Streaming media platform Roku announced the Roku Streaming Stick HDMI version, a tiny Roku player that gives consumers a way to access a wide selection of streaming entertainment on TV.
Once plugged in, the Streaming Stick lets consumers start streaming from more than 1,200 channels (more than 750 channels in Canada, the U.K. and the Republic of Ireland) of movies, TV episodes, music, news, sports, kids' shows and free programming, and all in up to 1080p HD video.
Recently launched channels include Conde´ Nast Entertainment, Showtime Anytime, Watch ESPN, Watch Disney Channel and YouTube. The new stick has a suggested retail price of $49.99 in the United States and will ship to consumers and arrive in retail stores in April.
"The new Roku Streaming Stick gives consumers more choice for streaming entertainment to the TV than any other device," Jim Funk, senior vice president of product management at Roku, said in a statement. "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."
Roku’s original streaming stick, the Streaming Stick Roku Ready version, which the company launched in 2012, will be bundled at retail with Roku Ready devices.
In 2013, Roku certified 60 different products from 14 partners who shipped more than 2.5 million Ready devices, most of which were televisions. There are currently 20 Roku Ready partners in the program, the company said.
The HDMI version of the Streaming Stick features the compact stick design offered by Roku and plugs into an HDMI port that’s ideal for wall-mounted TVs.
The household can use the included remote control to access the Roku user interface with shortcuts to movies, TV shows, news, the Roku Channel Store, Roku Search and more.
For consumers looking for a mobile experience, they can use their smartphone or tablet (along with the free Roku apps for Android and iOS devices) to browse and select channels to stream.
Users can also cast Netflix, YouTube and personal media from their devices to their TVs. The company said it would add additional mobile features such as the ability to cast content from a computer to the TV over time.
At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January this year, the company announced Roku TV, a generation of smart TVs designed to give consumers a simpler entertainment experience. Roku plans to license the reference design platform and software stack to manufacturers, including TCL and Hisense, to build and distribute Roku TV models.
Roku TV models are expected to be available for purchase this fall from major retailers in the U.S. and Canada. They will be available in a variety of sizes ranging from 32 to 55 inches, and pricing will be determined by the manufacturers and should be released later this year, the company noted.