Roku takes on Google Chromecast with new HDMI dongle

Michelle Clancy | 05-03-2014

Over-the-top (OTT) streaming hardware specialist Roku has introduced a new version of its Streaming Stick at a much lower price tag than the previous version.

The Streaming Stick was originally launched in 2012 and until now has sold for $99 and it was marketed as a way to turn an HDTV into a connected TV. But it depended on an MHL-enhanced HDMI port to work. Now, at $49, the gadget is set up to compete head-to-head with Google's Chromecast streaming dongle.

Just like the $30 Chromecast, it connects to a TV's generic HDMI port, widening the scope of its addressable market. The device, a purple entry that's about the size of a USB drive, offers access to a range of over-the-top (OTT) video "channels," including the usual suspects like Netflix and Hulu. Notably though, it doesn't offer YouTube.

It also comes with its own RF- and Wi-Fi-connected remote to search and navigate various menu items.

The new Streaming Stick is scheduled for release in April.