Roku's Streaming Stick Is a Disruptor

The $50 device makes it easier than ever for viewers to access quality programming without a major cable or satellite subscription.

Mar 10, 2014 at 4:00PM

TV's top creators no longer need bet everything on the major broadcast and cable networks, Fool contributor Tim Beyers says in the following video.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Roku deserve an increasing share of the credit for the shift. Last summer, the search king released Chromecast for plugging on-demand programming into any HDMI-enabled television. Last week, Roku followed suit with the Streaming Stick, a similar device that also comes with a remote. The combination costs $50 versus $35 for the Chromecast.

Some are writing of how the more functional Streaming Stick might crimp demand for the Chromecast, especially when you consider Roku's long history as a Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) partner and maker of set-top boxes. Estimates peg the number of Roku-enabled apps at north of 1,200.

Tim says these comparisons miss the point. Instead, by increasing access to direct-to-device programming from Netflix, Instant Video, YouTube, and more via Wi-Fi, Google and Roku are fulfilling a key wish of the growing number of us who want anytime, anywhere programming.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. Do you own a Chromecast? Will you purchase the Roku Streaming Stick when it ships next month? Please watch the video to get Tim's full take and then leave a comment to let us know where you stand.

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Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Google and Netflix at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of, Google, and Netflix. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

A Financial Plan on an Index Card

Keeping it simple.

Aug 7, 2015 at 11:26AM

Two years ago, University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack wrote his entire financial plan on an index card.

It blew up. People loved the idea. Financial advice is often intentionally complicated. Obscurity lets advisors charge higher fees. But the most important parts are painfully simple. Here's how Pollack put it:

The card came out of chat I had regarding what I view as the financial industry's basic dilemma: The best investment advice fits on an index card. A commenter asked for the actual index card. Although I was originally speaking in metaphor, I grabbed a pen and one of my daughter's note cards, scribbled this out in maybe three minutes, snapped a picture with my iPhone, and the rest was history.

More advisors and investors caught onto the idea and started writing their own financial plans on a single index card.

I love the exercise, because it makes you think about what's important and forces you to be succinct.

So, here's my index-card financial plan:


Everything else is details. 

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