We've been waiting for Roku to release its miniaturized dongle since CES, and now we finally know the flash drive-sized Streaming Stick will be available next month for $99. Priced the same as as the Roku 2 XS set-top box, it brings the same feature set but in a smaller package designed to work directly with your HDTV, thanks to power, remote control and data signals fed through an MHL-compatible HDMI port. While it will work with other MHL-ready host devices, manufacturers with Roku Ready stamped and certified HDTVs on shelves this fall will include Apex, Insignia and Hitachi -- Onkyo plans to ship receivers early next year. If you pick up an otherwise dumb flat-panel with the stick bundled along with it the price is set by that manufacturer, but the standalone plan means buyers savings are focused on the two cables they won't be needing, and simplified remote capability since their TV remote can talk to the Stick directly. Like the Roku 2 XS, the Streaming Stick also includes the motion control capable game remote.
A separate move will benefit many existing Roku owners, as it is also announcing that Walmart-owned Vudu is launching on the platform today. You will need a Roku HD (2500), LT or Roku 2 box (or the Streaming Stick, once it launches) to take advantage of the Vudu app and its streams that bring quality of up to 1080p and 7.1 surround sound. That also means access to Vudu-compatible UltraViolet movie titles on yet another set-top box, if that's a consideration, and users score a $5.99 credit with Vudu just for linking the account to their boxes. All the details are in the press release after the break, and on the Roku blog.
Roku Streaming Stick hands-on
Roku Launches Roku Streaming Stick and Unveils First Roku Ready Devices
Televisions from Apex, Hitachi, Insignia Coming to Retailers Soon
SARATOGA, Calif. – Sept. 20, 2012 – People looking to stream video and music as well as play casual games on the television can soon choose from a range of devices that feature the popular Roku® streaming platform. Roku today announced that the Roku Streaming Stick™– a tiny wireless streaming player the size of a USB flash drive – will be available in October for $99.99. Customers plug the Roku Streaming Stick into Roku Ready® devices to instantly access the Roku platform which features more than 600 channels.
The first Roku Ready devices hitting store shelves this holiday season are televisions from Apex Digital, Hitachi and Insignia, a Best Buy brand. Consumers can look forward to the following models:
Apex Digital 32" LED model LE3243R, 39"LED model LE3943R, 42" LED model LE4243R and 46" LED model LE4643R
Insignia, a Best Buy brand 46" model NS-46E480A13A and 55" model NS-55E480A13A
Hitachi 42" models LE42S606 and LE42T506, 46" models LE46S606 and LE46T506; and 55" models LE55S606, LE55T506 and LE55U516
"The Roku Streaming Stick extends our platform beyond the set- top box and into a range of consumer electronics devices. Manufacturers can now deliver a complete streaming experience without painstakingly building it themselves," said Chas Smith, senior vice president and general manager, Roku platform OEM business at Roku. "And because the Roku Streaming Stick will only get better over time – with more channels, new features and frequent software updates – customers can be confident that they will always enjoy the best possible streaming experience."
The Roku Streaming Stick, when purchased separately and not bundled with a device, comes with a Roku enhanced remote which features volume buttons and motion control for game play. While the enhanced remote is needed for games that require motion control, consumers can alternatively use the television remote to control their Roku experience when the Roku Streaming Stick is paired with a Roku Ready TV.
Roku Ready products are MHL-enabled consumer electronics devices that are certified by Roku to work seamlessly out of the box with the Roku Streaming Stick. These products display a distinctive Roku Ready logo on their packaging so consumers can easily identify them for use with the Roku Streaming Stick. In addition, select devices will be bundled with the Roku Streaming Stick in retail channels. Roku is working with many consumer electronics manufacturers to bring Roku Ready devices to market. Roku Ready partners announced to date include Element Electronics; GlobalVue International, LLC; Haier; Hitachi America, Ltd.; Insignia, a Best Buy brand; Mitsubishi Electric (TVs); Onkyo and Integra; OPPO and TMAX Digital, Inc.(Apex Digital® TVs).
