If you’re trying to think of something to give to for Father’s Day June 18th, you might want to think about upgrading his home theater. Dads love their movies and sports.
If he’s still using the same TV from 10 years ago, it’s time to upgrade.
There are endless choices from many brands and some of the descriptions are a little confusing. Different brands have different technology such as UHD, OLED, ULED, AND QLED. If you’re looking for a big screen for Dad, try to stick to TVs that are OLED, ULED, or QLED. Hold off on the 8K sets. Save some money and get him a 4K TV. TVs with a high refresh rate are best for gaming and watching sports. He may also need lots of HDMI ports to plug in gaming systems, streaming devices, DVD players, and other add-ons.
4k TVs look great but they sound just okay. TVs are so thin now it’s hard to put good speakers in them so he’ll need a sound system. There are plenty to choose from and you can spend thousands of dollars on home professional systems from Bose, Sonos, Sony, Klipsch, and JBL. These top-of-the-line brands can cost thousands of dollars. Roku loaned me their sound system for review. They sent two satellite speakers, a soundbar, and a subwoofer.
The Streambar Pro has ROKU built in so Dad doesn’t need a streaming stick or other gadget to get Netflix, Hulu, Prime, and other channels. All TVs are “smart” these days but the ROKU interface is often much easier to navigate. It also comes with a voice-search remote control with an earphone jack and earbuds if you don’t want to be disturbed while dad is watching “Top Gun Maverick” for the 1,000th time. The sound from the Streambar Pro is far better than what I got from the TV speakers.
It isn’t a complete surround sound system but the Streaming Pro does have a great sound that adds crisp audio with a lot more depth to sports, gaming, or movie soundtrack. If you’re just starting to build a home theater system, a soundbar is the first piece to add.
The second piece in a surround sound system adds a feel to what you’re watching. If you’ve ever watched a movie at a friend’s house with a surround sound system you may have “felt” a movie. A subwoofer adds deep bass which can be house-shaking. The Roku Wireless Bass Pro connects to the Soundbar over Bluetooth so you won’t need wires to get the sound. It does require a power cable but other than that it’s wireless.
Adding the Roku components to the home theater experience is very simple. Once the additional speaker is plugged in the Streambar Pro detects it and adds it to the system. There are just a few steps in settings but I found the Roku made that very easy and it took just a few minutes to connect.
A subwoofer is a must-have for deeper sounds such as thunder, rockets taking off, and jet engines.
Finally, I added a pair of rear speakers that prioritize sound effects like music and rain falling. This is the background audio that supplements the dialogue from the stream bar and the bass from the subwoofer.
In “Top Gun Maverick” the rear speakers made it sound like the jets whizzing by on screen, were whizzing by in the room. The Roku wireless speakers are also wireless. Did I mention how great it is to eliminate wires in your home theater? As long as the speakers are within 30′ or so of the stream bar they connect and play just as if there’s an audio cable connected.
Once it’s all put together I felt the Roku surround sound system made it seem like a movie theater experience.
It’s difficult to compare it directly to the sound you’d get from a higher-end system but I think for most folks in most rooms, the Roku system is an exceptional bargain. Each component costs between $150-$180.
Surround sound systems can be found in an all-in-one package but in my experience, some of those have proprietary cables and connections but some now are wireless. Picking up a boxed system that is the same brand as your TV may be a good option, but you can still pay over $1,000 for a soundbar, woofer, and two speakers. If you don’t want to go that route, you can add the speakers one by one. Maybe start with the soundbar for Father’s Day, the subwoofer for his birthday, and the rear speakers for Christmas. We all need gift ideas for those days, don’t we?