Alongside the Roku Express 4K Plus, Roku Voice Remote Pro and the major OS 10 software update, Roku also just announced the Roku Streambar Pro soundbar.
This is an upgraded, full-size successor to the compact Roku Streambar, promising a similar combination of built-in streaming services and voice controls but with a new design and added Virtual Surround sound.
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Roku Streambar Pro design
Whereas the original Streambar was short and narrow, playing deeper into the clutter-saving aspects of combining a soundbar with a streaming device, the Streambar Pro spreads its drivers across a wider and more conventionally soundbar-shaped frame. It's very much in the style of the older Roku Smart Soundbar and could be a better fit for large TVs.
Its Roku Voice Remote has been upgraded, too: as well as including personal shortcut buttons, it now features a headphone jack. The Streambar Pro also comes bundled with Roku’s new in-ear headphones, so you can plug them into the remote for private listening.
As with the original Streambar’s remote, you’ll be able to control the OS by speaking voice commands into its integrated microphone, too.
Roku Streambar Pro features
The Streambar Pro’s big new trick is Virtual Surround support, a new feature introduced in Roku OS 10 (and which will be shared with the Smart Soundbar).
Roku hasn’t specified how exactly this works, but Virtual Surround seems a lot like the beamforming systems other soundbars use to produce a digital surround sound effect with only a single soundbar. Roku says it creates "spacious sound that moves around the room," so while it’s unlikely to rival Dolby Atmos for 3D immersion, Virtual Surround should bring more of a cinematic quality to your home theater without any additional speakers or cables.
Naturally, the Streambar Pro will once again feature built-in 4K video streaming capabilities. Expect it to also take advantage of the many new tools in Roku OS 10 as well, such as Instant Resume. If you’d previously stopped watching something partway through, this lets you jump back in as soon as you select the same channel.
There’s also the new Live TV Channel Guide, which will only be available in the U.S. at first but which provides a much greater degree of control over which channels you can hide or set as favorites.
Roku Streambar price and availability
The Roku Streambar Pro will cost $179 when it releases on the Roku site at the end of May, and other retailers in June. That’s $50 more than the Roku Streambar currently costs, though also a lot less than premium all-in-one soundbars like the Sonos Arc and Sonos Beam.
We'll be testing it as soon as possible and will give you our verdict then.
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