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

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited March 2014
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.
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 42
    snovasnova Posts: 1,281member

      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.

  • Reply 2 of 42
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member

    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.

  • Reply 3 of 42
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,933member

    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?

  • Reply 4 of 42
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,963member
    sockrolid wrote: »
    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?
  • Reply 5 of 42
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,963member
    rob53 wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 42
    inklinginkling Posts: 731member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 42
    snovasnova Posts: 1,281member
    Not Chromecast killer. Google is just trying to break even on HW costs. I'm concerned it will be a Roku killer.
  • Reply 8 of 42
    irelandireland Posts: 17,459member
    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).
  • Reply 9 of 42
    bigpicsbigpics Posts: 1,346member
    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. 

  • Reply 10 of 42
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,195member
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 42
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,735member
    Race to the bottom?

    and ... 802.11 dual-band a/b/g/n ... really? How 2009.
  • Reply 12 of 42
    snovasnova Posts: 1,281member
    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? 

  • Reply 13 of 42
    snovasnova Posts: 1,281member
    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. 

  • Reply 14 of 42
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    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?

  • Reply 15 of 42
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member

    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?

  • Reply 16 of 42
    irelandireland Posts: 17,459member
    snova wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 42
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,735member
    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?
  • Reply 18 of 42
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,735member
    sockrolid wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 42
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,319member
    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. ;)
  • Reply 20 of 42
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member

    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?

Sign In or Register to comment.