TCL has unveiled its latest Alto soundbars, which offer an affordable way of boosting a TV’s built-in sound. With the exception of the $59 Alto 3, all of the soundbars are certified as being “Roku TV Ready.” This means they should integrate seamlessly with TVs running Roku’s TV OS, allowing you to control and tune them with your TV’s remote. TCL’s Roku TV Ready soundbars range in price from $79 to $299.
At the top of the lineup is the Alto 9 Plus, which was first announced back at CES 2020. It’s equipped with Dolby’s Atmos, which adds height to the surround sound experience. However, rather than doing this with traditional upward-firing speakers, TCL says it’s using “virtual height channels” to create the impression of overhead sound, and the 3.1 soundbar also includes a dedicated wireless subwoofer. It supports Bluetooth, and it’s compatible with Chromecast and AirPlay 2 to stream content from your phone. The Alto 9 Plus is available now for $299.
One step down the lineup is the $179 Alto 8I, which will go on sale next month. The compromise here, according to Engadget, is that the 2.1-channel soundbar opts for dual internal subwoofers rather than having a separate unit. You still get support for Dolby Atmos and Bluetooth streaming, however. The soundbar is designed for TV’s that are 55-inches and larger.
The $79 Alto 6 and $129 Alto 6 Plus are slightly smaller, and are designed for TVs that are 40-inches in size or more. Both support Bluetooth, neither have Dolby Atmos, and only the more expensive Plus model comes with a dedicated subwoofer. They’ll be available at the end of the month, TCL says.
Finally, the Alto 3 will be the cheapest soundbar in the range when it launches next month for $59. It’s not Roku TV ready, there’s no Dolby Atmos support, there’s no dedicated subwoofer, and you don’t get the HDMI ARC input that’s available across the rest of the range. However, the soundbar is more compact, and is designed for 32-inch TVs and larger. Like the rest of the lineup, it includes Bluetooth streaming support.
TCL has a good reputation for offering TVs that strike a good balance between price and performance, and the TV’s built-in Roku software is simple while still offering a good range of streaming services. If you want a soundbar that seamlessly integrates with an existing TCL TV, then the company’s soundbars are shaping up to be a good option.