Roku is going beyond TVs with its new wireless speakers

Roku wants to grab audiophiles with its new wireless speakers for Roku TVs

The company also has some first party plans for Roku Connect, announcing a pair of wireless speakers compatible with Roku TVs today. This has been a feature many streamers have been asking for since streaming started. They're black and fairly nondescript, save for a Roku logo up top.

The speakers are bundled with a new remote and the new Roku Touch - a tabletop controller that relies on RF transmission, meaning it doesn't need to have a line of sight to communicate with the speakers.

Watching a "Transformers" action scene on a TV with the Roku speakers and a TV without them, you could clearly hear the difference in audio, much like you would with a Sonos soundbar. Once paired, users can listen to audio from any streaming channel on the Roku platform, live TV from an antenna, or other devices such as a cable set-top box through the Roku TV Wireless Speakers. 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.

"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. The speakers also support Bluetooth streaming from your mobile devices such as your smartphone.

Roku wants to grab audiophiles with its new wireless speakers for Roku TVs
Roku Launches Wireless Speakers for Roku TVs

Wood further says, "Roku TV Wireless Speakers work exclusively with Roku TVs, which accounted for one out of every four smart TVs sold in the U.S.in the first quarter of 2018". That's to be expected, though, since TV speakers aren't exactly known for offering the greatest audio quality. I do not like they only work with Roku TV. You can do so today at Roku's website. But what if your TV breaks? You can also control the audio levels for the speakers, though, again, I didn't get to see this in person.

Ultimately, the lock-in is a bit concerning. 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.

While the Roku TV Wireless Speakers and new Roku Touch seem to serve relatively niche audiences at the moment, Roku believes that there's a large group out there who will enjoy the simplicity of the system over the complexity of AV receivers and 5.1 surround systems.

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