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Roku distills set-top box into $50 'Streaming Stick' with on-screen interface, physical remote

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
Video streaming experts Roku on Tuesday took the wraps off the latest version of the "Streaming Stick," a thumb drive-sized device aimed at the Apple TV and Google's Chromecast streamers.

Roku


The second-generation 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. Most important 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 akin to 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 port if so equipped. The onboard communications suite supports 802.11 dual-band a/b/g/n with WEP, WPA, and WPA2.

At $50, the Streaming Stick is more expensive than Google's offering, but comes with access to more content. Compared to the Apple TV, the Roku does not have access to the iTunes Store, meaning users with large iTunes libraries may be better off with the Apple branded version.

The Roku Streaming Stick can be preordered from the company's website with an expected ship-by date sometime in April.
post #2 of 43

  Roku has some good ideas, like head phone jacks in their remotes. Not sure it's a good idea for Roku, from a margin point of view, to be chasing Google based on pricing.

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post #3 of 43
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Connecting via HDMI, the stick is akin to Google's Chromecast, but with an on-screen interface and dedicated physical remote control.

 

Chromecast killer.

 

 

Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Compared to the Apple TV, the Roku does not have access to the iTunes Store, meaning users with large iTunes libraries may be better off with the Apple branded version.
 

Not an Apple TV killer.

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post #4 of 43

How does the remote work when it's behind the TV? I have everything going through my receiver to my home theater speaker system. This Roku would need to plug into my receiver to work and would only work if the remote uses something other than infrared. I doubt it uses the TVs remote sensor, or does it?

post #5 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

Chromecast killer.


Not an Apple TV killer.

What's with the silly obsession of a device having to kill another one in order to do well?
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post #6 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

How does the remote work when it's behind the TV? I have everything going through my receiver to my home theater speaker system. This Roku would need to plug into my receiver to work and would only work if the remote uses something other than infrared. I doubt it uses the TVs remote sensor, or does it?

Through wifi.
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post #7 of 43
I wonder how these WiFi-dependent gadgets work in high-density areas? I've seen high-rise condo locations where WiFi will pick up two dozen or more stations at once. With that much interference and continual high-data-rate streaming, that video might get erratic.
post #8 of 43
Not Chromecast killer. Google is just trying to break even on HW costs. I'm concerned it will be a Roku killer.
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post #9 of 43
Having to power the device via USB/plug ruins the elegance such device would have otherwise. This very fact kind of ruins the whole point of making such a tiny device. By not having to cram everything into a USB stick you've room to beef up these devices with real power. One thing the Apple TV desperately needs is an out-of-the-box Bluetooth remote (I'm assuming the Roku remote is Wifi, but regardless).
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post #10 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


What's with the silly obsession of a device having to kill another one in order to do well?

 

You might start with asking people who bet big on the BlackBerry ecosystem, because they - and the owners investors in hundreds of thousands of brands that lost enough mind and market share to go belly up (or effectively so) in the last 50 years - know the answer. 

The tech biz (and any enterprise-sized business) isn't softball.  Lots is on the line for inventors, employees, users and more in these strategic decisions as to where to go next. 

Which is why people are antsy that Apple hasn't introduced any new really disruptive mass market products in a few now, while you can't even keep track of all of Google's announced initiatives, let alone whatever's going on in their skunk works. 

On the other hand, Microsoft has recently introduced disruptive tech - Win 8 has disrupted its own most strategic product, Windows itself, and not in a good way for the company. 

 

"Mistakes were made" would be a common epitaph if corporations had headstones in cemeteries.....

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Having to power the device via USB/plug ruins the elegance such device would have otherwise. This very fact kind of ruins the whole point of making such a tiny device. By not having to cram everything into a USB stick you've room to beef up these devices with real power. One thing the Apple TV desperately needs is an out-of-the-box Bluetooth remote (I'm assuming the Roku remote is Wifi, but regardless).

 

More a lack of foresight in the HDMI spec that didn't foresee a need to power plugged in devices ala the way USB does.  So little Roku or Google, etc. can do except add a power outlet for the moment. 

 

Also, if TV's are going to start to be these kind of device hubs (e.g., I'm running drives, charging phones, vaping on an e-cig, etc.), they'll probably need to upgrade their power supplies and other components the way PC's had to. 

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post #11 of 43
What disappoints me is that it's not 802.11ac. Sure there aren't many things that are but some of us are lucky enough to have high sped internet and a router that is so having compatible devices would be nice.

