Roku expands beyond Internet video-streaming boxes

Jan 04, 2012 By MICHAEL LIEDTKE , AP Technology Writer

Roku is thinking outside its set-top box in an attempt to bring more Internet video to flat-panel televisions.

The new approach will rely on a finger-sized device that won't require extra cords or separate remote controls to stream video over high-speed Internet connections. The product, called the Roku Streaming Stick, will plug directly into a high-definition port available on a growing number of new-breed TVs, just as a fits into a computer's USB outlet.

The streaming stick won't be available until the second half of this year, but Roku announced it Wednesday to get a jump on the onslaught of that will be unveiled next week at an annual electronics show in Las Vegas.

Roku's streaming stick will only work on televisions that have mobile high-definition links. The technology, known as MDL, is being backed by a group that includes Co., . and .

Although it's still a small company, Roku Inc. has emerged as a significant player in the steadily growing market for Internet video since it introduced its first set-top box nearly four years ago. Originally designed to deliver Netflix's Internet to big-screen TVs, Roku's boxes now include more than 400 different online entertainment options.

As Roku added more choices, the prices of its boxes have fallen to as low as $50 - down from device's original price of $100. The price cuts and expanded programming line-up helped Roku sell about 1.5 million streaming boxes last year, tripling its volume from 2010. The privately held company says it had about $150 million in revenue last year. It won't say whether it's profitable.

The streaming stick is expected to sell for $50 to $100. Electronics retailer Co. plans to include the streaming stick in a line of TVs bearing its in-store brand, Insignia.

Roku, which is based in Saratoga, Calif., decided to develop a more condensed version of its set-top box to cater to so-called "smart" TVs. That's become a catchphrase for TVs that can be used to show content from stored on websites and mobile devices in addition to the more conventional fare from cable and satellite carriers.

Unlike smartphones running on software made by Apple Inc., Google Inc. and other technology vendors, still remain more of a geeky novelty than a household staple.

Google has tried to widen the acceptance by developing Internet-surfing software for smart TVs, but that effort hasn't made much headway since it launched 15 months ago. Apple is believed to be working on a smart TV that could hit the market this year or next year. .

Explore further: Sony broadly releases 'The Interview' in reversal of plans

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Roku teams with Amazon to stream videos

Mar 04, 2009

Roku, maker of a $100 box that delivers streaming Netflix videos to consumers' TVs, is teaming with Amazon.com to vastly increase the number of movies and TV episodes consumers can watch through the device.

HBO Go comes to TV, through Roku players

Oct 11, 2011

(AP) -- HBO's Internet streaming service, which gives subscribers access to its shows on PCs, smartphones and tablets, is going back to where it all started: the TV.

Recommended for you

LivingSocial's new CEO eyes an experience-oriented future

22 hours ago

Some big challenges lie ahead for LivingSocial, the online marketplace known for its daily deals and discounted prices on restaurants, spas and local activities. But that's where the company's new chief executive, Gautam ...

Uber hits roadblock as CEO charged in S. Korea

Dec 24, 2014

South Korean prosecutors brought charges on Wednesday against the founder and CEO of controversial smartphone taxi app Uber for operating an illegal cab service, the latest roadblock for the California-based ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

RSweeney
not rated yet Jan 04, 2012
I believe the technology is called Mobile High Definition Linking, MHL, not MDL as in the article.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.