury Editor
Ty Pendlebury is a journalism graduate of RMIT Melbourne, and has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
Expertise Ty has worked for radio, print, and online publications, and has been writing about home entertainment since 2004. He majored in Cinema Studies when studying at RMIT. He is an avid record collector and streaming music enthusiast. Credentials
  • Ty was nominated for Best New Journalist at the Australian IT Journalism awards, but he has only ever won one thing. As a youth, he was awarded a free session for the photography studio at a local supermarket.
Ty Pendlebury
2 min read

At 14 inches wide the Roku Streambar is much more compact that a typical soundbar. 


Just when we thought hybrid soundbar-streamers couldn't get any cheaper than the $180  Roku Smart Soundbar , the company says, "hold my beer." The new Roku Streambar lowers the price of entry to $130 (£129 or about AU$230) and still manages to pack in some sophisticated features for the money.

As its name suggests, the Streambar is a soundbar with a full-cream 4K HDR streamer built-in. Roku says its streaming capabilities are equivalent to the $50 Roku Streaming Stick Plus. It's also a 2.0-channel soundbar with side-firing "wide" speakers. The system will process 5.1 audio, which enables you to add Roku's wireless subwoofer or surround speakers (or both) for a full-fledged wireless surround system (total cost: $450).

The biggest difference between the Streambar and the Smart Soundbar is the bars' size and shape. While the Smart Soundbar is 32 inches wide, the Streambar is much more compact at 14 inches. Both bars include Roku's voice remote, which lets you issue commands by speaking into the clicker, control volume and turn the TV on and off.

The Streambar offers "simple volume modes" which "lower loud commercials, boost the volume of voices and optimize the sound for night listening" according to the company's press materials. In addition to  Apple  AirPlay 2 support, which is coming soon, the Streambar is equipped with Bluetooth and Spotify Connect.


Physical connectivity on the Streambar is standard for inexpensive soundbars: an optical digital input and HDMI with audio return channel capability. It's designed to connect to a TV and if you have other devices, such as a game console, you'll need to use your TV as a switcher.

The only real competition is "dumb" soundbars, such as the Vizio M-Series All-in-One 2.1 Soundbar or the Yamaha SR-B20A, in the Streambar's price range. For that reason alone the combination of sound and streaming makes the Streambar an attractive proposition, and for many people it's a better value than the original $180 Smart Soundbar. The Streambar will probably suit smaller TVs better but I believe that's where hybrid systems are most at home anyway: They're a way to "undumb" older, less expensive TVs, especially in secondary rooms.

The Roku Streambar, and the new Roku Ultra, will be available for preorder at Roku.com starting today and are expected to ship in October.

Roku's 2020 audio lineup

PriceSize (inches WxH)4K HDR streaming built-inVoice remote with TV controlRequires another Roku device
Streambar (new for 2020) $13014x2.4YesYesNo
Smart Soundbar $18032.2x2.8YesYesNo
Wireless speakers $150 (pair)7.7x4.9 (each)NoYesRoku TV or soundbar
Wireless subwoofer $18011.8x11.8NoNoRoku TV or soundbar