Hi-Tech

Roku moves into wireless speaker offering

Roku moves into wireless speaker offering

Roku has packed some unique and very useful features into these speakers. Those customers want better sound and easier-to-use hardware, in other words, which is why the company on Monday announced it's launching a wireless speaker line this fall that will retail for about $200 - speakers that will, no surprise, work exclusively with Roku TVs. Other smart speakers that are compatible with voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant can control smart TVs and sound systems, but they're also always listening for other questions-and not all users are comfortable having an all-purpose, always-listening AI entity in their homes. In the U.S., Roku TVs are now produced by Element, Hisense Hitachi, Insignia, Magnavox, Philips, RCA, Sharp, and TCL.

Nice bonus: When you're watching live TV, the speakers will automatically lower the volume during commercials and can raise it back up if it detects lower levels during the show. They also support Bluetooth streaming from mobile devices, so they can be used as regular music speakers. Also, many AV receivers and soundbars can be expensive and hard to install-two qualities that Roku is hoping will not define its new wireless speakers.

The speaker bundles come with a Roku TV Voice Remote and a Roku Touch tabletop remote.

A voice command button lets users press and hold to speak to their TV. The company says it will be able to launch playlists or streaming channels, change inputs, search for content, and control playback. Included is a simple point-anywhere remote control that works with both devices.

Roku says it's a whole-system issue.

Ely said the product takes advantage of Roku's acquisition a year ago of Danish audio startup Dynastrom: "The goal has been to have audio be a real center of excellence for the company".




If I had to buy a smart television and use its internet-connected capabilities, however, I'd probably opt for a Roku TV. Why?

Seeking more separation in the hotly contested smart-TV market, Roku's newest product angle has more to do with the sounds, rather than the sights, that are delivered via the popular streaming platform. Again: Roku's goal is to provide tools to encourage customers to stream more video and audio than they do today.

The big draw here is the fact that the speakers don't require any cable running to the TV itself - merely requiring a power cable - and can connect to your router via Wi-Fi.

Roku's TV Wireless Speakers will land in October for $199.99 as a bundle. The Roku TV Wireless Speakers have been developed exclusively for Roku TVs, and are now available for a limited time introductory pre-order price of $150. After they, they'll list for $199.99. At the time, Roku said it would license this technology to its manufacturing partners like TCL and Element, which make Roku TVs.

The Roku speakers are about the size of an Apple HomePod.


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