Roku has announced its next generation streaming stick that turns any HD TV into a connected set. And at a price point half of its first generation model, at under $50, Roku is competing directly against Google's Chromecast and even the Apple TV box. "The other major perk over the Chromecast is you get access to all 1,200 of Roku's apps, or "channels" in Roku's parlance. This includes nearly every major service -- such as Netflix, YouTube, HBO Go, Amazon Instant, MLB.TV, Showtime Anytime, and PBS -- as well as a huge number of niche content sources." Impressive amount of content to make any consumer satisfied. It should be available to the public next month.
What excites me more about their efforts is their search capability. "Besides a new look, the app also integrates Roku's excellent
cross-platform search, which scours several major content sources
(including Netflix, Amazon Instant, HBO Go, and Hulu Plus) to find where
a TV show or movie is available and how much it costs." For those of us wondering where to find a certain show across content providers, this feature is sure to please.
Roku clearly has raised the bar and what Google and Apple plan to do with their devices will only keep the competition strong. Plus at such a low price point, Roku may just have the financial edge too.