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Roku Streambar Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v1.1
Review updated Oct 23, 2023 at 02:33 pm
Latest change: Writing modified Jan 12, 2024 at 11:59 am
Roku Streambar Picture
6.0
Mixed Usage
6.6
Dialogue/TV Shows
6.4
Music
5.4
Movies

The Roku Streambar is a budget-friendly 2.0 soundbar with a built-in media streamer, allowing you to access different streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu via one interface. It's pretty similar to the Roku Streambar Pro and the Roku Smart Soundbar when it comes to sound quality, but as the manufacturer's smallest soundbar, it's best suited for those who are low on space. Also, there are separate subwoofers and satellites available for those who want to upgrade their setup.

Our Verdict

6.0 Mixed Usage

The Roku Streambar is acceptable for mixed usage. This 2.0 soundbar is ideal for listening to stereo content, which includes most music and dialogue-focused TV shows. Voices in podcasts and sitcoms are clearly reproduced, and instruments in your favorite tunes are detailed in the mix. That said, like with most small standalone bars, you don't feel the rumble in the low-bass during bass-heavy tracks. Its surround sound isn't the most impressive, either. However, you can always upgrade it down the line with a sub and satellites if you want.

Pros
  • Bluetooth, AirPlay 2, and Wi-Fi compatible.
  • Four EQ presets available.
Cons
  • No room correction.
  • Doesn't get very loud.
6.6 Dialogue/TV Shows

The Roku Streambar is adequate for dialogue-centric TV shows and podcasts. It's a 2.0 bar, meaning you don't get a discrete center channel to improve vocal reproduction. Despite that, its mids are pretty balanced, so it can still reproduce vocals with some clarity, making it easy to follow the action on screen. There's an adjustable Speech Clarity feature available to make dialogue more crisp, as well as an adjustable Volume Mode to quiet loud commercials.

Pros
  • Bluetooth, AirPlay 2, and Wi-Fi compatible.
  • Dialogue enhancement feature available.
Cons
  • No room correction.
  • Doesn't get very loud.
6.4 Music

The Roku Streambar is passable for music. Out-of-the-box, it has a fairly balanced sound, with neutral mids that reproduce voices and lead instruments with detail. As a result, it's suitable for most music genres. Like most small standalone bars, it lacks the thump and rumble in the bass with bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop. A firmware update gives you bass and treble adjustments to customize its sound, but if you want solid bass reproduction, you'll need to add on a separate sub from the manufacturer.

Pros
  • Bluetooth, AirPlay 2, and Wi-Fi compatible.
  • Four EQ presets available.
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
Cons
  • No room correction.
  • Really lacking low-bass.
  • Doesn't get very loud.
5.4 Movies

The Roku Streambar is disappointing for movies. Since it's a 2.0 bar, it has to downmix 5.1 surround sound formats like Dolby Digital into stereo to play them. The resulting sound isn't very immersive, and sound effects don't seem to wrap into the space around your couch. You can always add on separate satellites to improve its performance. Unfortunately, you can't watch Dolby Atmos content, which is really disappointing since this format is so common on the streaming platforms found on Roku's media streamer.

Pros
  • Bluetooth, AirPlay 2, and Wi-Fi compatible.
  • Four EQ presets available.
Cons
  • No room correction.
  • Really lacking low-bass.
  • Doesn't get very loud.
  • 6.0 Mixed Usage
  • 6.6 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 6.4 Music
  • 5.4 Movies
  1. Updated Jan 12, 2024: Added market comparison for the TCL Alto 6 in the Stereo Frequency Response box.
  2. Updated Oct 23, 2023: Minor updates to review text for clarity.
  3. Updated Mar 27, 2023: Added cable lengths to In The Box.
  4. Updated Mar 22, 2023: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. With this update, we've added a Mounting test and added information aboutSubwoofer Output, Spotify Connect, and Microphone Mute.
  5. Updated Nov 11, 2022: Rewrote text for greater clarity. No changes in test results.
  6. Updated Aug 11, 2022: Added information to 'Remote' box to compare with Roku Streambar Pro.
  7. Updated Aug 10, 2022: Updated bar to firmware version 11.0.0. Added bass and treble adjustments to 'Sound Enhancement Features' box. Added information to 'Stereo Frequency Response with Calibration'. Re-evaluated 'Stereo Soundstage' and 'Build Quality' scores in comparison with new Roku Streambar Pro. Updated overall usage scores accordingly.
  8. Updated Jan 05, 2022: Added third-party voice assistant support.
  9. Updated Nov 10, 2021: Updated review for accuracy and clarity.
  10. Updated May 26, 2021: Added AirPlay 2 compatibility.
  11. Updated Mar 03, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.0.
  12. Updated Jan 13, 2021: Due to a change in our methodology, we updated DTS and DD+ support via ARC to 'No'.
  13. Updated Dec 01, 2020: Updated HDMI Out to 1 (shared).
  14. Updated Dec 01, 2020: Review published.
  15. Updated Nov 25, 2020: Early access published.
  16. Updated Nov 12, 2020: Our testers have started testing this product.
  17. Updated Nov 11, 2020: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  18. Updated Nov 04, 2020: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

