Roku's new streaming stick gets beefed up and slims down


Casting.  It's the biggest craze right now.  You know something's becoming a fad when the older guys at the coffee shops are talking about it.  There's lots of choices out there.

Lately, my favourite for streaming and casting has been my little Roku 3.  The box sits happily on our stand and takes care of most of our watching habits.

The new streaming stick looks just like a first generation Chromecast or Amazon FireTV stick, but does everything just like the box version (minus the USB and ethernet).

You still get a remote (or just use your app on the phone like I do) and watch away.  The remote doesn't have the headphone option the box does (and I love that feature to watch some Netflix at night, plug in the headphones to the remote and I don't have to wake anyone else up), but you can still listen to whatever you're streaming through your phone's headphone jack.

At $60 you may say "Well, I"ll just grab a Chromecast", and it is cheaper.  But, you don't get the remote, and a dedicated display/interface.  This is a lot easier, and easier to explain to some of the older generation than showing them how to do it on their tablets.

Check out their media release below.

New Roku Streaming Stick Combines More Power and Portability
in Sleek New Form Factor
Only Pocket-Sized Streamer to Feature Quad-Core Processor
and Private Listening with Headphones via Mobile Device

LOS GATOS, California – April. 5th, 2016 – Roku Inc. today announced the new Roku® Streaming Stick® designed for streamers who are looking for the ultimate in power and convenience in a sleek, pocket-sized form. Priced at just CDN $59.99, the latest model of the popular device has been developed with a focus on performance and features a quad-core processor giving it more processing power than any other pocket-sized stick in the industry. The new Roku Streaming Stick has 8X more processing power than its predecessor to get consumers to their favorite entertainment fast with smooth and responsive navigation. It’s also the first Roku device to offer private listening through the Roku Mobile App.

“The Roku Streaming Stick is one of our most popular models. Consumers appreciate having access to the complete Roku streaming experience in a portable, low-cost device,” said Sharad Sundaresan, SVP product management for Roku. “The new Roku Streaming Stick takes our popular experience to the next level with a significant upgrade in power and performance, as well as features that are specifically designed to get people to the entertainment they want to watch quickly and easily whether they’re at home or on the go.”

The New Roku Streaming Stick: Powerful and Portable
·         Only pocket-sized streamer with a quad-core processor; more processing power than Amazon Fire TV stick and Google Chromecast™
·         Private listening via a mobile phone or tablet using the Roku Mobile App for iOS and Android™ devices
·         Dual-band MIMO wireless for great connectivity
·         Included remote for easy navigation and control
·         Small, sleek design makes it simple to move between TVs in the home or use while traveling
·         Cast video from Netflix and YouTube mobile apps directly to the TV
·         Control with Roku Mobile App for iOS and Android - play personal video, photos and music on TV using the Play On Roku feature
·         Hotel and Dorm Connect for easy connection to wireless networks away from home

The new Roku Streaming Stick runs Roku OS 7.1, the latest version of the company’s operating system, also announced today. Roku OS 7.1 enhances the search and discovery experience by adding new categories within Roku Feed that enable customers to view popular TV Shows and Movies in one place. Similar to the existing Movies Coming Soon feature, consumers can now easily view these new categories to discover popular movies and TV shows across a variety of streaming channels on the Roku platform. They can then choose to watch a popular movie or TV show immediately, or Follow it in the Roku Feed to receive automatic updates when the availability or price changes, or the movie or TV show becomes available to watch for free.

Additionally, a feature available exclusively for the new Roku Streaming Stick enables consumers to use the Roku Mobile App for iOS and Android on their phone or tablet to listen through wired or wireless headphones. The Roku Mobile App offers a companion experience and can act as a remote control, enable voice search or provide an on-screen keyboard. Consumers can use the Play On Roku feature within the app to stream their personal videos, music and photos to the TV using the Roku Streaming Stick. 

A Complete Streaming Entertainment Experience
The new Roku Streaming Stick provides consumers with the complete experience of the Roku streaming platform in a small device. Consumers in the US have access to more than 2,000 streaming channels, including 100,000 available movies and TV episodes. Unlike its competitors, Roku offers a comprehensive and unbiased universal search feature that looks across top streaming channels to return search results. In addition, the Roku Feed is a first-of-its-kind discovery feature that lets consumers know when favorite entertainment, such as movies and TV shows, becomes available for streaming – and at what price.

Ultimate Portability
The new Roku Streaming Stick is smaller than the previous version and has a compact, sleek design that makes it the ideal streamer for virtually any HDMI® enabled TV including wall-mounted flat screen TVs. Whether they want to move it between multiple TVs in the home, take it with them to a friend’s house, or pack big entertainment into their vacation; the Roku Streaming Stick makes it easy for consumers to stream wherever they go.

The new Roku Streaming Stick also includes the Hotel and Dorm Connect feature to make it easy for consumers to connect to wireless networks that require sign-in through a web browser like those commonly found in hotel rooms, college dorms and other public locations. Consumers simply connect their Roku device to the password-protected network, sign-in with their login credentials using the browser on their mobile phone, tablet or laptop, and they’re ready to start streaming.

Availability
The new Roku Streaming Stick will be available later this month from Best Buy, London Drugs, Staples, Walmart, Amazon.ca, Shop.ca and others for an MSRP of CDN $59.99.

Roku OS 7.1 is available on the new Roku Streaming Stick. It will be rolled out to all other current-generation Roku players through a software update that is expected to be completed this month. The update is expected to be rolled out to Roku TVÔ models shortly after. The latest version of the Roku Mobile App for iOS and Android is available for download today.

In addition to introducing new features for consumers, Roku OS 7.1 includes a number of platform updates and new software development kit (SDK) tools for Roku developers. Information for developers can be found on the Roku Developer Blog.
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