The streaming industry just got another hardware update, this time from Roku. To compete with Amazon Fire Stick and Google Chromecast, Roku yesterday revealed Roku Streaming Stick, a thinner version of the current iteration that was launched in 2014.
The new Roku Stick is eight times more powerful than its predecessor and houses a quad-core processor. The power it packs also dwarfs Chromecast and Fire TV stick. However, Roku is not banking on this as its main selling point.
The new streaming stick comes with a basic Roku remote, but it lacks a headphone jack, which is the case with Roku set-top boxes. However, Roku claims the device still has the private listening feature, something Roku is known for. In fact, the Roku mobile app will now play whatever program a user is watching on the screen. To enable the private listening feature, users will have to connect their headphones with the phone.
The Roku Stick has casting features along with access to 3,000 plus channels, another thing that differentiates it from its competitors. The Stick also comes with Rokubuilt-in OS that was upgraded to OS 7.1 yesterday.
Roku believes that the smaller form factor might make its newer stick standout from competition. However, users might be disappointed with the price tag it carries. The new Roku Streaming Stick is on sale starting today for $50, $15 more than the Google Chromecast and $10 more than the Amazon Fire Stick. Currently, the leader of streaming sticks’ pack is Chromecast, and with its redesigned streaming stick, Google has managed to capture more attention.
Roku will start shipping its new streaming stick by the end of the month and pre-orders are available on Roku.com and BestBuy.com. Brick-and-mortar stores such as BestBuy and Wal-Mart will also start housing the new Roku streaming stick by the end of the month.
Roku launched its first stick in 2012. The company is protective about its sales figures and does not release data regarding the Streaming stick sales. However, according to TechCrunch, Roku is growing fast in the streaming stick segment, which justifies the launch of a third-generation stick.