TCL Roku Smart Soundbar rocks Roku's new audio streaming system

The TCL Roku Smart Soundbar will be the first speaker to use the company's newest competitor to Google Chromecast and Sonos.

Ty Pendlebury Editor
Ty Pendlebury 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 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

Over 10 years ago, Roku was a major competitor to Sonos when it came to the whole-home music business, but it quickly pivoted to become the no. 1 video-streaming brand instead. Now, Roku wants back in to multiroom, and TCL is the first company that wants to help do it.

The TCL Roku Smart Soundbar may be a mouthful of marbles to pronounce but it offers some intriguing new features. Firstly, the company's new Alto flagship includes the Roku OS onboard, and secondly, it uses the new Roku Connect system to link to other AV devices as well as enable voice controls via the Roku Entertainment Assistant. TCL says though the bar can be paired with any TV, it works best with a Roku TV as it enables voice and audio capabilities on the television itself.

Roku's new Whole Home Entertainment Licensing program, as featured in the TCL, appears to be an answer to other voice assistant systems but especially Google Home as it likewise blends multiroom streaming with a smart speaker.

The TCL Roku Smart Soundbar will be available in late 2018, with pricing to be announced.

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