Roku sees a future when we will all have a Roku Streaming Stick plugged into the back of our televisions. It has to be the future, however, because most televisions are currently incapable of powering the device.
The idea of streaming video content directly to a television set was pie in the sky just a few years ago, but now there are numerous methods for achieving this, and more are being added all the time.
Roku is an established company with an established product. Its set-top box started life in 2008 as a means for Netflix subscribers to watch content on their TVs. But Netflix expanded to multiple other devices, while Roku added more content.
There are now a range of different Roku set-top boxes available, and the company is breaking out of its self-imposed U.S. borders to launch in the U.K. and Canada sometime in 2012.
Roku Streaming Stick
Meanwhile, back in the States, Roku is talking up its new product. Named the Roku Streaming Stick, this can be considered the next generation of Roku devices.
The Roku Streaming Stick is only the size of a USB memory stick, and yet has all the capabilities of a full-sized Roku box. The device plugs into a MHL (Mobile High-definition Link) port, which is the new breed of HDMI. MHL ports power devices plugged into them as well as connecting them to the TV.
The beauty of this product is it will be updated regularly with new features and improved UI designs. The same cannot be said for the software powering smart TV sets, with hardware manufacturers spending little time on honing the user experience.
The Roku Streaming Stick is a nice idea, but it’s arrived at a strange time. In a few years when all new television sets are sold with MHL ports then it could be a winner, but right now it can only be considered a niche product.
Roku hopes to launch the Streaming Stick in the second half of 2012 and expects it to be priced between $50 and $100.
[Via The Wall Street Journal]