Roku is ditching boxes in favour of a streaming stick later this year, and now it's announced hardware partners for the upcoming device. But those hardware partners are like that weird group of friends you call when all your more interesting and exciting friends are busy.
The hardware partners are all pretty second-tier, which is a little disappointing, because this unobtrusive gadget has worlds of potential. The problem is that all the top manufacturers — Samsung, Sharp, Vizio, Sony — are busy peddling their own app platforms or have committed to Google's. Here are the JV companies Roku's bringing on:
Element Electronics Global Vue International Haier Hitachi Insignia (Best Buy's brand) Mitsubishi Onkyo and Integra OPPO and TMAX Digital
The thumb drive-sized stick holds the same stuff a regular old box does, without all the extras like USB and additional storage. You just plug it into your TV's MHL-compatible HDMI port to get the Roku menu going. It's a great idea and one that deserves better dancing partners. We'll see how it pans out later in the year.