Google’s Chromecast is in for some competition as Roku, a well-known streaming box maker today unveiled Roku Stick, which streams content directly to the user’s TV. Stick connects to the TV’s HDMI port and streams video directly via a Wi-Fi connection, eliminating the need for any cables.
While the company already released a similar device back in 2012 called the Roku Ready Stick, this particular update will bring in a lot more features to the device. The major disadvantage of Ready Stick was that it worked with Mobile High Definition Link also known as MHL, a port which is still not available on the majority of TVs shipped. So, even though the company had a device like Chromecast way before Google, it actually did not do well in the market.
But the company is trying out its luck again with the new Roku Stick. The device will sell for $50 which although sounds cheap is still $15 more than Google’s Chromecast. However, at this extra price, users will get a free Roku remote as well as more apps for streaming videos to TV.
Currently, Chromecast lists 14 apps compatible for streaming to TV including Hulu Plus, Netflix and HBO Go. On the other hand, Roku Stick will offer a wider selection of apps, over 1500+ channels including the ones showing sports, music, movies, kids’ shows etc. In short, it will bring the entire Roku streaming experience to the user’s TV.
Apart from these features, users can cast content from YouTube and Netflix. They can even mirror their personal media to the TV. The company claims additional features like casting content from computers to TV will come to the device via future update.
After Chromecast was released, Roku’s sale of internet streaming players may have taken a hit due to its portable size and low cost. Therefore, it was essential for the company to release something that could take on Chromecast. Also, as Chromecast was backed by Google, it grew in popularity pretty fast and even became the second best-selling electronic item on Amazon, after Amazon’s own Kindle Paper e-Reader. In comparison, Roku’s $99 streaming player only ranks fifth in the same category on the website.
Being the cheapest device from Roku, it could outsell other steaming players from the company. Roku Stick is available for pre-order starting today from Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, Target.com, Walmart.com and Roku.com. It is expected to ship by next month, the same time it hits retail stores around the country.
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