Roku has introduced a consumer-version of its streaming stick, rounding out its line of players.
The Roku Streaming Stick, which will hit shelves April, is a small player that connects directly into the HDMI port of a "dumb TV." At $49, its price and feature set is on par with Roku's low-end set-top box, refreshed last fall. Like Roku's other products, the stick will give viewers access to 1,200 channels.
In 2013, Roku, one of Fast Company's Most Innovative Companies, sold 8 million players and streamed 1.7 billion hours, with devices averaging 13 hours per week. "That's a 70% increase [in streaming] over the previous year, and it's a good testimony that we're making it easy to find movies you want to watch and we're giving a lot of entertainment options," director of product management Lloyd Klarke told Fast Company.
This new Streaming Stick, known as the HDMI version, will compete with Google's $35 Chromecast, which Roku's CEO Anthony Wood previously downplayed. It won't be replacing the version Roku debuted two years ago, which is referred to as the Roku Ready version. Klarke said the two products serve different purposes. The one from 2012 doesn't require a power adapter and can be controlled by the TV remote. "It's for device manufacturers who want to add it as an integrated solution," Klarke explained. The new stick for consumers requires power via mini USB and is controlled by a standalone remote that's included or mobile app.