Roku's New Wireless Speakers Seamlessly Sync With Your Roku TV, Abandon Soundbar Format
Roku’s primary mission is to allow users to quickly and seamlessly add high-quality wireless speakers to their Roku-powered TV. Roku says that Roku Connect allows its product to be uniquely positioned in the market as it can "optimize sound for the picture and ensure audio video sync".
Rather than taking on the soundbar format, the Roku TV Wireless Speakers instead come as a pair of black towers (similar in design to the Sonos One). These speakers won't take the place of a high-end audio setup that audiophiles crave, but they should provide far superior sound than what's available built-in on typical smart TVs these days.
However, there is a big caveat to Roku's latest and greatest consumer hardware release: it will only work on Roku TVs. That means that you will be limited to manufacturers like TCL, Toshiba, and Insignia that have jumped on the Roku TV bandwagon. TCL-branded Roku TVs in particular have become popular in recent years with consumers for their performance, quality and value pricing.
This Roku TV exclusivity also means that those with Roku settop boxes -- including the current family of 4K streamers -- aren't supported. That's a bummer for those that would have otherwise gravitated toward the product.
The speakers support Bluetooth, so you can wireless stream from your smartphone or tablet. However, unlike many speaker products launching these days, they do not have built-in far-field microphones or an integrated digital assistant (a la Alexa or the Google Assistant). However, the speakers do ship with a Roku Voice remote (which would replace your TV's remote) and a secondary Roku Touch tabletop remote that you can place in another room. The latter includes programmable buttons and also supports voice control.
The Roku TV Wireless speakers are available for preorder right now, and are priced at $149.99 through July 23rd. From July 24th through October 15th, they will be priced at $179.99. When it finally launches on October 16th, it will be priced at $199.99.