The device is a new version of the MHL-based Streaming Stick, but is different in two ways -- it can work on any television with an HDMI port and is half its price, at just $49, about $14 more than Google's Chromecast.
For the additional $14, you get the regular Roku remote and onscreen interface. The remote is basic and uses Wi-Fi connectivity, so that it can still control the Streaming Stick when it is hidden behind the TV. But this remote lacks a headphones port, which means users cannot indulge in private listening whilst watching their favorite shows.
The dongle is three inches long and is Roku's signature purple color. The dongle has a HDMI connector, a micro-USB port, an indicator light, and a tiny button to reset the stick.
The Streaming Stick has 1080p output, dual-band Wi-Fi support and is similar to the Roku 1, which means it won't be as fast as the Roku 3.
The Streaming Stick gives access to Roku's 1,200 apps, or as Roku likes to call them, channels. This includes every major video content provider, like Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Instant, MLB.TV, Showtime Anytime, and PBS. Chromecast lacks this wide array of apps, though they have included HBO Go, Hulu Plus, and Pandora, since the device's launch.
The interface will allow for a normal TV viewing experience as well as a Chromecast-like streaming capability that allows users to stream YouTube and Netflix from a mobile device.