Saratoga, Calif. — Roku formally introduced Wednesday the next generation of its popular Streaming Stick that will work with regular HDMI inputs but will not require MHL support, opening the field of use to virtually all HDMI-equipped TVs.
The new Streaming Stick (HDMI version) will carry a $49.99 suggested retail in the U.S. ($59.99 in Canada) and will ship to retailers and consumers in April.
It is available for pre-order now from the following: Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, BestBuy.com, BestBuy.ca, FutureShop.ca, LondonDrug.ca, Staples.ca, Target.com, Walmart.com, Walmart.ca, Roku.com and Roku.com/ca.
Unlike the previous version, which required an MHL-compliant HDMI port and a Roku operable TV remote, the new Roku Streaming Stick (HDMI version) will ship with its own remote control (no headphone jack included in the remote) and will connect with virtually any TV with an HDMI input. No cable connections or set-top devices are required, and the Streaming Stick can be easily concealed from view.
Roku pointed out that the new device is an elegant solution for wall-mounted TV applications, among other placements.
The stick will access Roku’s popular UI and menu system, offering an extensive list of over-the-top streaming partners and access to the Roku Store where users can add additional apps to the main screen.
Roku currently provides access to more than 1,200 channels in the U.S. and more than 750 channels in Canada, the U.K. and the Republic of Ireland, featuring movies, TV episodes, music, news, sports, kids' shows and free programming in up to 1080p video.
Recently launched channels include Conde´ Nast Entertainment, Showtime Anytime, Watch ESPN, Watch Disney Channel and YouTube.
Those who desire a mobile experience can use their smartphone or tablet (along with the free Roku apps for Android and iOS devices) to browse and select channels to stream.
They can also cast Netflix, YouTube and personal media from their devices to their TVs. Over time Roku will add additional mobile features such as the ability to cast content from a computer to the TV.
“The new Roku Streaming Stick gives consumers more choice for streaming entertainment to the TV than any other device,” said Jim Funk, Roku product management senior VP. “Consumers want a ton of entertainment, an easy way to search for movies and TV shows, and options to control the experience with a remote or mobile device. This new Roku Streaming Stick brings all that and more — and in a tiny form factor.”
Going forward, Roku said the original streaming stick (MHL/Roku Ready version), which the company launched in 2012, will be bundled at retail with Roku Ready devices.
In 2013, Roku certified 60 different products from 14 partners who shipped more than 2.5 million Roku Ready devices, most of which were televisions. There are currently 20 Roku Ready partners in the program.