Roku’s new Streaming Stick works with most TVs for $50, notes Engadget. The company essentially crammed their Roku 1 box into a $50 dongle. You stick it in a TV’s HDMI slot and then stream from your wireless router. “Channel” selection is controlled from a remote.
While it’s not quite as cheap as the $35 Google Chromecast stick, it plays more streaming content, from over 1,000 niche channels of video programming.
Additional mobile features are promised, such as the ability to cast content from a computer to the TV.
Google is adding Chromecast support for Android. In addition to streaming video to your TV from apps like Netflix and Hulu Plus, you may soon visit websites using your Android phone or tablet and be able to send it to your TV, although its’ not an official feature, yet.
Google’s Chromecast stick generally needs a Chrome browser or dedicated app, unlike Intel’s WiDi or Miracast which are peer-to-peer wireless screencasting standards. The Miracast protocol uses a 5 GHz direct Wi-Fi connection between the two devices. Miracast mirrors your device screen, while Google’s Chromecast lets you surf the net while streaming a separate video channel to your TV.
Roku has a better selection of mainstream channels than rivals like Apple’s $99 TV box since it allows access to Netflix, Hulu Plus and HBO GO, Amazon Prime Instant Video, Vudu, Redbox Instant and others.
Why pay a service provider like Comcast $120/month when a tablet with a few $8/month subscription services can do the job?
The new Roku Streaming Stick (HDMI version) is $49.99 and available for pre-order now. It will ship to consumers and arrive in retails stores in April.