Roku Stick

Roku finally slapped a price and retail date on its new Streaming media stick today, along with a few other announcements.

The Roku Stick will debut at the top of the company’s high-end streaming devices, with a $100 price tag, and be available for sale online in October. The stick was first announced back in January, and is roughly the size of a USB jump drive. The stick plugs in to HDMI ports directly on your television and allows you to use your TV’s remote control to navigate. In terms of specs, the Roku Stick is on par with the company’s top-of-the-line Roku XS set-top box.

Given the size of the device and lack of remote control, I expected Roku to deliver a low-end product for about half that price. However, the company went the other direction. The Roku Stick can play video games and will use functionality from the Roku gaming remote control, which is sold separately.

In addition to the new product, Roku is also announcing support for Walmart’s Vudu digital video store front, which support’s the film studio’s standard UltraViolet platform. Roku is adding about a channel per day to its lineup, which is now at over 630 channels. Besides Vudu, the only major streaming video service not represented on the platform is YouTube, but the company did tell me that it was working with Google on an official app. (No word on when the YouTube Roku channel will be out, though.)

The other big announcement Roku is making today is an update to its iOS app. The previous version for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad basically functioned like a remote control. You could manage your personal channel lineup, but that’s basically all. The updated version lets you play music, videos, and photo streams from your device on a TV screen. I consider the Roku the most “parent-friendly” line of streaming media devices, and this new feature is definitely something both my mom and dad would end up using frequently.

The Vudu channel and iOS app update should be available today, and the company said it’s planning to release a new Android app with the added functionality in the near future.