Pricing and Availability
The Roku Streaming Stick will be available for $99.99. The Roku Streaming Stick will be available from Roku and Amazon in October and from other retailers this fall. For more information about the Roku Streaming Stick visit www.roku.com/streamingstick.
About Roku Inc.
Roku is the leading dedicated streaming platform for delivering video, music and casual games to the TV. Roku launched the first player to stream Netflix to the TV in 2008, and today the Roku platform streams more than 600 channels to millions of devices in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and the Republic of Ireland. Roku was founded by Anthony Wood, inventor of the DVR. The company is headquartered in Saratoga, Calif. For more information, visit www.roku.com.
Roku and Roku Ready are registered trademarks and the Roku Streaming Stick is a trademark of Roku, Inc. in the United States and other countries, and all other trade names and logos used herein are registered trademarks or are trademarks of their respective owners.
VUDU Launches on Roku Streaming Platform
Industry-leading video-on-demand service with the world's largest selection of HD movies and TV Shows Now Available to Roku Customers
SANTA CLARA, Calif. and SARATOGA, Calif., – Sept. 20, 2012 – VUDU and Roku® today announced the launch of the VUDU streaming channel on the Roku platform. VUDU is Walmart's subscription-free, video streaming service which offers more than 100,000 new releases, Hollywood classics, independent films and TV shows, and was recently ranked as the top streaming video service by Consumer Reports *. Available now on all Roku 2, Roku HD (model 2500) and Roku LT streaming players in the U.S. and coming to the Roku Streaming Stick in October, VUDU offers the world's largest selection of HD movies and delivers a cinema-like experience with vibrant-streaming 1080p HD and rich Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound. Movies on VUDU are available the same day they are released to DVD or Blu-ray, and can be purchased or rented without a subscription.
"We're committed to offering customers access to their favorite movies and TV shows at the highest possible streaming quality wherever they choose to watch them," said Prasanna Ganesan, general manager and CEO of VUDU. "Our launch on Roku today allows us to offer our entire catalog on the most popular streaming player on the market."
"With its impressive library of a la carte movies and TV shows, and high quality surround sound features, VUDU is a great addition to the Roku streaming platform," said Anthony Wood, founder and CEO of Roku. "The ability to instantly watch the latest Hollywood releases is certain to make the VUDU channel a big hit among Roku customers."
The Roku streaming platform features more than 600 channels of entertainment from some of the best brands in on-demand television. The award-winning Roku players are recognized for their ease of use, selection of content and affordability. Roku players start at $49.99 and are sold by retailers nationwide.
* Consumer Reports (Video Streaming Services, July 2012)
A leader in HD streaming, VUDU offers the world's largest selection of HD movies, including thousands of blockbusters, Hollywood classics and indies available in stunning HDX 1080p with Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 and 7.1 Surround Sound. Movies are available the same day they are released on DVD or Blu-ray, and can be rented or purchased without a subscription. VUDU is available on Internet-capable HDTVs and Blu-ray Disc players from FUNAI Electronics (Magnavox, Sylvania), LG Electronics, Mitsubishi Digital Electronics, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, SANYO, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba and VIZIO, and on the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system from Sony. VUDU is a wholly owned subsidiary of Walmart Stores, Inc., and is headquartered in Santa Clara, CA. For more information, visit http://www.vudu.com/.
About Roku, Inc.
Roku is the leading streaming platform for delivering video, music and casual games to the TV. Roku launched the first player to stream Netflix to the TV in 2008, and today streams more than 600 entertainment channels to millions of customers. Roku streaming players can be purchased from Roku and major retailers in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and the Republic of Ireland. Headquartered in Saratoga, Calif., Roku was founded by Anthony Wood, the inventor of the DVR. For more information, visit www.roku.com.