Roku announced today that they are packing everything they have done heretofore into a device the size of a pack of gum.
The Roku Streaming Stick is about the size of a regular thumb drive. It will feature built-in Wi-Fi, processor, memory and software. You plug it into the HDMI port on a TV and "instantly transform it into a Smart TV" (from Roku's press release).
That's pretty cool. But, notice, they did not say *any* TV. That turns out to be the catch. As Roku explains:
"The Roku Streaming Stick will plug into MHL-enabled HDMI ports on TVs. MHL is a new standard that uses the HDMI connector on TVs to deliver power and other critical elements for the streaming experience."
The MHL-enabled HDMI port may well become the standard in the near-future. They have been adopted by many manufacturers. But, chances are, you don't have it yet.
And, of course, such a stick does not have a USB port for further expansibility like other Roku boxes have.
But, even so, it's pretty cool to be moving toward a keychain-sized solution that can be used with many television sets in the future. Plus, who wants to replace their TV as often as their phone? With this solution, Roku aims to allow you to update capability without having to change your set.
Once MHL-enabled ports become standard, it will be nice to be able to take your Roku capability anywhere: vacation condos, hotels, etc. And, it's easy to grab on your way out the door when your girlfriend tells you she's had enough of your goldbricking and has called the cops to remove you from the premises.