Roku shrinks its set-top box with the Roku Streaming Stick dongle

Summary:Roku's latest device offers the same Roku interface in a much, much smaller package.

Roku's popular streaming video box, is getting downsized with the Roku Streaming Stick.

The device, which is roughly the size of a USB stick, works just like a Roku Box, plugging into a TV and offering access to Roku's trove of more than four hundred apps, which include Netflix and Pandora.

Because the device is so small (and presumably so cheap) Roku will be able to bundle it with televisions, starting with Best Buy's Insignia line. Thats a big deal because it allows televisions to be consistently updated even after manufacturers stop shipping updates for them.

There is, however, one catch: In order to be used, the device requires televisions with Mobile High-Definition Link-enabled HDMI ports. While the number of compatible devices is certain to increase in the next few months, not too many televisions are equipped with the functionality just yet.

Roku says that the device will cost between $50 and $100, which seems a bit high in comparison to full-size devices like the Roku LT. The company is definitely better off keeping the Streaming Stick on the lower end when it launches later this year.

Of course, the big question is, if Roku can cram so much into such a small device, where does this leave its larger offerings? Roku says it's committed to its set-top players, but it wouldn't be particularly surprising if the company phased them out in the wake of the Streaming Stick's success.

Topics: Hardware, Browser, Mobility, Software Development

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Ricardo Bilton writes for ZDNet's The ToyBox.

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