This soundbar comes in one color: 'Black'. You can see the label for the model we tested here.

If you come across a version that's different from our test unit, let us know in the forums, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Soundbars

The Roku Streambar is a budget-level 2.0 setup from 2020. This small soundbar offers access to several streaming platforms in one place through Roku's media streamer. It's a smaller alternative to the Roku Streambar Pro that's ideal for smaller spaces. Of course, there's a trade-off in terms of low-frequency extension, so you notice less rumble in the bass than with the Pro.

For more options, check out our recommendations for the best small soundbars, the best soundbars under $200, and the best soundbars for dialogue.

Roku Streambar Pro

The Roku Streambar is a smaller alternative to the Roku Streambar Pro. It offers a more compact design, which is great if you're low on space. Because of its small size, it doesn't reproduce as much bass as the Pro, which is especially noticeable with bass-heavy music like EDM. The Pro's remote adds a private listening tool thanks to the headphone jack on the remote, and it has two programmable controls so you can access common voice controls with the press of a button. Otherwise, there isn't much of a difference in their performance.

Roku Smart Soundbar

The Roku Smart Soundbar is a better 2.0 soundbar than the Roku Streambar. These two soundbars have the same physical inputs and sound enhancement features. However, the Smart Soundbar has a significantly better-balanced sound profile and its surround performance is much better, too. It can also get louder, although there are more compression artifacts than the Streambar. However, the Streambar has a better center channel performance.

Sonos Beam

The Sonos Beam is a significantly better soundbar than the Roku Streambar. The Sonos is a 3.0 setup that's better balanced and has a better center and surround performance. It also has more sound enhancement features and can get much louder, with some compression artifacts present. However, the Roku is a 2.0 setup with more physical inputs. You can also wirelessly stream your favorite audio to the bar using Bluetooth.

Sony HT-S100F

The Sony HT-S100F is a better 2.0 soundbar than the Roku Streambar. The Sony has a better-balanced sound profile capable of reproducing more low-bass. It can get louder with fewer compression artifacts and has a virtual surround feature. It also has a shared HDMI ARC and HDMI Out port. However, the Roku is smaller and better built. Its surround performance is much better too.

TCL Alto 6

The Roku Streambar and the TCL Alto 6 are both budget-friendly standalone soundbars with different strengths. The Roku is smaller and better built. It comes with more sound enhancement features like bass and treble adjustments and supports more wireless playback options like Wi-Fi. However, its low-frequency extension isn't as impressive as the TCL, so this bar has less rumble in the bass.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style - Bar

This bar is a smaller and more compact alternative to other models like the Roku Smart Soundbar and the Roku Streambar Pro. It has a nondescript design, with fabric wrapping around the front and the sides.

Design
Style - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
No
Enclosure
No Subwoofer

You can purchase a Roku Wireless Subwoofer separately.

Design
Style - Satellites
Satellite Wireless
No

You can buy Roku Wireless Speakers separately.

