Roku's Streaming Stick Is a Disruptor

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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Read/Post Comments (8) | Recommend This Article (3)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On March 10, 2014, at 8:29 PM, Rondo wrote:

    My wife and I made the switch last month. We were stupid to wait so long, paying $300/month!!! for years. We started with Chromecast but kept Comcast as a security blanket. That way we got used to the idea of roaming the web to find such amazing numbers of amazing movies, new and old, Indie, not indie, TV shows, new and old, etc. Then we bought Roku 3 and are happy as a pig in you know what. After paying tiny month subscriptions to Netlix, Hulu, and a few others, and pay comcast $40/month for 25 Mghz so that HD movies stream flawlessly, we're paying less than $75/month and having a superior experience - because there are NO commercials, no hokey offers, just movies and TV shows. The secret surprise for US was ACORN. We love British creations and that site will keep us busy, 24/7 for about 20 years! Anyway, the switch is easy and cheap. Everyone should do it. If you con't mind spending extra, start with Chromecast just to get used to the different style, then go to Roku3 - "3" is only Roku that has Netflix. You'll wonder why you ever waited. Really.

  • Report this Comment On March 10, 2014, at 9:49 PM, rowlandw123 wrote:

    To Rondo, enjoy it while it lasts.

    If you're still getting your internet via cable, Comcast holds the high cards after the net neutrality decision. Expect them to upcharge your internet and degrade your streaming experience or cap your usage unless you purchase an expensive tier service, in order to make up for their lost cable TV revenues.

  • Report this Comment On March 10, 2014, at 10:05 PM, Penemue wrote:

    I have a Chromecast and I'm starting to be very disappointed by it.

    The idea is great but the lack of content options is weighing on me. I don't have a dvr and thought this was a good option. I did not buy it to replace my Directv but to add on demand capability. The only authenticated channel I get content from is HBOgo.

    If this doesn't change in the next few weeks I will abandon the platform for Roku.

  • Report this Comment On March 10, 2014, at 10:25 PM, TYPEONEGATIVE wrote:

    We have a ROKU for my nephew, along with Directv.

    Netflix is a glorified channel. Hulu is another. Many of the other channels are public domain that wasn't worth the studios renewing.

    When ROKU starts to get real channels, I may dump Directv (which I also hate, I miss FIOS)

  • Report this Comment On March 11, 2014, at 8:44 AM, CalvinballPro wrote:

    Chromecast doesn't need a remote. The remote is your phone or tablet or laptop.

  • Report this Comment On March 11, 2014, at 11:09 AM, lilwillow3 wrote:

    It is simple. We need video bluetooth. Then and only then can we do away with cable as all of our tv needs can be met via cellular, streamed to our phone, then forwarded to our video bluetooth enabled tv. Otherwise, we still need some sort of access such as wifi, which most of us have to pay for as it is not as universally available for free everywhere.

  • Report this Comment On March 11, 2014, at 3:01 PM, mobycat wrote:

    Video bluetooth? The data rate of Bluetooth will keep that from ever happening.

  • Report this Comment On March 12, 2014, at 8:37 AM, roadslide wrote:

    I have used roku for a few years and find it to be 80% + of my viewing. when I moved to florida I got verizon on only one tv and just ruko on another tv that I enjoy both netflix and amazon prime. cable programing is highly over priced.

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Tim Beyers

Tim Beyers first began writing for the Fool in 2003. Today, he's an analyst for Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova. At, he covers disruptive ideas in technology and entertainment, though you'll most often find him writing and talking about the business of comics. Find him online at or send email to For more insights, follow Tim on Google+ and Twitter.

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