Roku names first Streaming Stick partners, keeps mum on exact price and release date

Mitsubishi, Insignia, Onkyo, and Hitachi are among the launch partners for Roku's USB drive-sized media streamer.

Roku Streaming Stick
Roku's Streaming Stick packs all the functionality of a Roku box into USB drivelike stick. Roku

Back at the January Consumer Electronics Show, Roku showed off a prototype of its Streaming Stick -- a version of its streaming box miniaturized to the size of a USB drive, and designed to work with any TV equipped with an MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) port. We thought it was cool enough to bestow it with a nomination as one of the best home theater products of the show.

Roku Streaming Stick
The Roku Streaming Stick connects to the back of your HDTV, but it requires an MHL port. Roku

The good news is that the Streaming Stick is on track for its promised 2012 release. Roku today affirmed that the product will be released "in the coming weeks." Moreover, the company announced a slate of Streaming Stick launch partners, including Element Electronics, Haier, Hitachi America, Insignia (Best Buy's house brand), Mitsubishi, Onkyo/Integra, Oppo, and TMAX Digital (better known under the Apex TV brand). Compatible products from those companies will bear a "Roku Ready" logo, and some will come packaged with the Streaming Stick itself.

Missing from that list are any notable A-list TV brands -- no Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, LG, Vizio, or Sharp. But the bigger problem is that the Streaming Stick only works with MHL-equipped televisions and video devices -- basically a souped-up HDMI port . Unfortunately, TVs with MHL ports remain few and far between -- especially low-end, non-smart TVs that would most benefit from a Streaming Stick upgrade.

Also missing from Roku's latest announcement was an exact release date and price for the Streaming Stick. Back in January, Roku told CNET that the device would retail for "between $50 and $100," however.

Read the full CNET Review

Roku Streaming Stick

The Bottom Line: While the number of devices that support it will probably grow, the Roku Streaming Stick is still a niche item when compared with every other Roku device. / Read full review

About the author

John P. Falcone is the executive editor of CNET Reviews, where he coordinates a group of more than 20 editors and writers based in New York and San Francisco as they cover the latest and greatest products in consumer technology. He's been a CNET editor since 2003.

 

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