Set-top box maker Roku -one of Google TV and Apple TV’s biggest competitors- unveiled a new iteration of its award-winning Smart TV solution today. However, this time, they shrunk it down to the size of a USB stick that allows you to plug it right into your TVs MHL-enabled HDMI port. The device, called the Roku Streaming Stick, packs in built-in Wi-Fi, a processor, and memory, and includes all of the features currently available in their current set-top box.
According to Roku’s press release, the new cable-free, smaller form factor is ideal for delivering smart TV capabilities to consumers who typically do not replace their TVs often. That model differs from both Apple and Google, especially with Apple expected to launch an HDTV and Google pushing the GoogleTV platform built-in to TVs from vendors like Sony:
Today’s Smart TVs become outdated in just a couple of years because as software evolves the hardware needs to be upgraded to keep pace. While short hardware product cycles are expected with mobile devices such as smart phones, consumers generally keep their TVs for six to eight years. By moving the streaming platform to a stick that’s easily replaceable, consumers no longer have to worry about their large-screen Smart TV becoming obsolete before its time.
Official pricing has not been announced, but CEO Anthony Wood told All Things D the device would be available in the second half of 2012 for between $50 and $100. Roku also plans to have TV vendors bundle the Roku Streaming Stick with new TVs.