Roku’s as-yet-unreleased Streaming Stick, which is essentially a smaller version of the Roku XD that I own, will help second-tier television manufacturers compete in the “smart TV” market. Essentially, why do a lot of work turning the TV into a pseudo-computer when a peripheral device can do the work for you? And as Roku puts it, “In a few years, you can replace that Streaming Stick instead of the entire TV.” You could even replace it with a non-Roku device — like, say, the Pocket TV I bought on Kickstarter. That upholds what, to me, is a first principle of cord cutting: modularity.
The Streaming Stick plugs into a mobile high-definition link (MHL) port, which is more common on phones and tablets than TVs right now. So that’s the upshot of today’s announcement: a bunch of TV manufacturers will be making their devices “Roku ready” by supporting MHL.
What I’d really like to see: combine the slimmed-down form factor of the Roku Streaming Stick with the similarly diminutive Boxee Live TV stick, which would add free network television to the mix.