TCL’s Roku Wireless Soundbar with Roku TV Ready certification from this past October. | Image: Roku / TCL
Roku today announced the expansion of its “Roku TV Ready” certification program, bringing in newcomer brands Polk Audio and Westinghouse early next year (and joining recent manufacturers Philips, JVC, and Element).
First launched in 2020, Roku TV Ready lets audio products (like soundbars) easily link up with a Roku TV set. Customers with supported soundbars get full integration of the audio settings and volume control within the Roku TV’s interface — all while using a single remote.
Owners of some early Roku TV Ready audio devices (like the Bose TV Speaker) needed only to connect the speaker hardware to a Roku TV via HDMI — but more recent devices like the TCL Roku TV wireless soundbar can simply work without the cable.
Roku reiterates some of the benefits of the program in today’s announcement — including what the company describes as an “easy to implement” SDK plus hardware reference designs to easily build a wireless soundbar.
An early Roku TV Ready setup screen for the Bose TV Speaker.
Roku’s ecosystem of smart TVs and easy-to-setup soundbars can be attractive to people looking for a simple home theater and streaming solution — so manufacturers are certainly taking notice and coming aboard. It’s common to see a homogenous display wall of cheap Roku TV sets at big-box retailers, making them a real grab-and-go solution as a gift or for a spare bedroom.
Despite some short-lived software bugs, Roku continues to provide a good platform for Smart TV and soundbar makers targeting the low to midrange home audio / video market. TCL recently launched a Google TV version of its 6-series and 5-series TVs that were taken off-market due to sluggish software (later fixed) from which the Roku versions didn’t suffer.