Roku expands beyond Internet video-streaming boxes

By the Associated Press | January 4, 2012 | 10:03 AM EST

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Roku is thinking outside its set-top box in an attempt to bring more Internet video to flat-panel televisions.

The new approach will rely on a finger-sized device that won't require extra cords or separate remote controls to stream video over high-speed Internet connections. The product, called the Roku Streaming Stick, will plug directly into a high-definition port available on a growing number of new-breed TVs, just as a flash drive fits into a computer's USB outlet.

The streaming stick won't be available until the second half of this year. Roku Inc. announced it Wednesday to get a jump on the onslaught of consumer gadgets that will be unveiled next week at an annual electronics show in Las Vegas.

Roku expects to sell the streaming stick for $50 to $100.