By Jonathan Charles | Sep 21, 2012 10:17 AM EDT
Roku unveiled its Streaming Stick, a peripheral designed the bring the functionality of Roku in a USB-sized stick which connects to HDTVs. The Streaming Stick is available for $99.99. The size of a hand, it connects via a HDMI port on a MHL TV allowing devices to be powered by high definition TVs. The device functions essentially as a Roku box, without a remote.
The Streaming Stick sounds like a compelling device for users who want to do not want a box to clutter their rooms. The bigger issues may be getting TVs to support the device; Roku is partnership with television manufacturers like Hitachi to get wider support. To ensure that the Stick works with TVs, the phrase "Roku Ready" will be used to identify compatible hardware, and certain television manufacturers will bundle the mini-Roku. Perhaps the cost of TVs will rise, considering the $100 cost of the peripheral.
Accompanying the announcement is an update for iOS and Android Roku apps to control what is played on Roku. The feature is called "Play on Roku" and is similar to to AirPlay for iOS.
"We know what you're thinking -- you can already use the app to reply favorite movie moments, browse the Channel Store and launch channels with the tap of a finger. How could it possible get better? Well, now you can stream your carefully curated music playlists and flattering family photos straight from your iPhone or Android device to your living room big screen with our brand new Play on Roku feature. Yes, it's true. You can even set your photos to music," Roku's official blog reads.
JPG and PNG images and MP3 or M4A DRM-free music can be sent to the television. Users can also name different Roku boxes, use a rewind button, and take advantage of a "few other tweaks" according to Engadget. Roku is aiming to build a "second screen experience" in the undefined future. International support is also available in the UK, Ireland, and Canada.
A video is below of the update Roku apps for iOS and Android, available now to download for free.
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