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Roku Streambar Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Updated Nov 11, 2022 at 09:48 am
Roku Streambar Picture

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

N/A 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, and there's no Atmos support. 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.
N/A 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.
N/A 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. That said, 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.
N/A 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.
  • N/A Mixed Usage
  • N/A Dialogue/TV Shows
  • N/A Music
  • N/A Movies
  1. Updated Nov 11, 2022: Rewrote text for greater clarity. No changes in test results.
  2. Updated Aug 11, 2022: Added information to 'Remote' box to compare with Roku Streambar Pro.
  3. 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.
  4. Updated Jan 05, 2022: Added third-party voice assistant support.
  5. Updated Nov 10, 2021: Updated review for accuracy and clarity.
  6. Updated May 26, 2021: Added AirPlay 2 compatibility.
  7. Updated Mar 03, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.0.
  8. Updated Jan 13, 2021: Due to a change in our methodology, we updated DTS and DD+ support via ARC to 'No'.
  9. Updated Dec 01, 2020: Updated HDMI Out to 1 (shared).
  10. Updated Dec 01, 2020: Review published.
  11. Updated Nov 25, 2020: Early access published.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Roku Streambar comes in one color: 'Black'. You can see its label here.

If you come across a version that's different from our test unit, let us know in the discussions, 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 by using Roku's media streamer. You can also expand its setup with satellite speakers and a subwoofer down the line. However, on its own, it offers disappointing overall performance as it struggles to get loud and produce low-bass. That said, it does a better job of reproducing vocal-centric content.

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, though, 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 its headphone jack on the remote and 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 as well as 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 with more compression artifacts than the Streambar. That said, 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 as well as surrounds performance. It also has more sound enhancement features and can get a lot louder, though with some compression artifacts present. However, the Roku is a 2.0 setup that has a couple more physical inputs. You can also use it to wirelessly stream your favorite audio to the bar using Bluetooth.

LG SK1

The Roku Streambar is a bit better than the LG SK1. The Roku is better built, and it supports more wireless playback options. It also has a better soundstage performance, and unlike the LG, it comes with an ARC port as well as a dialogue enhancement feature. That said, the LG reproduces a more extended low-bass. It also gets louder, and it has better surrounds performance.

Bose Solo 5

The Bose Solo 5 is a better 2.0 soundbar than the Roku Streambar. The Bose has a significantly better-balanced sound profile and can get a bit louder. Its surround performance is better too and it has an AUX port. However, the Roku is better built, has an HDMI ARC port, and supports Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. It also has EQ presets.

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 that's 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 surrounds performance is much better too.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style - Bar

This small bar is mostly made of plastic. However, the front and the sides are wrapped in fabric.

Design
Style - Subwoofer

You can purchase a Roku Wireless Subwoofer separately.

Design
Style - Satellites

You can buy Roku Wireless Speakers separately.

Design
Dimensions - Bar
Width Lock" (Lock cm)
Height Lock" (Lock cm)
Depth Lock" (Lock 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
Back - Bar
Bar Mounting
Locked

The back of this soundbar has one opening for its inputs and power cord. There are also universal holes on its underside for wall mounting, but the mounting parts are sold separately.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
Locked
Design
Back - Satellites
Mounting
Locked
N/A
Design
Build Quality

The bar has good build quality. Its top and rear sides are made of dense, hard plastic, while the front and sides of the bar are wrapped in a tight fabric, so it doesn't feel like it can easily rip. That said, dust and dirt may still collect on the fabric. There's rubber underneath the soundbar, which is a nice touch.

Design
In The Box
HDMI Cable Length
Lock m (Lock ft)
Digital Optical Cable Length
Lock m (Lock ft)

  • Remote
  • Batteries (2x AAA)
  • Quick Start guide
  • Optical cable
  • HDMI cable
  • Power cable
  • Power adapter

Sound
N/A
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
Tested Preset
Locked
Slope
Lock
Std. Err.
Lock dB
Channels
2.0
Low-Frequency Extension
Lock Hz
High-Frequency Extension
Lock 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, so higher-pitched instruments are a bit veiled in the mix. As with most standalone bars, you don't get a lot of rumble in the low-bass, either, but you can always add a separate sub to improve its bass reproduction.

N/A
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response With Preliminary Calibration
Suggested Preset
Locked
Suggested Bass Setting
Lock
Suggested Treble Setting
Lock
Slope
Lock
Std. Err.
Lock dB
Low-Frequency Extension
Lock Hz
High-Frequency Extension
Lock 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.

N/A
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
Lock dB

The Roku Streambar's stereo soundstage is fair. The soundstage is a bit wider than the bar, which is impressive for such a small bar, but it doesn't do any tricks to make it sound larger. The soundstage's 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.

N/A
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
Lock dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
Lock dB

This soundbar doesn't get as loud as many other soundbars 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 isn't degraded as you crank up the volume.