Design
Dimensions - Bar
Width 13.9" (35.4 cm)
Height 2.4" (6.0 cm)
Depth 4.2" (10.7 cm)

Given its small size, the bar fits easily into most existing setups and fits between the legs of a 55-inch TV stand. It's not very tall, so it doesn't obscure your TV screen.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Width N/A
Height N/A
Depth N/A
Design
Dimensions - Satellites
Width N/A
Height N/A
Depth N/A
Design
Mounting
Mountable Bar
Yes
Bar Brackets Included
No
Mountable Satellites
No
Satellite Brackets Included
No

You can mount this soundbar to the wall, though you must purchase the brackets separately.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The bar has a good build quality. It's mostly made of hard plastic, which feels very sturdy and durable. The rubber underneath the bar helps to hold it in place. Fabric wraps around the front and sides of the bar, and its tight fit means it isn't likely to rip. Still, it can collect some dust over time.

Design
In The Box

  • Remote
  • Batteries (2x AAA)
  • Quick Start guide
  • Optical cable (5.9 ft / 1.8m)
  • HDMI cable (4.9 ft / 1.5m)
  • Power cable (5.9 ft / 1.8m)
  • Power adapter (5.9 ft / 1.8m)

Sound
6.0
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
Tested Preset
Standard
Slope
0.51
Std. Err.
3.44 dB
Channels
2.0
Low-Frequency Extension
92.4 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
16.7 kHz

This 2.0 setup is ideal for listening to stereo content, which includes most music and vocal-heavy TV shows. Its frequency response is quite balanced, especially in the mids, where most voices and instruments reproduce, so you get a clear and accurate representation of these sounds. However, there's a slight dip in the treble range, so higher-pitched instruments like hi-hats are a bit veiled in the mix. Given its small size, it struggles to bring any thump or rumble in the low-bass, even compared to other standalone budget models like the TCL Alto 6. You can always add a separate sub to improve its performance, though.

6.5
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response With Preliminary Calibration
Suggested Preset
Standard
Suggested Bass Setting
8
Suggested Treble Setting
0
Slope
0.34
Std. Err.
3.11 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
77.7 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz

If you update the bar to firmware version 11.0.0 or later, you get access to bass and treble adjustments to help you customize its sound to your liking. With its bass set to '8', you get a more balanced sound, with a bit more thump in the bass range to bring bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop to life. The mids remain quite balanced, so voices and lead instruments are still clear and detailed in the mix.

6.5
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
2.78 dB

The Roku Streambar's stereo soundstage is fair. The soundstage extends past its edges, which is impressive for such a small bar, but it doesn't do any tricks to make it sound larger than that. Focus is okay, but sounds seem to accelerate toward the far sides of the bar. That said, the focus is much more consistent towards the center, so objects like instruments are perceived as coming from accurate, pinpoint locations.

6.8
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
85.3 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
1.78 dB

This soundbar doesn't get as loud as many others we've tested and won't be loud enough for a large or crowded room, but that's normal with its small size. Fortunately, it's still suitable for listening in an average-sized living room. Also, there isn't a lot of compression when you push it to max volume, so sound quality doesn't degrade as you crank up the volume.

7.1
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.68
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
2.47

The Roku Streambar has a decent THD performance. There isn't a lot of distortion at normal listening levels, resulting in clean and pure audio reproduction. As with most bars, if you push the bar to its max volume, there's a jump in THD. However, this isn't very noticeable with real-life content unless you're a very astute audiophile.

6.6
Sound
Center
Localization
Phantom
Slope
-0.30
Std. Err.
2.39 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
83.5 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.73
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.70

This 2.0 setup lacks a discrete center channel to improve vocal reproduction. Instead, it uses its left and right stereo channels to simulate a phantom center, which isn't quite as accurate. That said, the frequency response on this phantom channel is very even, especially in the mids, where most voices are reproduced. As a result, dialogue is still clear and easy to follow in the mix.

3.2
Sound
Surround 5.1
Localization
Stereo (Downmix)
Slope
-1.93
Std. Err.
4.77 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
81.8 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
1.59
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.51
7.1 Rears
No

This bar has poor surrounds performance. It has to downmix this content into stereo to play it, which doesn't sound as immersive as a setup with dedicated satellite speakers. When you watch movies like Ford v Ferrari (2019), you don't get the sense of cars driving past you during race scenes. Instead, sound effects are concentrated in the space in front of you. You can always add on separate satellites if you want to improve this bar's surround sound, though.

