Roku debuted a new low-cost streaming “stick” today with the same screen mirroring functionality as Google’s relatively popular Chromecast device.
The device is an updated version of the company’s Roku Ready Stick, with lots of notable improvements.
For instance, you’ll still be able to access the Roku platform using a simple user interface, but now you’ll also have the option of “casting” media from your mobile device to your TV screen on certain applications. Screen casting is the main selling point of Chromecast, as the device itself requires you to navigate using a mobile device. But if you’re not particularly tech savvy, this option might just seem like a pain in the ass.
It’s also worth noting that the new Roku Stick also features an improvement to its price. The device retails for $50, which is $15 more than Chromecast and the same price as Roku’s least expensive set-top box. You’ll get a Roku remote included that price, too.
Initially, the new Roku Stick only features screen casting functionality on two services, YouTube and Netflix. But Roku’s other media partners may update their mobile apps to support the feature in the future, the company told VentureBeat.
I’ll admit, Roku’s latest device concentrates on two huge areas that are currently very attractive to consumers: price and screen casting. I also think Roku might have the right idea by slowly bringing the screen casting functionality to the most popular services rather than pushing out a SDK for developers to build their own apps for the device like Google is doing for Chromecast.
In addition to the new device launch, Roku also said it’s now shipped over eight million devices with support for more than 1,200 different streaming devices. The company also recently announced partnerships that will bring its streaming media platform software to Hisense and TCL smart TVs.