Roku's streaming TV stick is becoming a lot more competitive with the Chromecast. Beginning today, Roku is selling a new version of the Roku Streaming Stick that costs only $49.99, down from an initial selling price of $99.99 for the original model in 2012. While that's still more expensive than the $35 Chromecast, it'll include access to a robust lineup of channels and apps, all while Google is still just beginning to build out the Chromecast's offerings. The Streaming Stick supports 1080p and now also comes with a remote — though the remote's inclusion of shortcuts to the Blockbuster and M-Go apps is fairly strange beside its Netflix and Amazon buttons.
The Streaming Stick is also taking one other page out of the Chromecast's book: rather than only needing to be plugged into a TV's HDMI port, the new stick will also need to be plugged into a TV's USB port for power. That'll make for a slightly messier setup behind your TV, but the result seems to be that the new streaming stick can work on most TV sets, unlike the original model. The Roku 1 streaming box now sells for $49.99 as well, so today's update will give viewers an option between two ways to stream over Roku at the same price. While they're both still more expensive than Google's bargain-priced Chromecast, Roku's streaming options have been some of our favorites, and they're certainly even more compelling now.