The Roku Stick has always been a fantastic device. It’s as small as a Chromecast, but doesn’t require an entire additional phone/tablet/laptop to work. It just wedges Roku’s excellent smart TV OS into a HDMI stick, which is just a tad big three times as large as a thumb drive.
Make that twice as large.
Roku has announced the retirement of the old Roku Stick and the arrival of a newer, smaller model. It will still only do 1080p output, so don’t get any fancy dreams about 4K Netflix, but it’s added a feature you won’t be able to find elsewhere: the ability to stream audio from the Roku Stick directly to your Android or iOS device. Rather than using Bluetooth the audio streaming works via Wi-Fi through the Roku app.
It’s useful if you’re roommate keeps dying in Saints Row 4 and you want to pretend you can’t hear her call for help so you throw on your headphones. It is also, presumably, useful if you share TV space with someone and don’t want them to listen in on the latest episode of Bob’s Burgers. Basically if you’re an anti-social asshole this is going to be a great feature.
For the rest of the world, the people that aren’t festering pustules guised as human beings, there’s the promise of an improved processor. The original Roku Stick was super cute, but slower than interstate traffic after 6 pm.
We’ll be confirming or poking holes in Roku’s speed claims when we get our hands on the new and improved Roku Stick later this month. That is also, coincidentally, when the Roku Stick will start shipping to consumers. So get your $50 ready, my fellow cord cutting nerds.