You didn’t have to wait long for Roku TV-friendly wireless soundbars to arrive. TCL has introduced the Alto R1, the first soundbar built on the wireless Roku TV Ready spec. So long as you’re using a Roku TV set in the first place, you don’t need to do much more than plug in the power cable —the soundbar will automatically talk to the TV and walk you through setup.
Like wired Roku TV Ready soundbars, you can use your set’s existing remote to control sound. You’ll also get better audio syncing, simple settings and automatic software updates.
TCL didn’t outline a price or availability for the Alto R1 beyond a release sometime in 2021. More wired options are in the pipeline, though. An Alto 82i with Dolby Atmos and dual subwoofers is due in the third quarter, while the less elaborate, 3.2.1-channel Alto 8e is due in the second quarter. A third, unnamed “premium” soundbar is in the works, too.
The R1 promises to be convenient and take some of the challenges out of soundbars. You are locking yourself into an ecosystem if you want the full benefit, though, so you’ll want to be careful if you think you might switch TV platforms in the next few years.