The Roku Streaming Stick first caught our eye back in the beginning of the year with its promise to deliver the full Roku set-top box experience in a flash drive-esque form factor that plugs directly into a port on your TV. Nine months later, Roku has officially announced the Roku Streaming Stick along with a handful of improvements to its traditional set-top box and mobile app.
The $99 Streaming Stick is slated to launch sometime next month with double the internal memory and Wi-Fi bands as the Roku 2 XS. Hitachi, Apex and Best Buy’s Insignia brand are on board and ready to ship over a dozen “Roku Ready” HDTVs over the holiday season. You don’t need a Roku Ready-certified television to run the Roku Streaming Stick, but very few televisions include the MHL port required to run the device.
A slew of other device manufacturers are lined up to be Roku Ready partners, including Onkyo, Oppo and Integra, a trio of top-shelf A/V receiver manufacturers.
In other news, Roku announced VUDU as a new addition to its 600-plus channel lineup; now, YouTube is pretty much the only major streaming video app missing on Roku devices. The company also unveiled “Play on Roku,” which allows Roku’s mobile app to stream pictures and music to a Roku box (or Streaming Stick, natch) for viewing or listening on the big screen. Think of it as AirPlay light.