Roku Releases "Streaming Stick," a Thumb Drive-Sized Device Set to Take On the Apple TV
The well-established streaming set-top box company, Roku, recently took the wraps off the latest version of the “Streaming Stick,” a thumb drive-size device aimed at the Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast streamers. The second-gen Streaming Stick delivers Roku’s usual assortment of over 1,200 channels and 31,000 movies, as well as casting of Netflix, YouTube and personal media from a smartphone or tablet, in up to 1080p resolutions. The thing that sets this device aside is that the unit acts and feels like a set-top streamer but is kept out of sight behind an HDTV’s panel.
Connecting via HDMI, the stick is similar to that of Google’s Chromecast, but with an on-screen interface and dedicated physical remote control. Since the device connects over HDMI, a USB power source is also needed. Roku includes a USB cable and wall adapter though users can connect the stick to their HDTV’s USB if it is equipped with one. The onboard communications suite supports the following Wi-Fi connections: 802.11 dual-band a/b/g/n with WEP, WPA, and WPA2.
Coming in at $50, the Streaming Stick is more expensive than Google’s offering but it does come with access to more content. When compared to the Apple TV, the Roku doesn’t have access to the iTunes Store meaning that users with large iTunes libraries may be better off with the Apple branded device equivalent, the Apple TV.
Those of you interested in ordering the Roku Streaming Stick can preorder it from the company’s website with an expected ship-by date sometime in April.