Roku's new wireless speakers add sound possibilities for Roku TVs
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Over the past decade, Roku has helped millions of users join the streaming video movement.
Now, the Los Gatos, California-based media company wants to connect its consumers with better sound.
Roku has just begun shipping new wireless speakers, specially designed to work with Roku TVs. Regularly priced at $199.99 a pair, the speakers are available now at Roku.com for $149.99 through Cyber Monday.
The two speakers come with a Roku TV Voice Remote and the Roku Touch tabletop remote you can use to control the TV when you aren't sitting on the couch.
Economically priced Roku TVs, made by makers such as TCL, Hisense and Sharp, capture about 25 percent of all smart TV sales, too, according to research firm IHS Markit.
But to achieve those attractive prices – for example, a 55-inch 4K HDR model Black Friday-priced at less than $400 – manufacturers must make some sacrifices, and speakers are a popular target. So, a strategy to bring better sound to Roku TVs makes sense.
Roku's easy-to-use approach has helped it remain the dominant net device maker with about one-third of all those who watch net-delivered TV using a Roku device, more than use Amazon, Google or Apple TV devices, according to market tracking firm eMarketer.
The new Roku TV speakers do not stray from that simple-to-set-up approach. After plugging both of the 7.7-inch-tall speakers into a power outlet, you simply go into the Settings menu on your Roku TV and add a device. (You will do the same for the Touch remote, too).
That completes a wireless connection between the TV and speakers and, subsequently, the sound automatically emerges from the paired speakers. (Remember, these only work with Roku TVs, so if you are looking for wireless speakers to supplement any other TV look elsewhere.)
Improved sound definitely boosts overall enjoyment of TV watching. In place of the flat sound field emitted by the TV's own speaker, the Roku TV speakers created a dynamic soundscape that added urgency and dimensionality to the battle royal that wrapped up the third season of "Marvel's Daredevil."
The speakers' richer, more accurate sound brought more bounce to an NBA game and added majesty of the ice dragon's assault on the Wall in "Game of Thrones." Watching news programming also benefited from the better, crisper sound.
The tabletop remote gives you added flexibility to turn on programming while you are not planted in front of the TV. Since it's wireless, you can place it anywhere nearby, such as the kitchen. You can use your voice to give the Roku TV commands such as "Turn on classic rock" to launch music on Spotify, or to launch radio news app TuneIn. You can store frequently used voice commands in the remote's two preset buttons.
There's plenty of strategies to evolve a home theater around your Roku TV, including soundbars and speakers from well-regarded companies such as Sonos, Bose and TV makers such as LG, Samsung and Sony.
But Roku undercuts most of the speaker competition at this sub-$200 price point. And the Roku TV speakers' easy setup and performance should make the speakers a sound investment for current customers.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.