Roku takes on Google's Chromecast with the Roku Streaming Stick

Google Chromecast, you’re not the only stick in town. Roku announced the Roku Streaming Stick today, which manages to pack nearly all the functionality of a full-size Roku box into a device not much bigger than an USB flash drive. It’s actually a new version of Roku’s old MHL-based Streaming Stick, but there are two major differences: it now works with any TV that has an HDMI input, and it’s half the price, at just $50.

Roku‘s already built a media streaming empire with its family of set-top boxes, but now the company is offering a direct challenger to Google’s $35 Chromecast with an HDMI dongle of its own priced at $50. You can pre-order the device now, but it won’t ship until April. The new streaming stick looks very similar to the Chromecast and plugs into your TV the same way . The main, difference, besides the price, is what each dongle can do. Roku’s biggest advantage is its countless channels, which offer everything from music and movies to cooking shows and Ted Talks. On the other hand, Chromecast lets you stream anything from the Chrome browser on your computer, or various apps on your phones and tablets. Roku also comes with a designated remote, while Chromecast is controlled using your smartphone or tablet.

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