The TCL Alto R1 is the first Roku Ready wireless soundbar

TCL Roku Ready Wireless Soundbar
The TCL Roku Ready Alto R1 wireless soundbar, announced at CES 2021. (Image credit: TCL)

We knew TCL would be bringing the first Roku Ready wireless soundbar to the virtual CES 2021, and here it is.

The name describes it perfectly. It's a wireless soundbar — meaning that there's nothing to connect to the television. (You'll still have to plug it in for power, of course.) And it's Roku Ready, meaning that it's got the Roku operating system built in to help it seamless connect to a Roku TV.

That's important for a couple reasons. First is that it should eliminate any audio lag that makes sound and speech fall out of sync. Second is that it'll integrate the sound bar's settings directly into the Roku TV user interface. And that means you can tweak things all you want without having to find another remote control or (worse) use an app. It's all right there, built into your Roku TV.

Setup also should be much easier. Like other Roku wireless speakers, you'll just plug it in, and your Roku TV will do the rest of the work.

And because Roku is nothing if not backward compatible, it should work just fine with Roku TVs from the past few years, and not just with the new stuff.

TCL also says that other non-wireless audio options will be coming later this year, including the Alto 82i soundbar with Dolby Atmos, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple AirPlay 2 built in. It'll launch in the third quarter.

Also coming later this year is the 3.2.1 Alto 8e, which also will sport Dolby Atmos, Alexa, Google Assistant, AirPlay 2 and Spotify compatibility, along with a wireless subwoofer and upfiring speakers. And a third premium soundbar with Atmos will be announced later, too.

Phil Nickinson

Phil spent his 20s in the newsroom of the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, his 30s on the road for and Mobile Nations and is the Dad part of Modern Dad.