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post #12 of 43
Race to the bottom?

and ... 802.11 dual-band a/b/g/n ... really? How 2009.
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post #13 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

What disappoints me is that it's not 802.11ac. Sure there aren't many things that are but some of us are lucky enough to have high sped internet and a router that is so having compatible devices would be nice.

300Mbit 802.11n is not enough? 

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post #14 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

 One thing the Apple TV desperately needs is an out-of-the-box Bluetooth remote (I'm assuming the Roku remote is Wifi, but regardless).

hmm.. interesting.  Honestly never felt Bluetooth was a need for myself personally.  Not sure what it would give me that I can't already do with IR and/or Wifi.   It might be interesting to have it, but since I don't know why I need it, I honestly can't see how I am in desperately need of it. 


Edited by snova - 3/4/14 at 9:35pm
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post #15 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

What disappoints me is that it's not 802.11ac. Sure there aren't many things that are but some of us are lucky enough to have high sped internet and a router that is so having compatible devices would be nice.


Obviously the spec is sufficient for streaming HD content to fulfill it's intended purpose.  Why does it need a higher capacity AC?  In what way could you utilise that extra capacity if it had it?

post #16 of 43
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

What's with the silly obsession of a device having to kill another one in order to do well?

 

It's a crisp, easily-undersood colloquialism.

What's silly about that?

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post #17 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by snova View Post

hmm.. interesting.  Honestly never felt Bluetooth was a need for myself personally.  Not sure what it would give me that I can't already do with IR and/or Wifi.   It might be interesting to have it, but since I don't know why I need it, I honestly can't see how I am in desperately need of it. 

Not needing line of sight is such a pleasure. Never one having to point my PS3 remote at the Playstation; a pleasure. We've an ornamental table in the centre of our living room which never cause signal issue to the TV and PS3, but does the Apple TV.
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post #18 of 43
If they get the price down to about $5 the Android users might jump on this for their home TVs, oh wait ... do they have internet at home?
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post #19 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

It's a crisp, easily-undersood colloquialism.
What's silly about that?

Well blow me down and shiver me' timbers, your explanation hit me like a brick. Perhaps some people are as thick as a plank and just don't understand colorful English.
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post #20 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

If they get the price down to about $5 the Android users might jump on this for their home TVs, oh wait ... do they have internet at home?

Don't you remember reading about it? Big ol' Google balloons are bringing the internet to the masses of poor and disadvantaged. 1wink.gif
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post #21 of 43

If I were a Roku guy, I'd stick with my old Roku instead.  Luckily I'm an Apple TV guy so I don't have to worry about it.

 

What Apple TV does need this next go-round is a browser.  I thought it was dumb before, because you can simply mirror- but after being in a hotel and trying to connect my Apple TV to their wifi- what a beating.  The majority of hotels I stay at you need to "log in" to their wifi- not just with a simple password, but through safari.  Currently- I have to connect my MacBook to the internet via wifi/safari, and share my ethernet connection with my Apple TV.  Not elegant to say the least.

 

I am so freakin giddy for the refresh- lets bring it already Apple- what could possibly be the hold up?

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post #22 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

If I were a Roku guy, I'd stick with my old Roku instead.  Luckily I'm an Apple TV guy so I don't have to worry about it.

What Apple TV does need this next go-round is a browser.  I thought it was dumb before, because you can simply mirror- but after being in a hotel and trying to connect my Apple TV to their wifi- what a beating.  The majority of hotels I stay at you need to "log in" to their wifi- not just with a simple password, but through safari.  Currently- I have to connect my MacBook to the internet via wifi/safari, and share my ethernet connection with my Apple TV.  Not elegant to say the least.

I am so freakin giddy for the refresh- lets bring it already Apple- what could possibly be the hold up?

What's there to worry about? Roku is not ceasing production nor support for the 'old' Roku. This is just another option.
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post #23 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


What's there to worry about? Roku is not ceasing production nor support for the 'old' Roku. This is just another option.

That was my point.  I'd rather spend the extra $49 and stick with a Roku 3.

 

But I don't understand their point.  Outside of looking like the Chromecast- it doesnt do what the Chromecast does.  The only benefit to this vs the $49 Roku box is that it is a little more portable?  Not sure that was worth the R&D/packaging costs though...

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post #24 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

That was my point.  I'd rather spend the extra $49 and stick with a Roku 3.

But I don't understand their point.  Outside of looking like the Chromecast- it doesnt do what the Chromecast does.  The only benefit to this vs the $49 Roku box is that it is a little more portable?  Not sure that was worth the R&D/packaging costs though...

