Roku is launching its ‘Roku TV Ready‘ program in Canada, allowing manufacturers to sell accessories that work with Roku TVs right out of the box. The program launched in the United States in January 2020.
This means that specific Roku TV Ready speakers from TCL, Denon and Definitive Technology will work with Roku TVs easily, including compatibility with Roku’s remote and the use of its sound profiles. Roku’s fun Streambar is also a part of this program.
When your watching content on a Roku TV without a soundbar or speaker system, you can hit the asterisk button on the remote to tweak your sound profile. The features include a speech enhancement mode, a night profile and others.
With third-party soundbars and speaker systems, you lose access to these Roku sound settings. If you have a good soundbar, you likely can enable similar sound profiles through a connected app or on your unit, but it’s not as convenient.
If a speaker is in the Roku TV Ready program, it works immediately with your Roku remote and the pre-built sound profiles.
Roku TV Ready speakers connect via HDMI ARC to transfer info back and forth with the TV to make the setup super simple. Since this feature runs via CEC and HDMI ARC, some of these features can be emulated by other soundbars connected via HDMI that also support CEC.
For example, I control my Sonos soundbar volume with my Roku remote, but I can’t tweak my sound settings via Roku’s interface and instead need to use the Sonos app for night mode and the speech enhancer.
HDMI Arc is an HDMI standard that allows audio data to be transferred between connected devices. HDMI CEC stands for Consumer Electronics Contro, which allows you to control connected devices with your remote. For example, CEC could make your TV turn on when you also turn on your Chromecast.
If you have a Roku TV and you’re looking to get better sound in a straightforward way, then one of these new Roku TV Ready soundbars or speakers will give you what you need. That said, I can’t speak to how powerful the speakers are in these units, so if audio quality is the most important, you might want to do additional research.
Hopefully, more manufacturers will add the new certification to their speakers to give Roku TV owners additional options.