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Roku Makes Smart Expansion Play with Smart Sound Bar

Roku, which has the biggest global reach in terms of OTT operating systems, might have found a way to expand its ecosystem even further.

Starting next month, it will start selling the $179 Roku Smart Soundbar, as well as the also-$179 Roku Smart Subwoofer, on its own e-commerce channel, as well as through Best Buy. The new Dolby Audio-equipped sound bar measures measures 32-inches and comes with HDMI ARC, Optical Audio, USB 2.0 and Bluetooth connectivity.

The subwoofer contains 10-inch driver and a digital amplifier with 250 watts of peak power.

According to Roku whole home products chief Mark Ely, the sound bar overcomes common “pain points” for owners of new wall-picture-thing LEAD smart TVs, which are often long on picture quality but short on quality audio.

“People are going out and getting these fantastic 4K TVS, only to get them home and say, ‘Man, I just can’t hear it.”

Not only will the Roku Smart Soundbar improve the consumer audio experience, Ely explained, but it will solve the often difficult task connecting the set-top device to the sound bar.

Perhaps best of all for Roku, which controls more connected TVs than anyone—it will further expand distribution of the Roku OS, thanks to an embedded Roku Ultra player inside the sound bar.

That’s bad news for makers of competing OTT ecosystems.

For example, if you bought a Samsung smart TV, Samsung had “poll position” to the OTT operating environment. But with its new sound bar, Roku has another way to over-ride that control.