CES 2021: TCL unveils first Roku-friendly, truly wireless soundbar

CES 2021: TCL unveils first Roku-friendly wireless soundbar
(Image credit: TCL)

TCL wants to help you banish messy cables and extra remotes with a new smart soundbar that wirelessly connects to Roku TVs. 

Launched at CES 2021, the TCL Alto R1 is the TV maker's first foray into wireless soundbars and the first to feature Roku's own WiFi Audio streaming technology. Simply plug the power cable in, turn it on and the device automatically pairs with your TCL Roku TV. 

No HDMI or optical cable required – in theory, at least. Once the TV has detected the Alto R1, you'll be walked through a simple on-screen set-up and given the chance to tweak the sound to suit your space. 

Aside from cutting down on copper spaghetti, TCL says the device brings "ease of use with only one remote" and "regular and automatic software updates". 

As with wired, Roku-friendly soundbars you'll be able use your TV's existing remote to control the sound. You may also benefit from improved audio synching, although that's yet to be confirmed.

So far, TCL has remained coy about the R1's specs, price and release date but we do know that it will feature Bluetooth for music streaming. In the meantime, you may want to consider whether you're willing to risk your cash on a soundbar that is tied to a single smart TV platform.

On the lookout for a wired soundbar? TCL is also launching two wired options in the second half of this year: the Alto 82i and Alto 8e. 

The TCL Alto 82i is Dolby Atmos-capable,  boasts built-in subwoofers, and support for Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple AirPlay. The Alto 8e will be bundled with a wireless subwoofer and upfiring Atmos speakers. 


Read all the latest CES 2021 news

TCL to launch 8K, Mini-LED and QLED Google TVs this year

Samsung 2021 TV lineup: everything you need to know

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

Read more about how we test