Via BBY Insider, we’ve learned that Best Buy intends to replace the Roku 1 on store shelves with a revised Roku Streaming Stick come April. Unlike the poorly received first gen Streaming Stick that ran $100, may or may not have been MHL-compatible, and relied on a partner television’s (or projector’s) remote for control, the new agnostic version will be hitting the streets at $50… including remote. Further, the 2014 HDMI Stick sports USB connectivity – which we suspect will be utilized for power as seen with Google’s Chromecast. And, speaking of Chromecast, we wonder if Roku will finally pull the trigger on Miracast screen mirroring. It should go without saying that Roku’s existing 1200+ “channels” (of varying quality and interest) are confirmed for the ride.


Via a most trusted Best Buy source (now on Twitter), comes a planogram of Best Buy’s May shelf reset… featuring the inevitable Amazon streamer and a possibly new Apple TV (reporting over 100 apps, without listing an existing SKU). Amazon details are amazingly light, with only the brand name and a tick in the WiFi box. But Amazon’s set-top or stick timing does line up nicely Recode’s intel. Won’t be long now…

Roku Misses Exit, Plots IPO?

Dave Zatz —  February 22, 2014 — 4 Comments


According to Bloomberg, Roku is contemplating a 2014 IPO but… “a decision to move ahead hasn’t been made, and the company hasn’t selected a lead banker.” Personally, I still believe their best exit strategy remains an acquisition and that they passed on the most prominent of suitors in Amazon – to both companies detriment. Roku’s largest challenge on the business side is that they pimp low cost, low margin hardware with insignificant recurring fees (on video/channel affiliate earnings). But licensing their appilicious platform itself may provide a way out. And, while the Streaming Stick is a failure, Roku TV looks to have legs and, pre-release, is already more noteworthy than Vudu’s similarly attempted pivot. As to others that might benefit, well LG is out having landed webOS. And Samsung’s already solid smart TV platform will be bolstered by Boxee skunkworks. Not to mention their best bet isn’t a sole television manufacturer but, rather, a company like Echostar/DISH (a Roku partner) or Rakuten (think Kobo) looking to expand into new markets.

The Best Network Camera

Dave Zatz —  February 22, 2014 — 6 Comments


The Wirecutter is out with a new piece on The Best Wireless IP Camera, having anointed the $200 Dropcam Pro as their top pick amongst the three cameras they put thru the paces. However, in this category, one size doesn’t fit all and the situation remains unsatisfying. We should start by saying that I’ve been fascinated with network video both as a tool and an entertainment medium since the days of the 3Com JenniCam… and I currently possess a number of devices, some photographed above (plus a dashcam), in addition to providing a variety of blog coverage (Logitech, VueZone, Archerfish). What you ultimately buy really depends on your objectives and selection is probably best determined via some sort of flow chart. Continue Reading…


By way of the FCC (and Brad Linder), we learn of a new player in the streaming space, the Blackloud PoChannel. With YouTube branding and DLNA promises, the Gemtek-produced device looks similar in size and playlist function to the upcoming Qplay TV Adapter… minus the TiVo founder’s social linkages. But unlike Qplay, while PoChannel will ship with both Android and iPhone apps, a traditional remote control will also be included for more traditional control. Yet the questions remain, what sets these guys apart and is the market already saturated (with imperfect products)?