N/A
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80dB
Lock
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
Lock

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, though this isn't very noticeable with real-life content unless you're a very astute audiophile.

N/A
Sound
Center
Localization
Locked
Slope
Lock
Std. Err.
Lock dB
SPL @ Max Volume
Lock dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
Lock
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
Lock

Its center channel performance is okay. This 2.0 setup uses its left and right channels to simulate a phantom center. The frequency response is quite balanced, especially in the mids, so voices reproduce with clarity. However, the phantom localization doesn't anchor voices to a pinpoint location like a soundbar with a discrete center, which takes away from the immersive feel a bit.

N/A
Sound
Surround 5.1
Localization
Locked
Slope
Lock
Std. Err.
Lock dB
SPL @ Max Volume
Lock dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
Lock
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
Lock
7.1 Rears
Locked

The Roku Streambar 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. Audio seems like it's coming from in front of you rather than from speakers placed all around you. You can always add on separate satellites if you want to improve its surround sound.

N/A
Sound
Height (Atmos)
Localization
Locked
Slope
N/A
Std. Err.
N/A
SPL @ Max Volume
N/A
Weighted THD @ 80dB
N/A
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
N/A
N/A
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
Locked
Dialogue Enhancement
Locked
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
Locked
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
Locked
Bass Adjustment
Locked
Treble Adjustment
Locked
EQ
Locked
Surround Level Adjustment
Locked
Rear Level Adjustment
Locked
Height Level Adjustment
Locked
Virtual Surround
Locked

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, which you can set to 'Off', 'Leveling', or 'Night Mode'. There's also an adjustable Speech Clarity feature to make voices more crisp, 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
Physical Inputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
Locked
HDMI ARC
Locked
HDMI Out
Locked
Full HDMI In
Locked
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
Locked
RCA In
Locked
USB for Files
Locked
Ethernet
Locked

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 come with this technology built-in; however, older TVs may not have it. In that case, you can connect it over Optical and HDMI to get it to play.

N/A
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - ARC
eARC
Locked
Dolby Atmos
Locked
Dolby Digital
Locked
Dolby Digital Plus
Locked
DTS
Locked
DTS:X (eARC only)
Locked
Dolby TrueHD (eARC only)
Locked
DTS-HD MA (eARC only)
Locked
5.1 PCM (eARC only)
Locked

The Roku Streambar has mediocre audio support via its ARC port. It 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.

N/A
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Full HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
Locked
DTS:X
Locked
Dolby Digital
Locked
Dolby Digital Plus
Locked
DTS
Locked
Dolby TrueHD
Locked
DTS-HD MA
Locked
5.1 PCM
Locked
N/A
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Optical
Dolby Digital
Locked
DTS
Locked

The Roku Streambar has mediocre audio format support via its Optical In port. It can only support Dolby Digital content, which is commonly found on Blu-ray discs or streaming platforms. That said, it lacks DTS support.

N/A
Connectivity
Latency
- SAMPLE -
Get Insider Access for videos & test results
Roku Streambar Latency Video Sample
ARC
Lock ms
Optical
Lock ms
Full HDMI In
N/A

The Roku Streambar has fairly low latency, so you don't notice much delay between the audio you hear and the video you see. Some apps and TVs compensate for latency differently, so your real-world experience can vary.

N/A
Connectivity
Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
Locked
Wi-Fi
Locked
Chromecast built-in
Locked
Apple AirPlay
Locked

This soundbar has incredible wireless playback options. You can wirelessly stream your favorite audio from your mobile device via Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay 2, or Wi-Fi. However, you can't connect to the bar using Chromecast built-in.

Connectivity
Other Input Specifications
4k @ 60 Hz Passthrough
Locked
4k @ 60 Hz @ 10 bit Passthrough
Locked
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 Passthrough
Locked
HDR10 Passthrough
Locked

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

Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
Locked
Connectivity
Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
Locked
Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
Locked

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
Universal Remote
Locked

It comes with a small and simple remote. You can control almost all of the bar's features. However, 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 app instead.

Additional Features
Voice Assistants Support
Amazon Alexa
Locked
Google Assistant
Locked
Apple Siri
Locked

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.

Additional Features
App
App Name Locked
iOS Locked
Android Locked
Acts As A Remote
Locked
Controls Soundbar's Settings
Locked
Casts Device Files
Locked

The Roku app acts as a remote and lets you control all the bar's settings. You get access to a wide array of sound enhancement features, as well as Roku's unique channels, including apps like Netflix and Spotify. Its private listening mode is pretty unique since it lets you cast audio from your TV to your mobile device so you can listen without bothering those around you.

Additional Features
Other Features
Power Saving
Locked
HDMI CEC (TV Remote Control)
Locked

This soundbar doesn't turn off, and even when powering the bar off, it mainly turns the TV off. When connected via ARC, your TV remote can also power the bar on/off and adjust the volume.

Discussions