If you simply want to improve your TV’s sound with a compact soundbar that takes up little space, the Yamaha SR-C20A or the Vizio M-Series 2.1 are some good choices. Similarly, better streaming is available on any TV with a 4K HDR streamer, such as the Roku Streaming Stick Plus or the Chromecast with Google TV.
But, until now, there has not been a device that does both in one convenient bundle, and for less than $150. This is exactly what the Roku Streambar is designed to do, and it excels at this task.
Though Roku Streambar is an outstanding choice, it is natural to find yourself torn between the Streambar and the Streambar Pro. In comparison to the larger Roku Streambar Pro, the Roku Streambar is a more compact option. If your floor area is limited, you will appreciate its more compact design.
However, its small size means that it cannot compete with the Pro in reproducing low frequencies, which is notably apparent when listening to bass-heavy genres like electronic dance music. The remote for the Pro provides a private listening tool in the form of a headphone connector, and it also has two customizable controls for quick access to standard voice commands.
But, is that all? Do they perform similarly in all other respects? Let’s find out now!
Roku Streambar vs Streambar Pro: Side-by-Side Comparison
|Roku Streambar Pro||Roku Streambar|
|Size||32.2 x 3.9 x 2.8 inches||14.2 x 4.2 x 2.4 inches|
|Audio Formats||Dolby Audio, PCM||PCM, Dolby Audio|
|HDR||HLG and HDR10||HLG and HDR10|
|Wired Ethernet||No||With USB Adaptor accessory|
Roku Streambar vs Streambar Pro: What’s the Difference?
At 32.2 x 3.9 x 2.8 inches, the Streambar Pro seems to borrow design inspiration from Roku’s streaming box line, aiming to blend in with its environment rather than stand out. Black in color, the rectangular soundbar features four drivers measuring 2.5 inches each. Although it lets you make a full 5.1 setup, you will have to get a subwoofer and additional speakers for that.
The front features nothing more than a white light to indicate that it is turned on and a red light to indicate that the microphone is active for voice control. On its back, you can find an ARC HDMI input for use with your TV. Moreover, it also comes with an optical digital audio out and a USB port.
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The Streambar Pro is user-friendly because it lacks any buttons or controllers. Activating it, adjusting the volume, or making other adjustments requires either the Roku mobile app or its updated remote control.
On the other hand, the Streambar is reminiscent of the Roku Smart Soundbar, but it is far more compact at just 2.4 x 14.0 x 4.2 inches. It can also conveniently hide behind the TV. Similar to the Smart Soundbar, it includes an LED on the front panel and no physical controls on the front or top.
Like the Pro, it comes with optical audio and a USB port, as well as an HDMI input, a reset button, and a power adapter input on the back. You can hang it on the wall using the two threaded holes on the back.
With its compact form factor, the Streambar may be placed between the TV stand’s legs even if the TV is 55 inches. It does not block your view of the TV because of its low profile. Although the Pro is slightly larger than the Roku Streambar, it can still be used with most TVs, and it won’t obstruct the view because it is not too tall.
The build quality of both these soundbars is good, but the Streambar looks better as it is wrapped in tight fabric. The Pro also feels decent, but even though the front cover is sealed onto the plastic body, it can come loose if you grab the bar too tightly in the middle. There should not be any problems as long as you handle it cautiously.
The remote control you get with the Streambar is quite simple and is quite like what you find with the vast majority of Roku TVs. The wand is black and features a purple direction pad, along with Back, Home, and Power buttons. It also comes with a pinhole microphone.
You may adjust playback and activate Roku’s voice search with the buttons located below the touchpad. Below them are buttons labeled with the respective services’ names: Hulu, Netflix, Disney+, and Sling TV. The right side of the device also has a volume rocker and mute button.
Overall, this remote manages nearly every aspect of the bar. But compared to the Roku Streambar Pro, you need the Roku app for private listening through headphones. But, the truth is that the remote you get with the Pro model is actually better than the one included with the Streambar.
It is easy on the eyes and the hands because of its straightforward design and sturdy build. In addition to a microphone and a headphone jack, the Streambar Pro model also features a voice search button. The interface includes one-touch access to most streaming services.
Moreover, it features two buttons that can each be set to remember a different spoken command. Although it is great, just keep in mind that it is different from the new Roku Voice Remote Pro, which is rechargeable and allows for hands-free voice control.
The Roku Streambar is quite capable as a media hub. It can play 4K video and supports HDR10 and HLG, but sadly not Dolby Vision. Furthermore, the speaker is Bluetooth-enabled, allowing you to use your mobile device to play music directly through the speaker.
The Streambar has the same Roku user interface as Roku’s other media players and TVs and lets you access thousands of Roku channels. Hulu, Disney+, Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play Movies & TV, Netflix, Sling TV, and YouTube are just a few of the main streaming services available.
Quite impressive, right? It sure is, but sadly, gamers will have to look elsewhere if they are interested in watching Twitch. On the other hand, the Streambar Pro packs the same punch in terms of streaming capabilities.
Essentially, the soundbar doubles as a Roku media streamer, providing access to the same audio and video streaming options as the Roku Premiere+ as well as the audio-only options of the Roku TV Wireless Speakers.
What’s more, the Streambar Pro is compatible with any TV. Having a Roku TV, however, streamlines the pairing and updating processes of the soundbar. Naturally, at that point, you can switch to using the Roku TV’s extensive streaming features and quality apps, as the Streambar Pro offers functionally comparable video streaming capabilities.
The Roku Streambar is AirPlay2, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi compatible, so you can definitely enjoy better connectivity when watching TV shows. For podcasts and shows that rely heavily on dialogue, the Roku Streambar should suffice.
