Review Roku Smart Soundbar & Wireless Subwoofer

hey everybody you flan Seidman we’re taking a look today at a new device from Roku this is their sound bar they call it the smart sound bar and what it’s got is a full-blown Roku built inside of it so all you have to do is connect this up to your television and you get better sound and a Roku that can get most of the major streaming services delivered to you so that’s pretty cool and beneath it is their new sub woofer and this connects wirelessly to the sound bar to add a little more kick to the audio so we’re going to take a closer look at this combo here in just a second now I do want to let you know in the interest of full disclosure if this came in free of charge from

Roku both devices all of the opinions you’re about to hear are my own but nobody is paying for this video nor is anyone reviewing it or approving it before it gets uploaded so let’s get into it now and see what this combo is all about so let’s take a closer look now at the hardware most Roku devices fall into the budget range of cost and this one is no exception so the sound bar itself here cost 180 dollars and again that includes the Roku that is built inside of it they’re selling the wireless subwoofer for the same price another hundred and eighty dollars but right now there is a bundle offer at some retailers where you can get both for 300 dollars total so if you are looking to get the full set here 300 bucks looks to be the current price point and it’s not a bad deal for what it is especially when you look at other sound bars that are out there but one thing to note on this is that this is not a surround sound system so you’re not going to get at most audio you’re also not getting basic Dolby Surround out of this either it is strictly a stereo speaker with an added subwoofer now inside of the sound bar are four two and a half inch full range speakers I believe they are drivers so you have two on this side two on the other side they sound good they’re really loud a good range of sound I do wish the base was punchy or on the sound bar but I

guess that’s why you would buy the subwoofer to add a little bit more oomph to it so it’s certainly going to sound better than your TV speakers a lot better the thing that impressed me the was the quality of dialogue much crisper much easier to hear and understand so if you find yourself having issues hearing your TV all the time this will certainly solve that problem completely I can’t really portray to you how it sounds in a YouTube video because everyone is listening to this on their own set of speakers but I can say it’s a definite improvement over whatever your TV has built inside of it and if you’re in the market for this there’s a good chance that you are using a pretty low-cost TV with some pretty lousy speakers this will definitely be an enhancement although I do wish it had a little bit more base punch on the bar itself but of course you can resolve that by getting the subwoofer into the mix I do find though I’m missing surround sound when I’m playing with this because this is just stereo there’s nothing coming behind you it’s not doing anything to simulate audio coming from behind you so if you’ve ever played around with a surround sound system this is going to feel lacking to you I do wish they had some additional speakers you could pair up to it so you could have some speakers in the back typically a surround

sound system involves at its simplest level stereo speakers a center channel speaker and two speakers in the back plus the subwoofer again this is just stereo so everything’s coming out in front and what will happen is is that a lot of the audio will get mixed into these two speakers so things that might typically be behind you are going to be a lot of noise coming out of the front at you not bad but just a little different than what I would prefer so just be prepared again it’s not a surround sound system and there will be other sound bar kits that offer you the full package of rear speakers plus the front-facing audio but this does have a Roku built inside that those don’t have let’s take a look at the connections on the back now roku recommends that you connect this sound bar to a TV equipped with HDMI a RC and you will know that you have a TV with a RC because they typically label one of the input ports on your television with that designation a RC stands for Audio Return Channel and what that will do is channel all of the audio coming out of your TV through the sound bar so if you have a game console connected to it for example on a different HDMI port it will fire the audio through the AR C port back to the sound bar and that port is also how the Roku will connect to your television now if your TV lacks a RC they’ve included an optical input this is not an output but an input and they give you the cable in the Box to connect it up with that so what you would do is connect it to the optical port on your television to get the audio out of the

TV into the sound bar if you lack either one of those options then this will only give you sound when it’s in Roku mode because there’s no other input beyond the HDMI and the optical so just keep that in mind I did connect it up to a computer monitor a little bit earlier and the sound was fine out of the sound bar here but of course any other inputs on that monitor will not output to here so just keep that in mind this will be probably less flexible than a regular speaker system or a receiver set that you might be looking at it’s very much tied in with that a RC port on there there’s also a USB port and you can use this for playing back your own media files so you could take a USB hard drive or a USB stick and play lossless FLAC audio for example mp3 files all the popular audio formats are supported it also supports h.264 and h.265 video so if you have video that you shot with your phone or perhaps with a camcorder or something else that you’ve downloaded you can all play that stuff on here through that USB port there now I am disappointed though that it doesn’t include an Ethernet jack on it because it does support 4k video and a lot of streaming services now are pushing a good amount of bandwidth to deliver that video to you and it’s always best to have a very reliable connection to make it happen so this is Wi-Fi only but it does have support for wireless AC so at least you’ll get the faster wireless support on here and I guess because it’s not sitting behind

