/// Roku to Launch Streaming Stick in October — And Then Wait for Consumers to Catch Up to New TV Standard

September 20, 2012  |  All Things Digital

If there’s one thing that can be said about Roku devices — set-top boxes that stream Internet video to TV sets — it’s that they’re easy to use. Which is why it’s so surprising that Roku is complicating its newest device by attaching it to a technical standard that’s not yet widely adopted. You might have heard of the Roku Streaming Stick: We’ve covered it ( here and here ) before. Essentially, it’s Roku’s top-of-the-line 2 XS box compressed into a tiny dongle, one not much bigger than a thumb drive. The dongle plugs into a port on the back of your TV to offer you the same streaming video apps you’d get from the bigger box. Like magic, it transforms your “dumb,” or non-Internet-connected TV, into a “smart TV.” The Streaming Stick, which Roku has been teasing since this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in January, is finally coming to market in mid- to late October, the company said yesterday in an interview. It costs $99, and comes with a remote. Even better, it has dual-band Wi-Fi, for faster, higher-quality HD streaming, and has double the onboard memory of the Roku box. But don’t throw your Roku box out the window just yet, because there’s a catch: The Streaming Stick works only with MHL-equipped TV sets. MHL is a new technical standard set by a consortium of electronics makers in December 2010. So far, about 100 manufacturers worldwide are deploying MHL smartphones and TVs. Roku says consumers can expect to see more MHL devices coming out of next year’s CES. But, in the case of the Streaming Stick, there are currently only two MHL-friendly Insignia TV’s — Best Buy’s in-house brand — available on the market. In the coming weeks, seven MHL-equipped Hitachi TVs will become available, followed by four Apex TVs. The Streaming Stick can also work with select Blu-ray players, but Roku hasn’t announced any compatible models yet. So, why would Roku go with the MHL standard? Well, the California-based start-up has a few compelling reasons. While MHL port looks the same, physically, as an HDMI port, the MHL port channels power from the host device to keep the connected device running. So, the TV will juice the Roku Streaming Stick, which means there are no wires attached to this device

Roku to Launch Streaming Stick in October — And Then Wait for Consumers to Catch Up to New TV Standard

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