Like the Pro, it is a 2.0 setup, and there is no dedicated center channel to enhance the dialogue. Despite this, it has well-balanced mids that allow for clear vocals reproduction and make it simple to follow on-screen action. The Volume Mode and Speech Clarity settings can also be adjusted to reduce the volume of annoying ads and enhance the clarity of spoken words, respectively.
The Pro also holds up fairly well when it comes to watching media focused on lots of talking. However, like its sibling, it comes with well-balanced mids, so dialogue remains discernible and you do not have any trouble following the action. A good thing about the Pro is that it comes with a Voice Clarity feature, which has three levels of sensitivity.
The Volume Mode function is useful for late-night TV viewing. It normalizes the volume so you can hear the conversation well without disturbing the neighbors with stronger effects.
However, if you compare the two, you will notice that the Streambar does not get very loud. The thing is that though the Pro does not have this problem, you may experience some compression at max volume.
The Roku Streambar Pro, albeit small and unobtrusive, can get rather loud. However, it delivers respectable bass thanks to its four 2.5-inch speakers. If that seems insufficient, you can enhance it by adding the Roku Subwoofer, which costs around $179.
It does not deliver simulated or surround sound, but the two-channel stereo separation produces a reasonably wide sound field that fills your room without maxing out the volume. The audio quality of the Roku Streambar is reasonably good, too.
The Streambar is equipped with four 1.9-inch drivers, with two of them facing forward, and two a bit offset to the left and right. It features the same number of drivers as the Roku Smart Soundbar, but they are somewhat smaller.
Still, the speaker can create a remarkably vast sound field, partly because the slanted drivers throw the sound toward the walls for reflection. For the most part, the Streambar boasts a well-rounded sound right out of the box, with neutral mids that do a good job of accurately reproducing lead instruments and voices.
Therefore, it works well with a wide variety of musical styles. However, the thud and rumble in the bass associated with bass-heavy genres like hip-hop and EDM are missing, as is the case with most small-ish, solo bars.
The noticeable thing is that the Streambar Pro is not the best choice to play extremely bass-heavy music. At least, that is going to be the case without the assistance of the optional wireless subwoofer.
Unfortunately, the bass synth sounds become distorted once the volume is turned up to around a third of its maximum. Some songs are considerably harsh in this regard and result in terrible crackling and warping.
The sound of both speakers is not bad at all, but you may not like the experience they offer to movie buffs. Really, when it comes to motion pictures, the Roku Streambar falls short.
In order to play 5.1 surround sound formats such as Dolby Digital, the 2.0 bar must first downmix them into stereo. And both the Streambar and the Pro fail to do that. Therefore, the resulting sound lacks depth, and the surround impression does not seem to extend into the room around your couch.
There are always methods to boost its efficiency, such as by attaching additional satellites. Dolby Atmos video cannot be seen, which is a major letdown given the prevalence of this audiovisual format among Roku’s supported streaming services.
Roku Streambar vs Streambar Pro: 5 Must-Know Facts
- Roku Streambar and Streambar Pro use a 2.0 setup, which is great for dialogue but not ideal for bass-heavy content.
- You can find equalizer settings and controls for bass and treble on the Roku Streambar Pro to fine-tune the sound to your liking.
- The Roku Streambar Pro has good stereo dynamics and can fill standard-sized rooms, but is not recommended for use in bigger homes.
- The surround sound quality of the Roku Streambar is average because it downmixes its content to stereo and is not as immersive as devices with satellite speakers.
- The Roku Streambar comes with sound enhancement features and EQ presets, such as “Dialogue”, “Standard”, “Music”, “Movie”, and “Night.”
Roku Streambar vs Streambar Pro: Which One Is Best?
The Streambar is essentially a more compact and less expensive version of the Roku Smart Soundbar from last year. While its lack of bass is its major flaw, it more than makes up for it with its excellent sound for speech. And you will definitely love its ability to fill a room that defies its diminutive size. Even though it does not have a subwoofer, it nevertheless sounds better than the speakers on your TV.
The good thing is that you may use the Roku Streambar with both kids and adults. Most music and TV shows emphasizing conversation will sound great on a 2.0 soundbar. Whether you are listening to your favorite sitcom and podcast or some of your all-time favorite songs, the mix will faithfully imitate the voices and instruments.
If you only need one device to handle all of your audio and video streaming needs, Roku Streambar is your best bet. If you have a Roku, you may enjoy the benefits of surround sound without the need for additional speakers. Despite its sluggish performance, the soundbar and streamer are both solid.
However, the lack of low-bass rumble during bass-heavy tunes is typical of small, isolated bars. There is no support for Dolby Atmos, and the surround sound is not great. If you wish to improve it in the future, adding a submarine and satellites is an option.
But the truth is that if you already own a Roku Smart Soundbar, there is not much point in upgrading. Although the remote for the Streambar Pro is superior, you can get a standalone remote for discreet listening (or you can access these functions via the Roku app).
If you want to save some extra bucks, you may go with the Streambar. It is $50 less expensive than the Streambar Pro at full pricing. It is comparable in terms of visual and audio quality, as well as features like wired internet and an enhanced Bluetooth connection. And it is also a great choice if you can live without Streambar Pro’s upgraded remote.
What’s more, if you compare the Streambar’s price to that of the Roku Streaming Stick+, which offers similar streaming functionality, you will find that it is one of the best budget soundbars on the market for less than $100.
Both Roku Streambar and Streambar Pro have their pros and cons, and it ultimately comes down to how you want to use them. No matter the option you go with, know that both options are an improvement over your TV’s speakers.
Just remember that neither provides the deep bass that you would get from a soundbar with built-in woofers. You can improve the audio quality by purchasing the optional subwoofer; however, this additional expense may sway you to go with the more expensive Streambar Pro instead of the Roku Streambar.