Roku streaming stick
Roku streaming stick USA Today | Tech

Roku has unveiled the streaming stick, which is as tiny as a USB flash drive, on Wednesday, with all the functionality of set-top box, including Wi-Fi, processor, and memory. This device will be showcased at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2012 in Las Vegas next week.

The device doesn't require HDMI cable, external power source or a third-party set-top box, and just a standard TV remote can navigate Roku's software. Currently, Roku's platform can deliver more than 400 streaming content channels such as Netflix, Amazon Instant, Pandora, MLB.TV, HBO Go, MOG, and Rdio.

The streaming stick will be available with Best Buy’s proprietary Insignia branded TVs in the fall. The powerful device isn't too expensive - its quite affordable, with price ranging from $50 to $100, Roku said.

The company announced that the gadget will be showcased at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2012 in Las Vegas, which is scheduled for Jan. 10-13.

However, the streaming stick only can connect with the televisions, which have specific HDMI port and mobile high-definition links, also known as MHL. This kind of self-powered technology was designed specially to connect cell phones to HD TVs. So far, only a handful companies can support MHL, including Samsung Electronics Co., Sony Corp. and Toshiba Corp.

The tiny device has been welcomed by the experts. Netflix's VP Greg Peters said the Streaming Stick would make TV access to subscription video-on-demand more easy.

It] is a great solution for Netflix because it allows us to deliver the Netflix experience found on the Roku platform to potentially any TV, Peters told Home Media Magazine.

Smart-TV manufacturers have struggled to find an application platform that sticks with consumers especially since software is not their area of expertise, Kurt Scherf, vice president and principal analyst at Parks Associates, told the magazine. The Roku Streaming Stick is a game-changer for the smart-TV market. It takes the leading streaming platform and integrates into the TV in a way that no one has been able to do before.