If one can cast YouTube to it from a smartphone and/or tablet then it does exactly what the Chromecast can do. Google removed the YouTube app from the Roku a few years ago. I do however see your point and I'd say that they should have added the casting functionality to their current lineup.
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post #25 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


If one can cast YouTube to it from a smartphone and/or tablet then it does exactly what the Chromecast can do. Google removed the YouTube app from the Roku a few years ago. I do however see your point and I'd say that they should have added the casting functionality to their current lineup.

Forgive me if I have this messed up- haven't ever used a Chromecast- but doesn't chromecast allow you to "mirror" anything on the Chrome browser to your TV?  Say I was watching a rerun of Survivor on CBS' webpage- I could stream that similarly to Airplay (although a more inferior version).

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post #26 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

Forgive me if I have this messed up- haven't ever used a Chromecast- but doesn't chromecast allow you to "mirror" anything on the Chrome browser to your TV?  Say I was watching a rerun of Survivor on CBS' webpage- I could stream that similarly to Airplay (although a more inferior version).

You know, I didn't think about it that way because I've only used my smartphone to cast to it, so the Roku will accept casting from a smartphone/tablet, but not from a computer. I was wrong in saying that Roku is 'exactly' like the Chromecast. It's missing some functionality while adding different ones.
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post #27 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


What's with the silly obsession of a device having to kill another one in order to do well?

Drama queens everywhere.

post #28 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

Forgive me if I have this messed up- haven't ever used a Chromecast- but doesn't chromecast allow you to "mirror" anything on the Chrome browser to your TV?  Say I was watching a rerun of Survivor on CBS' webpage- I could stream that similarly to Airplay (although a more inferior version).

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


You know, I didn't think about it that way because I've only used my smartphone to cast to it, so the Roku will accept casting from a smartphone/tablet, but not from a computer. I was wrong in saying that Roku is 'exactly' like the Chromecast. It's missing some functionality while adding different ones.

 

I have one. And you can, yes, cast from the Chrome Browser on PC's and Macs - but (oddly) NOT from from the Chrome browser on phones. Weird since they're both Google web deals.

However, you're not mirroring. The original device hands the URL to the Chromecast which is basically a headless Android device, and once started, it takes over streaming duties, allowing you to return to any other app or task on your computer or phone.  Which is a nice feature. 

 

 

And you can then go back to that URL on your device to shut off the cast or otherwise control it.  This includes being able to add other castable content to a play queue.

(Note: if you quit and restart the app you started the cast from, you lose control and have to let it play out or restart a new cast, etc. or even, I suppose, physically reboot the CC....) 

Casting from Play Music or YouTube from your phone (or any visiting friend's Android phone - dunno about iPhones) - will route your music through your TV's sound system, no other apps or configuration required except joining your home LAN.

 

You can also cast Netflix and a few others - plus YouTube. And I believe they've just released API's that other developers can use to add casting capability. The number of cast sources is really quite limited for now, though.

PS: YouTube casting really pisses me off:  Lots of vids that will play on your computer and phone are prohibited from being cast.  Which basically makes your playlists pretty useless.  I don't see what the DRM obsessed content owners find more egregious about putting music on a big screen than on other devices (with screens of any size) they allow it to play on....


Edited by bigpics - 3/6/14 at 10:45am

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post #29 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by snova View Post

hmm.. interesting.  Honestly never felt Bluetooth was a need for myself personally.  Not sure what it would give me that I can't already do with IR and/or Wifi.   It might be interesting to have it, but since I don't know why I need it, I honestly can't see how I am in desperately need of it. 

Not needing line of sight is such a pleasure. Never one having to point my PS3 remote at the Playstation; a pleasure. We've an ornamental table in the centre of our living room which never cause signal issue to the TV and PS3, but does the Apple TV.

To me the biggest problem with the Apple IR remote is that it is so small it is easily lost.  On the positive side, the AppleTV "learn 3rd party IR remote" allows you to use other remotes.   For line of site, problems Wifi works for me.  However, I can see a point where you want to use bundled remote instead of expensive iDevice as remote.  To be fair, AppleTV does support Bluetooth input devices. You may use Bluetooth Keyboard for example if you like.   Given the choice of losing the AppleTV IR remote and being able to use any 3rd party remote, vs losing an AppleTV Bluetooth remote and having to replace it with a 3rd party Bluetooth remote, I'll take the IR path.  YMMV.

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post #30 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

If they get the price down to about $5 the Android users might jump on this for their home TVs, oh wait ... do they have internet at home?

is $5 with or without the batteries for the remote?

