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Roku signs Streaming Stick link-up with hardware leaders

Roku today announced that it has inked several deals with hardware manufacturers, which will develop devices that are compatible with the Roku Streaming Stick.

Roku partners include Element Electronics, GlobalVue International, Haier, Hitachi, Best Buy's Insignia brand, Mitsubishi Electric, Onkyo, Integra, OPPO, and TMAX Digital.

These companies will develop "Roku Ready" TVs, which will include the Roku logo on their packaging to signify that they will work seamlessly out of the box with Roku's Streaming Stick. Several devices will also be bundled with the Roku Streaming Stick.

The Roku Streaming Stick was announced in January. It plugs into your TV's HDMI port for access to various streaming services available on Roku, like Netflix, as well as games. The gadget is the size of the average USB flash drive, but includes built-in Wi-Fi, a processor, memory, and software. It works with HDMI ports that have been MHL-enabled—MHL stands for Mobile High-Definition Link and it's a new standard that uses the HDMI connector to deliver streaming services.

When connected to a TV, the Roku Streaming Stick is integrated into the device and controlled with a TV remote.

Rival Boxee unveiled a similar service, Boxee Live TV, last year.

"Consumer electronics manufacturers recognise the value in making products that stream entertainment, yet it is very difficult for them to deliver and sustain a vibrant, robust streaming platform on their own," Chas Smith, vice president of business development at Roku, said in a statement. "The Roku Streaming Stick adds instant access to the leading streaming platform with virtually no overhead from manufacturers, while giving consumers the best streaming experience available."

"By partnering with Roku, and developing a line of new Mitsubishi TVs that will support their new Roku Streaming Stick, we will be able to offer the best big screen TVs and the most powerful Internet streaming device together, bringing web-based entertainment to a whole new level for our customers," said James Chan, vice president of marketing for Mitsubishi Electric.

Roku said today that the Streaming Stick will be launching "in the coming weeks." Roku has not announced pricing, but its most recent set-top box, the Roku LT, costs £50.

The announcement comes shortly after Roku confirmed a $45 million (£29 million) investment from News Corp. and British Sky Broadcasting, as well as existing Roku investors Menlo Ventures and Globespan Capital Partners, and an unnamed strategic investor.