Some time ago I wrote about why I would never buy a smart TV. In a nutshell, I believe that the “smart part” will become obsolete, and shouldn’t be integrated into the appliance whose main job is as a display.
Well great minds think alike. Roku product managers see it the same way and have developed something called the “Roku Streaming Stick”. This “stick” looks like a USB thumb-drive and plugs into the “MHL” port on the back of select TV’s. The Roku stick isn’t available yet but looks like it will be here before Christmas.
So what is MHL? MHL stands for Mobile High-Definition Link, and will consist of a port on your TV that looks like an HDMI port. Only it’s made specifically for connecting devices like Roku and mobile phones to your TV. It’s handy too because it will power your device at the same time it streams.
The people behind MHL include the big manufacturers of TV’s and smart phones, e.g. Nokia, Samsung, and Sony. There is one player noticeably absent: Apple! I guess they still want you to buy an Apple TV device.
Update Dec 2012: The Roku Streaming Stick is available as promised. Interesting that I see the Streaming Stick on Amazon and the Roku site for $99. This looks like a bit of an early adopter toy at present. Heed the warning about needing a Roku ready device. A small set at this time.
In fact the ONLY TV I see from this list actually available today is market is the Insignia at Best Buy. The others don’t show up in Amazon or anywhere else when I search. Let me know if you plan on using MHL this year. maybe it’s a 2013 thing.