Yamaha YAS-209 soundbar provides excellent sound in a compact size...

Yamaha YAS-209 soundbar provides excellent sound in a compact size and has Amazon Alexa voice control built in. Credit: CBS Interactive

A good soundbar will enhance the sound profile of your TV, and consolidate the number of boxes on your TV cabinet. Voice assistants, music streaming and even video streaming are features you can expect from the best soundbars out there. Soundbars of good quality don't cost an arm and a leg anymore, either, with prices starting at about $100.

There are considerable differences between a smart soundbar and a smart TV. Smart TVs come with onboard streaming apps. A smart soundbar usually means the speaker has an onboard voice assistant like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.

Of course, all soundbars work with most TVs, regardless of whether either device is smart or not. But if you're looking for an all-in-one streaming speaker and voice assistant, check out these three models.

WHAT Roku Streambar

THE COST $99.99


The compact and affordable Roku Streambar plugs into your TV's HDMI ARC port and works as both a 4K streamer and a soundbar. The Streambar is easy to set up, and it sounds good for the size, particularly with dialogue. To make the soundbar truly smart, the $30 Voice Remote Pro adds an always-on voice assistant that's handy for finding new shows, and even the remote itself. The biggest con is that it lacks bass in movies and music

WHAT Yamaha YAS-209

THE COST $349.95

AVAILABLE FROM usa.yamaha.com

The Yamaha YAS-209 offers excellent sound quality in a compact soundbar with Amazon Alexa voice control built in. The mics work well in loud environments and you can use them when you're streaming music. The soundbar offers DTS Virtual:X surround sound processing and a wireless subwoofer. The YAS-209 doesn't use the company's MusicCast system, though, so you can't sync up with other Yamaha speakers. On on-screen display feature would be a nice addition.

WHAT Sonos Arc



The Sonos Arc is pricey but you do get a long for the hefty tag. Think of it as the grown-up version of Sonos' Beam and offers a number of upgrades for the extra cash. The first is the use of dedicated, upfiring Dolby Atmos speakers which gives it an edge in movies, and the second is more drivers and a bigger cabinet for better bass performance. I doesn't offer Bluetooth streaming, otherwise this is another great Sonos offering with the choice of voice assistants and the best music streaming ecosystem.

The following CNET staff contributed to this story: senior associate editor Ty Pendlebury and copy editor Jim Hoffman. For more reviews of personal technology products, visit cnet.com.

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