Roku has gotten into the SmartTV business in a rather unique way. The company has developed a system that can be easily installed into new HDTVs (new TVs that support it, that is; more on that below), and with an external plug-in, about the size of a USB flash drive, the set can be upgraded to the full-fledged Roku experience. No wires, no fuss, and no muss. Expected to cost about the same as existing Rokus, the stick plugs into the MHL-enabled HDMI port of the TV (which is what makes it incompatible with older sets; the first MHL-enabled sets just started shipping in the fall), and will be sold both as an add-on, and bundled with new television sets.
While major manufacturers are relying on their own platforms or GoogleTV to drive their smart functions, the low end seems to be what Roku is targeting for the moment. By taking a desirable feature like streaming (the stick includes WiFi), and making it an inexpensive option to support, generic and store brand TVs in bedroom (32″ and under) are the ideal market for something like this, something Best Buy seems to agree with:
“Insignia is proud to be among the first manufacturers to pair the Roku Streaming Stick with a TV,” said Scott Jacobi, Director of Exclusive Brands at Best Buy. “The Roku Streaming Stick provides an elegant and easy over-the-top streaming solution for customers who want the full experience of a Smart TV without adding an external set box, HDMI cable and power adapter to their TV. Insignia looks forward to rolling out our first MHL-enabled TVs compatible with the Roku Streaming Stick in 2012 at Best Buy.”
Roku’s new doohickey should be on exhibition at CES next week
Via: [Roku Blog]