The battle for the device-in-a-gumstick-pack is ON. Roku has announced an HDMI version of it’s Roku Streaming Stick device, allowing it to take a head on swipe against the Google Chromecast. According to the recent review by TechFaster.com, they rank this “better” than the Chromecast due to the wide variety of things it can stream, and the fact that it comes with it’s own remote.
Although their basic form factor and connectivity are nearly the same, there is no denying there is functionality overlap, they seem to be to be coming at the problem from different angles. The Chromecast wants to be an extension of the devices you already have, i.e. your Android phone, table, iPad, etc. You can stream things from your device to your TV with ease, and from different devices and apps. The control is all in the device, not the Chromecast.
The Roku take the more traditional tack by running everything through the device, and giving you (yet another) remote to control your TV with. Roku’s first attempt at this was less than stellar: the old Roku stick required a special port and shipped with no remote. Um, right. Finally the new one seems to get it right. For the users who want simple, the remote even comes with brand-colored buttons for Netflix, MGo, Amazon, and Blockbuster.
If you don’t already have a main streaming device, I think the new Roku Streaming Stick is a great deal for $50, and will keep one more set-top-box off the TV stand. However, if you are just looking to stream the videos, web pages, and other content from a tablet, laptop, or phone to your larger TV, a $35 Chromecast will work fine.