Roku announced on Wednesday the Roku Streaming Stick, a settop box the size of a USB flash drive rather than, say, a settop box. The device includes WiFi, a processor, memory, and the software necessary to deliver Internet streaming content to your TV without another box, without cables, and without the need for external power.
Roku Streaming Stick
The caveat is that it will require TV’s equipped with MHL-enabled HDMI ports, a new technology that delivers power through HDMI ports that’s not yet available in the wild. Best Buy announced that its Insignia line of TVs with MHL will roll out in 2012 in time for the Roku Streaming Stick. Roku said that all told, more than 100 vendors have committed to MHL.
Roku’s popular line of settop boxes deliver streaming content from companies like Netflix to TVs. It’s comparable to Apple’s Apple TV settop box, but for third party content.
The announcement comes in the thick of rumor season for an integrated TV set that Apple is reportedly working on. Google is also pushing its own Google TV integrated software for TVs, but Roku has been very successful with its line of settop boxes. The promise of no cables, no footprint, and no power supply could be enough to keet Roku competitive should Google TV gain traction or Apple unleash its own TV set this year.
Roku hasn’t announced pricing for the device, but the company’s current product line is priced between US$49.99 and $99.99. It will be available in the second half of 2012.