Roku has now come out with a smaller box for streaming HD video internet TV. Roku announced before the consumer electronics show where new TVs are announced, their new Streaming Stick that looks like a USB drive only in the form of a HDMI. Roku’s Streaming stick will be compatible with the new MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) standard. MHL provides power to the stick from the HDMI input for internet TV.
Roku company said in a news release, “MHL is a new standard that uses the HDMI connector on TVs to deliver power and other critical elements for the streaming of internet TV experience. MHL is currently adopted by nearly 100 hardware and manufacturing vendors.” So the device won’t work with most TVs. Only a few TV’s are MHL compatible such as Toshiba, Sony and Samsung.
Roku’s idea with the Streaming Stick was to eliminate cords and device boxes that make your smart TV area look cluttered and take up space. Roku founder Anthony Wood says, “With an easy-to-replace stick, if you want to upgrade the streaming on your internet TV, you pop it out and replace it with a new one.” He added, “Extending the Roku streaming experience through the Roku Streaming Stick to a smart TV is a natural next step for the market for HD video.”
James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research says, “A stick is a better deal for consumers than a box. It’s less intimidating, and it’s portable. You can take it with you on vacation, plug it into a hotel smart TV like an USB flash drive. People will like the portability like mobile video.”
The Streaming Stick will be available later in the year at Best Buy where it will be bundled with their Insgnia Smart TV. They will also sell the Roku Streaming stick individually for $50 – $100.
Roku is a video streaming player which allows you to stream in apps like the Netflix Application, Hulu, Amazon instant video, and more than 400 different online entertainment options with HD video onto your TV.
Kurt Scherf, Parks Associates principal analyst said, “Smart TV manufacturers have struggled to find an application platform that sticks with consumers especially since software is not their area of expertise. The Roku Streaming Stick is a game changer for the Smart TV market and HD Video. It takes the leading streaming platform and integrates into the Smart TV in a way that no one has been able to do before.”
Google tried to get onboard with their new 1080p Google TV offering internet TV, but didn’t make it very far.