To Smart TV or not to Smart TV, that is the question. Or at least that was the question on consumers’ minds this holiday when many a retailer slashed pricing on just about every big screen TV under the sun. Well folks, Roku is looking to negate that part of the purchase decision process. Come this fall the company behind the Roku boxes will introduce the Roku Streaming Stick.
As you’ve no doubt sussed out, it is the same tech that is found in their boxes, yet this device weighs (and measures) in at about the size of a USB stick. However, don’t be fooled by its form factor, because it doesn’t plug into your TV’s USB port. Instead it jacks into your set’s HDMI port. But not just any HDMI port. Your TV will need to sport something called an MHL-enabled HDMI port. It’s a new standard that delivers power “and other critical elements” to whatever is plugged into it. But with this new standard at hand, your TV’s remote should be fully compatible with Roku’s Streaming Stick, allowing you to change your TV’s volume and the Netflix movie with the same device.
Inside the diminutive sized device, Roku has managed to stuff in not only the necessary processor to stream content from the greats, such as Netflix and Pandora, but WiFi so you won’t have to worry about plugging in an Ethernet cord and running that sleek setup you’ve worked so hard to attain. Insignia, Best Buy’s own TV brand, will be the first to package the Roku Streaming Stick in with a big screen TV, though it will be compatible with other brands, provided they meet they aforementioned spec.
Unfortunately, Roku is mum on price at this point (expect it to be $50-100), but we do know that it will hit retail shelves in the latter half of the year, closer to fall.