Roku announces new $50 Apple TV, Chromecast competitor ‘Streaming Stick’

By , Mar 4, 2014

roku streaming

As the race for the living room heats up, and rumors of an upcoming Apple TV refresh continue to swirl, Roku has announced its latest entry into the space called the Streaming Stick. The $50 accessory plugs into the HDMI port of your TV and streams a variety of content.

Looking at its size and price tag, the Streaming Stick seems like a direct competitor to Google’s Chromecast. But the device features a remote control and on-screen navigational menus, which puts its functionality close to Roku’s set-top box, and more on par with Apple TV…

From the press release:

Saratoga, Calif. – March 5, 2014 – Roku Inc. today announced the new Roku® Streaming StickTM (HDMI® version), a tiny Roku player that gives consumers the easiest way to enjoy the best selection of streaming entertainment on TV. The Roku Streaming Stick (HDMI version) features the compact stick design pioneered by Roku and plugs discreetly into an HDMI port for a streamlined look that’s ideal for wall-mounted TVs.  

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

Once plugged in, the Roku Streaming Stick is capable of streaming more than 1,200 channels of music, news, sports, kids’ shows and free programming in 1080p HD. The company has recently added channels from Showtime, Disney, Conde Nast Entertainment and YouTube.

Today’s announcement comes amidst rumors that Apple is about to introduce new TV hardware. Its set-top box has not been revamped in nearly two years, and recent reports claim that the company is preparing a new device, capable of playing apps and games, to launch soon.

As for the Roku Streaming Stick, it’s available for pre-order now for $50.

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  • Sean Clark

    I wish those four buttons at the bottome of the remote were reprogrammable but otherwise really cool!

    Does this do everything a full sized Roku does? Seems like it.

  • Rowan09

    I have a Chromecast that my friend gave me and it’s not very good. Videos streams are very slow and they need to add more functionality. I purchased a Rikomagic quad core Mini Android PC which is a HDMI stick and I’m waiting to mess around with it. If it works like its suppose to, I can put anything I can on an Android phone or tablet since it comes with 4.2.2. I wouldn’t purchase this Roku stick over any Android TV stick or an Apple TV 1 or 2.

    • http://facebook.com/kurtlewisart Kurt

      I enjoy watching videos of those mini Android PCs. All the quad core ones I have seen work really well. I have a computer hooked up to my tv so I don’t need one but it’s cool to hook up a wireless mouse and keyboard to those Android devices. Let me know how you like it. When will you get it?

      • Rowan09

        Oh ok cool. I got it with a wireless mouse as well. I’ll let you know once I get it. Thanks

      • Rowan09

        I finally got it Saturday and it works just like any Android phone. I installed XBMC and Showbox so I use it instead of mirroring from my Apple TV. The only annoying part is the air mouse, it works fine but it’s still a little annoying at times. I want to purchase an Apple TV 1 as we’ll just because I love tinkering with devices.

      • http://facebook.com/kurtlewisart Kurt

        Glad you like it. Is your mouse a mouse or a kind of wand/remote? I don’t think I could get use to those remote type mouses. I’m looking forward to the next Apple TV. I hope it will be more than what it is now, if so I’m getting it. This should be a good year for Apple. Really hope the rumor of the 5.5″ iPhone materializes.

      • Rowan09

        It’s a wireless mini keyboard with an air mouse built in. I never really got into XBMC but you get everything on it, including live channels.

    • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

      Interesting, all this time I was considering getting an Ouya to work as a jailbroken Apple TV for live TV via XBMC, but those mini Android PCs look like they can handle the same thing in an even smaller package…thanks for shearing.

      Know of any android app that allows casting Windows PC screen to an Android device?

      • Rowan09

        I have the Rikomagic 802 IV it works well. I have XBMC and Showbox installed. You will definitely need an air mouse or some input device with it though. I got one with an air mouse.

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        Thanks for yet another awesome solution. I’ll be getting the Wireless adapter for my Surface Type Cover and using it like this (http://bit ly/1gERoYg).

      • Rowan09

        Nice that should work. I want to get rid of cable, but there’s no real alternative especially since they bundle everything.

  • Blackman

    I want to know why Roku 3 costs $50 more. Can’t they both do the same things?

    • Anthony Antunez

      The comparison chart on their website shows that the Streaming Stick does not have:

      – Remote with headphone jack for private listening

      – Motion control for games (Angry Birds Space included)

      – Lightning fast with 5x faster processor

      – Ethernet, USB & microSD slot

      • Blackman

        Thanks.

  • jack

    I have a stick here

  • Eni

    does this stream photos, videos ore movies from an iphone?

  • Dao Sasone

    Can it instal xbmc

    • Damian W

      unfortunately not yet. But it can have PLEX, which is quite similar in many ways.

  • James Grenard

    Lol, i JUST bought my Roku 3

  • CptObvious

    If they’d sell it for a cheaper price without the remote I’d be interested, but they would have to set up a way to program it without a remote first.

  • iThinkergoiMac

    I’m a bit of a grammar person, though I try to keep it mostly to myself. This title, however, is more than I can bear. It reads:

    Roku Announces New $50 Apple TV, Chromecast Competitor ‘Streaming Stick’

    What is says is this:

    Roku Announces the New $50 Apple TV, a Chromecast Competitor Called Streaming Stick

    What should have been written:

    Roku Announces the $50 Streaming Stick, a New Apple TV and Chromecast Competitor

    I want to like this blog, but the grammatical errors that plague articles like this are hard to work with. If I have to think to figure out what the title is trying to say, I’m not inclined to read the whole thing. I don’t write this to be a jackass, I’m simply trying to offer some constructive criticism and relate what my experience is.

    • Hak Attack

      Unfortunately, even your grammar is incorrect. In your statement “What it says is this.” You said “Roku Announces the New 50$ Apple TV, a Chromecast Competitor Called Streaming Stick.”

      This is saying that Roku announced a 50$ Apple TV, then later on contradicting itself saying “…Called Streaming Stick.”

      What it should say in the “What is says…” section is this:

      “Roku Announces the New 50$ Apple TV, and Chromecast Competitor Called Streaming Stick.

      Please check your own grammar.

      • iThinkergoiMac

        Uhhh, what?

        First off, for someone correcting a grammar correction, your post has quite a few grammar mistakes itself.

        Secondly, why are you criticizing the contradiction in my “What Is Says” line? THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT. Contradiction isn’t a grammar mistake, it’s a philosophical or content mistake. I was illustrating that the poor grammar of the title makes that mistake.

        I think you’ve misread the entire point of my post. I offer three versions of the title: the original, what the original means when you parse the grammar (and makes no sense as you have pointed out), and a corrected version that makes sense. Since you didn’t comment on the corrected version, I assume you found nothing wrong with it.

        My post is grammatically correct (except where I wrote “What is says” and that should have been “What it says”, oops!). If you’re going to correct someone’s post for grammar, make sure that you don’t mix up content (the contradiction you posted about) and grammar (how the words relate to each other and punctuation). The content is intentionally bad, showing how the grammar makes the original title confusing. The grammar itself, however, is fine.