First issues first: If you happen to do not personal a Roku TV — a Roku-powered mannequin from the likes of TCL, Insignia or Sharp — do not even contemplate shopping for the Roku TV Wi-fi Audio system. They merely will not work. In any respect. Even you probably have a Roku streamer.

Loads of individuals do personal a Roku TV, nonetheless. The sensible TV platform is rising its market share yearly — three of the highest 5 best-selling TVs on Amazon are TCL Rokus, for instance. And you probably have considered one of them, the corporate’s new wi-fi audio system provide a painless manner to enhance audio high quality.

Dialog sounds higher than you will ever get out of your Roku TV’s built-in audio system, and music has far more snap. Since this can be a pair of precise stereo audio system, the picture is wider and extra involving than a sound bar. So getting these as an alternative of sound bar have to be a no brainer proper? Not precisely.

If motion pictures and TV are your factor, a sound bar — particularly one with a wi-fi sub — will nonetheless sound higher. The Roku audio system’ Achilles’ heel is bass response, and motion motion pictures are significantly affected with a flattened efficiency in comparison with a bar just like the crazy-cheap Vizio SB3621. This bass-shyness also can impinge on rock and digital music, however general the audio system nonetheless beat a bar for music, because of that wider separation.

The Roku wi-fi audio system should not the sound bar killer I hoped for, however they’re articulate, ridiculously simple to arrange, and very best for music-loving Roku TV homeowners.

The Roku TV Wi-fi audio system price $200, however now by Cyber Monday (Nov. 26) they’re accessible for $150 at Roku.com.

Fundamental voice through two remotes 

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Sarah Tew/Proinertech

Roku introduced its latest multiroom system — Roku Join — at CES 2018. The introduced TCL Roku Sensible Sound bar might as properly be vaporware, and Roku’s first audio system do not even bear the “Join” badge. However these audio system are already completely different from each different multiroom speaker in that they are TV-based, and use the streaming apps and audio on a Roku TV quite than in your cellphone.

I suppose you may name these $200 stereo audio system “sensible” as a result of you possibly can function them through voice. However you possibly can’t simply discuss out loud such as you would with an Alexa or Google Assistant speaker (“Hey, Roku”). As a substitute you will converse into one of many included distant controls.

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Sarah Tew/Proinertech

The corporate contains the tabletop Contact distant and an up to date model of your common Roku TV controller, and each have a microphone button. The Roku Contact distant, accessible for $30 by itself, is bizarre. Bodily it jogged my memory of a extra absolutely featured model of an Amazon sprint button. It is obtained a bunch of controls to command the audio system and TV, essentially the most helpful being the quantity and the TV energy management. The 2 shortcut buttons aren’t used to maintain “favorites” as you may anticipate, however “favourite voice searches.” In my expertise it would not work that properly for any however essentially the most rudimentary of searches. 

Roku says the second clicker is designed for use round the home, exterior the lounge, and it’s helpful to have the ability to flip off the TV from throughout the home. Its voice button is touch-to-talk and the mic is designed to select up your voice from a tabletop, quite than requiring you to carry it as much as your mouth.

Does the TV have to be on to make use of this speaker for music? Sure and no. If you happen to use Bluetooth, then no, however I discovered if I used Spotify Join the TV would come on robotically. Roku says activating Quick TV Begin ought to stop the display screen from approaching and you may press the star button to show the display screen off if unneeded.

Voice choices and search are restricted to leisure, similar to different Roku gadgets. You’ll be able to ask for video content material from the principle Roku channels or music through iHeartRadio, Pandora and TuneIn by voice. I discovered that the microphone can solely be used for essentially the most primary searches comparable to artist radio, as usually requesting particular person tracks did not work. With the most recent replace the audio system and TV at the moment are additionally Spotify Join suitable.

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