0
Sound
Height (Atmos)
Localization
Not Supported
Slope
N/A
Std. Err.
N/A
SPL @ Max Volume
N/A
Weighted THD @ 80dB
N/A
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
N/A
5.1
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
No
Dialogue Enhancement
Yes
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
Yes
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
No
Bass Adjustment
Yes
Treble Adjustment
Yes
EQ
Presets
Surround Level Adjustment
No
Rear Level Adjustment
No
Height Level Adjustment
No
Virtual Surround
No

This soundbar has a few sound enhancement features. It offers four EQ presets: 'Standard', 'Dialogue', 'Movie', 'Music', and 'Night'. There's also a Volume Mode feature to quiet loud commercials. You can set it to 'Off', 'Leveling', or 'Night Mode' depending on how much you want to balance the sound between your programs. There's also an adjustable Speech Clarity feature to make voices crisper, and you can choose between 'Off', 'Low', and 'High'. If you update it to firmware version 11.0.0 or higher, you get bass and treble adjustments to customize its sound.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Inputs/Outputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
1
HDMI ARC
1
HDMI Out
No
Full HDMI In
No
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
No
RCA In
No
USB for Files
1
Ethernet
No
Subwoofer Output
No

You can connect the bar to your TV via Optical. Also, if your TV has HDMI ARC, you can connect it over an HDMI cable. Most TVs have this technology built-in; however, older TVs may not. In that case, you can connect it over Optical and HDMI to get it to play.

6.1
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - ARC
eARC
No
Dolby Atmos
No
Dolby Digital
Yes
Dolby Digital Plus
No
DTS
No
DTS:X (eARC only)
No
Dolby TrueHD (eARC only)
No
DTS-HD MA (eARC only)
No
5.1 PCM (eARC only)
No

The Roku Streambar supports Dolby Digital content, which is commonly found on Blu-ray discs as well as streaming platforms. However, since it's a 2.0 bar, it has to downmix it into stereo to play it. It doesn't support lossless or object-based formats like Atmos, though.

0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Full HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
No
DTS:X
No
Dolby Digital
No
Dolby Digital Plus
No
DTS
No
Dolby TrueHD
No
DTS-HD MA
No
5.1 PCM
No
6.0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Optical
Dolby Digital
Yes
DTS
No

The Roku Streambar can only support Dolby Digital content via Optical, which is commonly found on Blu-ray discs or streaming platforms. That said, it lacks DTS support.

6.6
Connectivity
Latency
ARC
98 ms
Optical
108 ms
Full HDMI In
N/A

Latency is fairly low. You don't notice any delay between the audio you hear and the video you see on screen. Some apps and TVs compensate for latency differently, though.

9.0
Connectivity
Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi Playback
Yes
Chromecast built-in
No
Apple AirPlay
Yes
Spotify Connect
Yes

It's easy to wirelessly stream audio from your mobile devices to the bar. It doesn't support Chromecast built-in, though, which is a bit disappointing if you have a lot of Google devices.

Connectivity
Other Input Specifications
4k @ 60 Hz Passthrough
No
4k @ 60 Hz @ 10 bit Passthrough
No
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 Passthrough
No
HDR10 Passthrough
No

This soundbar doesn't have an HDMI In port, so it doesn't support high-quality passthrough.

Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
No

The bar doesn't have a display. Just like the Roku Smart Soundbar, it has a light in the center of the bar. It turns solid red when you've plugged it in and turns green when it's ready. The light also slowly pulses when you're on mute, and it turns white for a moment to indicate that you've made a command. Unfortunately, there's no way of knowing its volume level if the TV is off.

Additional Features
Bar Controls
Additional Features
Remote

You can control almost all of the bar's features with its remote. Unlike the Roku Streambar Pro, you can't connect headphones to the remote itself for private listeningโ€”you have to do that through the Roku Streambar app instead. The app also acts as a remote, so if you'd rather control the bar from your smartphone, you can do that there.

Additional Features
Voice Assistants Support
Amazon Alexa
No
Google Assistant
No
Apple Siri
No
Microphone Mute
No

The bar has its own voice assistant built into the remote. You can press the microphone button on the remote or use the app to activate it. Also, you can use a third-party Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and/or compatible Apple Homekit for voice assistant support. You just need to set them up in the Google Home, Amazon Alexa, or Apple Home apps, respectively, to stream them on the bar.