Roku unveiled its new $50 Streaming Stick, which plugs into an HDMI port, delivers 1080p streaming, and has Google's Chromecast in its sight.
TV set-top boxes are becoming the next big thing. Apple recently declared that its Apple TV was no longer a hobby for the company, since it has sold over 13 million of its streaming boxes. Many reports claim Apple is getting ready to unveil an upgraded Apple TV that will have an app store and will include support for gaming.
Apple's biggest competitor in the set-top box streaming market is Roku, which has flooded the market with different Roku boxes at all different price points in a bid to try and overtake Apple. The company has just announced its new $50 Streaming Stick, which is a little bigger than a USB drive and plugs directly into your television's HDMI port. If you're thinking that the device sounds like Google's very popular $35 Chromecast streaming stick, that's exactly who Roku is targeting with its new device.
While the Roku Streaming Stick is a little more expensive than Google's Chromecast, Roku is highlighting the fact that it offers consumers a broader selection of apps/channels that stream popular content from Netflix, HBO Go, and Hulu Plus. Roku also benefits from having apps such as Major League Baseball, the NBA, as well as music and photo streaming services on board. In contrast, Google currently lists 14 apps that its Chromecast supports.
Roku is banking on capitalizing on the success of the Chromecast, but offering users much more content. considering the amount of content users will receive when compared to Google's streaming stick. Roku is also pushing the fact that, unlike Chromescast, users don't need to be tied to a smartphone, tablet or Chrome browser in order to use its service. That alone might be worth the extra $15 dollars. Roku is shipping its Streaming Stick with a very familiar remote control that makes using the service much easier than Google's Chromecast setup. Roku also has free Roku apps for both iOS and Android in case you prefer to use your mobile device to control the device.
Roku has announced that it is currently taking pre-orders for the Roku Streaming Stick and the device is expected to ship to customers sometime in April. Interested customer can place pre-orders from Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, Target.com, Walmart.com and Roku.com for the $49.99 Streaming Stick.