September 20, 2012
Performance And Speed Promised In New Roku Streaming Flash Drive
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
At the beginning of the year, Roku announced a new product capable of bringing many of the features from their existing content-delivery boxes into a tiny, USB Flash Drive-sized stick. Though this stick lacks the extra ports you´d find from Roku's normal boxes, the easily pocketable stick is said to bring the exact same performance and speed as its larger cousins.
Today, some 8 months after they first introduced this magic-stick-that-could, Roku is announcing pricing and a release date, as well as some new additional features.
Arriving next month, Roku´s Streaming Stick will only set customers back $99, the current asking price for their most advanced box, the Roku 2 XS.
Though much smaller and much more unobtrusive, the Streaming Stick is capable of delivering your favorite content and Roku channels as it sits out of the way, plugged into the back of the television.
The power-packed Streaming Stick won´t work on all USB-enabled televisions, however. Newer TVs are more likely to be compatible with Streaming Stick, which uses a Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) technology. Roku is also working with other television manufacturers, such as Hitachi, Mitsubishi and Onkyo, to bring MHL-support to future TV sets.
In addition to announcing availability, Roku has also announced which TV sets will be compatible with their new stick, including 2 models from Best Buy´s own Insignia line.
Roku doesn´t only want TV's to be built with MHL compatibility, they also want to persuade these makers to build the Streaming Stick directly into the innards of the thing, ready to be taken home and used with Roku´s remote controls. In the first months of its availability, Roku Streaming Stick will be available through Roku.com and Amazon.com. The company has plans to begin selling their smart stick in brick-and-mortar outlets later, however.
Roku also announced a partnership with Walmart´s Vudu digital movie store, making any movie found on Vudu available to buy or rent on Roku 2, Roku HD and Roku LT players. These videos offer premium, high-def quality, including 1080p picture and Dolby 5.1 and 7.1 sound.
When used with Roku´s mobile app (which in itself can be used as a remote control for Roku boxes) Play On Roku allows users to stream their music and photos straight to their television. Unfortunately, Play On Roku misses one huge area of potential, as it doesn´t provide the ability to stream video to the television.
It´s hard not to talk about Apple whenever Roku is the topic at hand.
For many looking for streaming boxes or ways to cut the cable cord in their living room, the final decision often comes down to Apple TV or a Roku box. While Apple offers their usual tight integration of their entire eco-system, Roku does provide more functionality and features.
Roku´s cheapest box is also priced lower than Apple´s TV option, making it even more attractive to potential customers. While Apple still considers their TV options to be “a hobby,” television is Roku´s only business, and so far they´ve been able to raise $77 million in funding since they were founded in 2008, according to TechCrunch. With more than 630 channels available on the Roku network– with more added everyday– the Roku might be in a strong position to keep Apple at bay for the time being.