Roku has announced its new Streaming Stick which it hopes will be able to compete with the expected influx of internet/smart TVs in 2012.
Roku, who has previously brought us its Roku streaming box - similar to the Apple TV box - has decided to place its eggs within one diminutive dongle that uses your TV's HDMI port in order to make your telly internet-ready and remove the need for an external set box, HDMI cable and power adapter.
This new Roku Streaming Stick is around the same size as a standard USB flash drive and includes built-in Wi-Fi, processor, memory and software to stream all of Roku's channels, including Netflix, to your TV.
In order to use the device, your TV will not only need an HDMI port but it will require said HDMI to be MHL compatible, MHL being a standard which will enable extra info to be transmitted between TV and the Streaming Stick.
The main benefit of this system seems to be the way in which it addresses the obsolescence issue of hardware - to a degree. As software develops often the hardware it runs on needs to be changed, by using the Roku Streaming Stick you'll have the choice of only having to replace the dongle itself rather than your whole TV. And with the dongle coming in at around $50-$100, that should prove a significant saving.
Although the MHL tech is compatible with a range of TVs - including Toshiba and Samsung - and the Streaming Stick will be included in a new line of Insignia TVs; as many TV manufacturers will be planning their own approach to the internet/smart TV in 2012, it may be some time before Roku makes a significant impact.
The Roku Streaming Stick should be launched in the latter half of 2012, with more information coming from CES 2012 next week, which Pocket-lint will be attending in force.