If you are looking for the two essential additions to any flat screen, namely a sound bar to replace the tiny and mediocre TV speakers and a streaming channel player (Netflix, Prime Video, etc. ), then this Streambar is for you.
On the other hand, if you’re happy with the audio-video quality of your trio of TV, soundbar, and internet player, then well done, keep it up, but know that this Roku bar does a bit more than what the manual says. Read further.
Powerful and crisp sound despite its size
After several days of testing, the overall rating is very satisfactory.
It was enough to launch a techno music channel like Deephouse for this Streambar to demonstrate its full potential despite its small size. As a bedroom or living room speaker, this is a good start. As for the power, it is strong enough to disturb the neighbors upstairs if the walls are not well soundproofed.
As to the motives that prompted Roku to design such a compact speaker that is half the length of a normal soundbar, I haven’t heard back. This is undoubtedly the idea of offering a basic model that is at the same time attractive, affordable and competent. Maybe a bigger and more powerful bar will be added later at Roku.
Nothing is missing from this Streambar which comes with its Roku remote control, a power cable and two cables (HDMI and optical).
For TVs with an HDMI ARC (audio return channel) connection, you must use the supplied HDMI cable. Otherwise, without this ARC version of the HDMI port, you must connect the HDMI cable and, for audio, connect the TV to the speaker with the optical digital audio cable. In either case, there is no loss of quality.
With the help of the bilingual manual, the installation is very simple. Simple as long as you check certain points.
HDMI ARC (CEC)
This requires checking the HDMI CEC settings of the TV. If, like me, you cannot find the CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) function in the settings of your TV set, it is because it has another name. In the case of the LG Ultra HD TV I tried, this feature goes by the trade name SimpLink. For other manufacturers, CEC is called:
- Anynet + at Samsung;
- Bravia Link or Bravia Sync at Sony; and
- Viera Link, HDAVI Control or EZ-Sync at Panasonic.
Compatible with … computer monitor
As I often move test products, I was amazed by the fact that this Streambar had difficulty connecting to one of my computer monitors equipped with an HDMI connection and even to a low-end projector, also HDMI – without ARC or CEC function.
This is one more use for this Roku soundbar which, let us remember, is compatible with the ultra-HD 4K and HDR hourly formats.
Usernames and passwords
If there is something that is long and tedious, it is good to enter all the usernames and passwords for each of the services like Netflix, Prime Video, AppleTV etc. I counted a good 3:30 min just for my Netflix credentials. Some services like Apple TV make it easier to use an iPhone by capturing a QR coded image.
If the Streambar connects well to the WiFi wireless network, I still tried to connect it by cable using my USB Ethernet network adapter, without success.
Here is a beautiful product for your flat screen which combines a streaming player and an efficient sound bar.
Asking price: $ 189.99