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Roku Streambar Professional assessment: A stable, Roku-enabled improve in your TV


Roku has been slowly increasing its line of inexpensive soundbars, most just lately with final 12 months’s compact, “fairly good” Streambar, and now comes the $180 Streambar Professional, the successor to 2019’s Sensible Soundbar. Whereas none of Roku’s soundbars will enchantment to audiophiles, they’re good for on a regular basis viewers seeking to improve their TV’s tinny audio with out breaking the financial institution, and the two.0-channel Streambar Professional ups the ante with surprisingly stable sound and a brand new digital encompass mode. 

The Streambar Professional’s environment friendly audio efficiency is already a powerful promoting level, however the actual draw is an built-in Roku streaming participant with 4K HDR playback, to not point out Alexa, Google Assistant, HomeKit, and AirPlay 2 help. There’s additionally the vaunted Roku distant full with a microphone for voice instructions and search.

This assessment is a part of TechHive’s protection of the perfect soundbars. Click on that hyperlink to learn opinions of competing merchandise, together with a purchaser’s information to the options you must take into account when buying.

The Streambar Professional has its limitations, after all. It’s in any other case stable sound is a tad weak on high-end element, and it falters a bit in the case of music playback. And whilst you can improve the Streambar Professional with Roku’s wi-fi speaker pair and subwoofer, doing so vaults you right into a value vary with different soundbars with significantly better audio high quality. Nonetheless, we are speaking a few $180 soundbar-plus-streamer right here, so so long as you retain your expectations in line, you received’t be disillusioned.

Specs

The Roku Streambar Professional comes geared up with 4 1.9-inch full-range drivers that provide the entrance and proper channels, which mix to create a “phantom” middle channel for dialog. The soundbar doesn’t include woofers or passive radiators for low-frequency results, however as I’ll describe in a bit, the Streambar Professional manages to crank out a good quantity of bass with out them.

Whereas the Streambar Professional helps Dolby Audio, it doesn’t supply any object-based 3D sound modes akin to Dolby Atmos or DTS:X, though that will be asking a variety of a price range soundbar that already has a built-in streaming participant. That mentioned, the Streambar Professional does mark Roku’s first soundbar with a digital encompass mode, which (in accordance with Roku) delivers a “wealthy and immersive sound expertise” with out bodily encompass audio system. Digital encompass processing by no means sounds pretty much as good as precise satellite tv for pc audio system, however they are often efficient at increasing the soundstage of an in any other case slim soundbar whereas including a way of ambiance. Preserve studying for my impressions of the Streambar Professional’s digital encompass mode.

(By the way, Roku’s older Sensible Streambar may also be getting the brand new digital encompass mode by way of a firmware replace. The current Streambar received’t be getting the replace, with Roku saying that the Streambar’s angled entrance drivers already supply “that immersive expertise.”)

If you happen to’re keen to spend some more cash, you possibly can simply improve the Streambar Professional to a full-on 5.1-channel system by including the Roku Wi-fi Subwoofer ($180) and Roku Wi-fi Audio system ($150 for a pair). Doing so, nevertheless, brings the general price as much as $510, at which level the Streambar Professional will probably be outshined by such sonic performers as Vizio’s Dolby Atmos-enabled M512a-H6. Then once more, the Vizio soundbar doesn’t embrace its personal streaming participant, a lot much less AirPlay 2 help.

Measuring 14 x 4.2 x 2.4 inches (WxDxH) and weighing in at a mere 2.4 kilos, the Streambar Professional is comparatively compact as price range soundbars go, and was brief sufficient to sit down in entrance of my low-slung 55-inch LG C9 OLED TV whereas barely grazing the underside of the display. If you want, you can even mount the Streambar Professional underneath your wall-mounted TV, though you’ll must pony up further for mounting {hardware}.



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