US firm Roku, manufacturer of some of the most popular digital media receivers on the market, has revealed that Hitachi, Best Buy and Mitsubishi are among the first companies to develop new consumer electronics devices for the upcoming Roku Streaming Stick, a USB-key sized device that will turn certain TVs into Smart TVs.
In total nine manufacturers are on board the project: Element Electronics, GlobalVue International, Haier, Hitachi, Insignia (a Best Buy brand), Mitsubishi Electric, Onkyo and Integra, OPPO and TMAX Digital.
The Roku Streaming Stick is due to launch in the coming weeks, according to Roku, and will feature a Wi-Fi receiver, an onboard processor, memory and the Roku software to stream the service’s more than 500 channels including Pandora, Netflix, Hulu Plus and HBO Go.
Roku’s new device will plug directly into a Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) port – a proposed industry standard being developed by the MHL Consortium which resembles HDMI but provides power for connected devices, in addition to supporting 1080p HD video and digital audio.
Roku recently closed a new round of funding worth US$ 45mn in which media giant News Corp and UK broadcaster BSkyB participated – presumably with a view to bringing Sky services to Roku devices. More details here.