Roku on Wednesday rolled out its new Streaming Stick device, essentially a wireless dongle about the size of a standard USB flash drive that you plug into your television for an instant IQ upgrade, transforming your dumb box into a Smart TV. Despite its diminutive size, the Streaming Stick is packed with built-in Wi-Fi, memory, and the same software as found in Roku's set-top box.
"Today’s Smart TVs become outdated in just a couple of years because as software evolves the hardware needs to be upgraded to keep pace.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," Roku said in a statement.
Valid point, but what exactly do you give up by going with Roku's Streaming Stick instead of the company's streaming set-top box? Absolutely nothing, according to Roku CEO Anthony Wood. In a video interview with USA Today, Wood said the Streaming Stick "completely integrates the Roku streaming platform into your TV" and that "it is the box in a stick form factor... it has everything the Roku player but it's in a small stick," minus the cables and power supply, of course.
Roku's Streaming Stick will ship in the second half of 2012 and sell for between $50 and $100.