your television but likely out in the open you’ll probably get a better signal but nonetheless having an Ethernet option would have been nice you have two mounting screws for putting it on the wall if you want the dimensions on this one are 2 point 8 inches high that’s about 7 centimeters it is 32 point 2 inches long that’s just under 82 centimeters and then it’s three point nine inches deep that’s just under 10 centimeters so do your math and figure out what you got 4 dimensions there I looked at a few TVs in my house and it was able to sit comfortably underneath all of those speaking of televisions this supports 4k HD are but just HD are 10 not Dolby vision or 10 Plus but it will support 60 Hertz at 4k and we were able to play some YouTube video a little bit earlier at that framerate and it all worked fine with a good Wi-Fi signal connected let me hook this thing up real quick and just show you what the roku interface looks like we’re not going to spend all that much time on this because we just covered it in a video the other day but there are a few things that are different in the interface that i wanted to show you so let’s hook it up and have a look alright so we’ve got our sound bar hooked up right now I didn’t show you where the power cable connected this is where it connects to it’s got an angled power adapter so you’ll have the HDMI cable and the power cable pretty much coming out of the same place here so let’s take a look at just a couple of the audio settings that you have on here there really isn’t much to adjust even when you have the subwoofer connected so if you go over to the audio section here of the Roku settings what you’ll have are options for a menu volume

the sound mode which is something you won’t see on a typical Roku device and I did try to turn on this bass boost mode before I started using the subwoofer it really didn’t make that much of a difference so I would just leave it on normal what you can do if you’re getting too much bass you can either reduce it or do a complete reduction of bass if you don’t want any at all but my advice would be to leave it on normal and then add in the subwoofer if you really want to get the better audio out of the system here they do have some other options here to level out the audio so if there are TV commercials that are coming on that are too loud it’ll kind of smooth everything out there’s also a night mode which will set a maximum threshold if your kids like to stay up late watching TV you could turn it on night mode and it won’t get too loud there’s also some adjustments here to adjust the clarity of speech I found it sounded fine with everything off but if you need that you’ve got that option here and that’s pretty much it so there’s not a lot of ability to adjust some of the audio here or balance things out it’s just going to give you some very basic settings for making those adjustments and then for the Roku system overall I think it’s a great way to get a lot of content we covered this already but one of the things that I

really like about Roku is that they are not always driving you to things that cost money they’ve got a great featured free curation section here that brings in free content from a number of different sources so there is always something decent to watch on here and you don’t have to usually subscribe to anything to get entertained by a Roku device and this is one thing that I think they do quite well partly because they’re not making any content themselves so they’re not trying to push you to one source versus the other and like other Roku devices the included remote control can control your television so you can turn on and off the TV there’s also a way to have it automatically switch the TV into the Roku xinput so you don’t have to futz around with too many buttons there you’ve got some volume controls here on the side of the remote along with a mute button and then you can do voice searches with this as well so I could push the button down Star Trek The Next Generation and then what it will do is go out and find all of the different places where I can watch the show and the nice thing is is that they’re not pushing you to one service over the other they show you where the show is across many different services and you can choose which one you want to watch all good stuff so let’s take a closer look now at the subwoofer and getting that set up it was a very easy process I just plugged it into the wall and then went into the menu to pair it up there was nothing to push on the subwoofer the sound bar found it immediately and that was it very easy to get it up and running let’s take a closer look at its hardware so here is the subwoofer it stands at about a foot tall it’s about 30

centimeters give or take on the bottom it’s got a pretty decent sized sub a 10 inch sub woofer the power output on this is 250 watt speak 125 RMS not bad for what you’re getting here for a low-end device and it sounds really nice when paired up with the sound bar I believe the subwoofer is also compatible with Roku TVs that have the external speakers paired with them it won’t work on its own with one of the Roku TVs and it will also of course work with the sound bar which i think is probably the ideal pairing but that is it it doesn’t work with anything else there are no other inputs there are no controls to adjust the frequency response for example they rate their frequency response here at 40 to 200 Hertz so this is a very much a single-purpose subwoofer that’s not compatible with anything else now roku says you’ll get about 30 feet of range on this so it should work in most living rooms i tried it in a few rooms throughout the house and it was able to pair up and work very nicely with all the different scenarios i threw at it so pretty simple device i really wish there was more compatibility or at least some basic inputs on the back so you could repurpose it later speakers do last a long time it will undoubtedly outlast the sound bar it’s paired with but unfortunately that is all you’re gonna get here so i’ll do it for this look at the roku sound bar and subwoofer i think it’s a pretty good value overall it’s

nice to get a very functional TV streaming box built right into the sound bar and i think this is going to be very attractive for a lot of people that want to improve their TV audio experience and also want to get a streaming box you get everything included in here and the compatibility is really really good with most of the major streaming platforms that are out there so that is a good thing i do wish it had a surround sound option because i do like to get that enveloping audio and it’s a very nice way to experience a lot of these movies we see that on a lot of lower end smart speakers that are out there so i would love to see them expand this product out a bit to offer that to people i having a pair of wireless rear speakers would be killer for something like this and i think they could probably make it happen so that’s my only real wish list for this I think if you’re looking for a stereo sound bar this is a very good value and the subwoofer adds to the experience as well until next time this is LAN Simon thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by the lon TV supporters including gold level supporters the four guys with quarters podcast Chris allegretto Tom Albrecht Brian Parker in Cali an Kumar if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to LAN TV slash support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe

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