Soundbars are popular for a good reason. The speakers in typical flat-panel TVs sound puny compared with the visual sway of increasingly larger, higher-resolution displays. Also, since not every viewing room can accommodate the separate components of a home theater, a narrow-footprint soundbar solves the problem of raising the impact of the audio and it does so with one cable.
Roku, a company known for its streaming media players and the user interface found in some smart TVs, has introduced the Streambar Pro ($180), a 4-speaker array with 2.5-inch full-range drivers housed in a 32.2-inch-wide cabinet. It has built-in Wi-Fi and supports 4K/HDR10 video from its built-in apps (but not Dolby Atmos). The Streambar Pro comes with a voice-enabled RF remote with a headphone jack for private listening. (Earbuds are included.) It has dedicated buttons for Netflix, Disney+, Apple TV+, and Hulu, plus ones labeled “1” and “2” you can assign to other favorite services.
I placed the Streambar Pro on the stand between the feet of my 55-inch TV and connected the included HDMI cable between the bar’s HDMI-ARC input and my TV’s HDMI-ARC port. (An optical audio cable is supplied for use with older TVs lacking HDMI-ARC.) Next, I followed the screen prompts to connect to Wi-Fi and set up a Roku account. You can press and hold the microphone button on the remote to spell out this information, which is faster than clicking through the onscreen keypad.
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