Roku's wireless speakers are just for its TVs

17 July, 2018, 00:55 | Author: Cecil Buchanan
  • Roku is launching new wireless speakers to go with Roku TVs. The speakers shipping in late October can play music streamed from Bluetooth devices too

One cool element of the Roku Wireless Speakers is that the system comes with two voice remotes: a conventional-looking RF Roku remote, plus a puck-shaped tabletop remote (shown, above.) The company says the latter can be placed in nearby rooms when you're not sitting in front of the TV. Roku said users will also be able to use the speakers to listen to music from iTunes or Spotify, with the idea being that Roku wants you to be able to replace your entire audio setup. They're black and fairly nondescript, save for a Roku logo up top. One is a Roku TV voice remote that can replace the infrared-only remote included with some Roku TVs, allowing control without direct line of sight and enabling voice search through the remote instead of relying on the Roku app. It has a number of buttons on its top that can play, pause, and skip content playing from your Roku TV, and some of those buttons are customizable so you can program your favorite presets to them.

Created to work exclusively with Roku TVs, the new wireless speakers are meant to address a growing consumer problem.

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"Optimized" in this sense refers to the software-improved audio quality: automatic volume leveling will boost lower audio in quiet scenes and lower audio in loud scenes (and in booming commercials), and dialogue enhancement will improve speech intelligibility. They ship with a Roku TV Voice Remote, which controls both the Roku TV and the speakers, as well as the all-new Roku Touch. We haven't had the chance to hear Roku's new speakers in action, so we can not comment on quality yet, but the proper balance of audio quality and price will be key to the success of Roku's Wireless Speakers. That's to be expected, though, since TV speakers aren't exactly known for offering the greatest audio quality. They're meant to disappear beside your TV, not stand out. But what if your TV breaks?

While many of us might expect Roku to launch a sound bar, these are actually a pair of stereo satellite speakers. Now you have to buy another Roku TV or your speakers are nearly worthless - I suppose they can still function for Bluetooth, though. Many offer Bluetooth now too. Roku says it won't be available in retail stores like previous products have been in order to avoid any confusion about the products and services the speakers work with.

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