Roku has announced a new product that might give Chromecast some good competition.

The maker of set-top boxes unwrapped, Tuesday, the HDMI version of its Roku Streaming Stick that will sell for $50 in the United States. Resembling an ordinary USB drive, consumers who get the portable device will have access to more than a thousand channels, depending on where they are located, that feature movies, news, TV series, sports, kids' shows, and music.

The Streaming Stick can be pre-ordered now via online retail stores and is expected to be delivered, and at the same time hit the shelves of brick and mortar stores, in April.

"The new Roku Streaming Stick gives consumers more choice for streaming entertainment to the TV than any other device. 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," said Roku's senior vice president of product management Jim Funk.

The stick is packaged with a remote control that can be used to explore the Roku UI that provides access to the Channel Store, Roku Search, and shortcuts to their favorite content. Consumers can also use their mobile gadgets such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones using a free Roku app for iOS or Android to browse and pick the content that they want to stream.

Clearly, it will be a good fight in the market between the Roku Streaming Stick and Google's Chromecast. There is a good $15 difference between the two devices but the deciding factor for consumers will be the value offered by each.

Android fans will most likely stick it out with Chromecast and enjoy the benefit of streaming from Google Music and Google Play TV. However, reality bites that Roku has a more massive library of channels.

Roku can be powered using a USB but comes with an adapter for those TV sets without a USB port. It also comes with a physical Wi-Fi remote control unlike Chromecast that cannot be a standalone gadget. Chromecast users need their smartphones or tablets so it will mirror the content to their TV sets.

The cross-platform search capability of Roku gives users all the choices from popular channels such as Hulu Plus, Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Instant, among others. This gives consumers a quick view where they can get the content they want at a more affordable price.

The Roku Streaming Stick will sell for $60 in Canada and GBP 50 in the United Kingdom and in Ireland.

Roku plans to make the device even slimmer in the future and introduce a feature that will allow users to stream from their Internet browser, which it cannot do at the moment.

Roku's first version of the stick came out in 2012. Its sticker price is almost double compared to the latest Roku Streaming Stick.

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