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post #31 of 43

Roku consoles are still the market leader here. Many brands have adopted the Roku interface in their smart TVs. Apple TV is good only when you buy a lot of media from iTunes. But then Android share is way higher than that of IOS.

post #32 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by peter236 View Post

Roku consoles are still the market leader here. Many brands have adopted the Roku interface in their smart TVs.

In what way? Because if it's sales of units or sales of media on the unit- Apple TV is the clear cut winner- by a healthy margin.

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post #33 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

In what way? Because if it's sales of units or sales of media on the unit- Apple TV is the clear cut winner- by a healthy margin.

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post #34 of 43
it would be nice if they supported the HDMI CEC protocol. I use that with my tv and a Raspberry Pi and it works really well.
post #35 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


Roku announced April 2013 that they have sold 5 million units since launch in 2008 with Apple having sold 13 million. Your chart isn't close to correct as it's based off a study of 10,000 US households.




http://gigaom.com/2013/04/10/roku-five-million-players-sold/

I really don't understand what your angle is- you're pretty anti-apple. Did you even read the article where you got that chart- it clearly says apple is the largest share. Here. Read again.
Quote:
The company can’t keep up with Apple (AAPL), which sold 13 million Apple TVs worldwide by the end of May, with 6.5 million of those sales coming in the previous 12 months. Roku announced earlier in 2013 that it had sold 5 million of its devices in the U.S. over the past five years; the company says comparing its sales to Apple’s doesn’t make sense because of Apple’s global reach, but wouldn’t provide its own global numbers.
http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-09-25/rokus-survival-takes-more-than-beating-apple-tv

Please stop spreading mistruths.
Edited by Andysol - 3/6/14 at 6:27pm

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post #36 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

Roku announced April 2013 that they have sold 5 million units since launch in 2008 with Apple having sold 13 million. Your chart isn't close to correct as it's based off a study of 10,000 US households.




http://gigaom.com/2013/04/10/roku-five-million-players-sold/

I really don't understand what your angle is- you're pretty anti-apple. Did you even read the article where you got that chart- it clearly says apple is the largest share. Here. Read again.
http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-09-25/rokus-survival-takes-more-than-beating-apple-tv

Please stop spreading mistruths.

Actually I'm not anti-Apple. Apple sales are worldwide whereas the Roku is sold only in the US. I was just showing the stats of where they compete head to head. You gotta admit that out of all of Apple's competitors Roku is the strongest. It had an agreement with TWC months before Apple did.
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post #37 of 43

Whatever, I got a roku and an apple tV. Took the roku back a few days later. Clunky- NOT APPLE at all. TV was by far a better experience. Roku was so cheap ass clunky, I would have been embarrassed to show anyone.

BTW, I know 6 houses with TV in my neighborhood- none with roku. If there is one here, they are too embarrassed to admit it. Cant blame them, its human nature to feel that way when you buy/use inferior things.

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post #38 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

Actually I'm not anti-Apple. Apple sales are worldwide whereas the Roku is sold only in the US. I was just showing the stats of where they compete head to head. You gotta admit that out of all of Apple's competitors Roku is the strongest. It had an agreement with TWC months before Apple did.

Of course it's the strongest- as shown in my chart above. I also like the idea of a lot if their things- such as their headphones in remote.

I'm just trying to keep the facts straight- and not skewed. 13 mil is bigger than 5 mil (I'm sure there is an even larger disparity now).


So again- for anyone out there curious- apple is the leader in both sales of hardware and media by a very, very healthy margin.

2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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post #39 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

Of course it's the strongest- as shown in my chart above. I also like the idea of a lot if their things- such as their headphones in remote.

I'm just trying to keep the facts straight- and not skewed. 13 mil is bigger than 5 mil (I'm sure there is an even larger disparity now).


So again- for anyone out there curious- apple is the leader in both sales of hardware and media by a very, very healthy margin.

Yes 13 million is more than 5 mil but you're doing what androiders are criticized of doing, and that's comparing unequal markets. The ATV is available to a far greater number of people. Don't just look at the numbers at face value, I'm quite impressed that Roku has sold that many since they're virtually unknown, don't make other devices, and barely advertise. One doesn't have to be anti-Apple to see that this goldfish of a company has done quite well against a whale of a company like Apple.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #40 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigpics View Post

I have one. And you can, yes, cast from the Chrome Browser on PC's and Macs - but (oddly) NOT from from the Chrome browser on phones. Weird since they're both Google web deals.

It seems like you can now.

http://www.engadget.com/2014/03/05/chrome-34-beta-android/?utm_medium=feed&utm_source=Feed_Classic&utm_campaign=Engadget&ncid=rss_semi
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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