When it comes to streaming television and home theater, one of the most robust solutions out there is the Roku box.
Packing a huge variety of content options in one space-saving product, the Roku box is attracting plenty out there, who are turning to this device to bring entertainment home. Yesterday, plans emerged to make the Roku even better, as Ozmo, Inc. announced that Roku would be incorporating its system-on-a-chip (SoC) into the remotes that drive the Roku Streaming Stick.
The Roku Streaming Stick takes the already tiny Roku box and shrinks it down even further, providing what looks like a USB thumb drive with "Roku" stamped on it. But instead of plugging into a USB port, it plugs instead into the MHL port of so-called "Roku Ready" devices, turning televisions into smart televisions.
A device that small, meanwhile, requires some particularly small components, especially as far as the remote interface goes. That's why Roku looked to Ozmo.
Ozmo specializes in ultra-low power Wi-Fi connectivity, and that made Ozmo's Wi-Fi Direct systems perfect for the ultra-small Roku Streaming Stick. Since Ozmo's technology uses the Wi-Fi adapter already located in the device it's working with, that precludes the need to add another RF module specifically for the remote.
It also removes the need to add on a similar short-range technology like Bluetooth or the like, which can bring along troubles of its own.
But using technology like Ozmo's OZMO2000, a Wi-Fi personal area network device that runs on a single chip, allows costs to be kept to a minimum while bringing out the best in battery life, latency and other important traits.
Vice president of sales for Ozmo, Vince Murdica, explained the value in using Ozmo hardware; “Using Wi-Fi as the basis for a variety of high-performance wireless peripheral designs represents a major market shift that we see rapidly increasing through 2012 and beyond. Roku’s remote control project is a great example of how Ozmo’s solution simplifies the platform architecture for lower integration costs and faster time to market. If Wi-Fi is already there, why not use it?”
Indeed, why not? The comparatively minimal bandwidth one command would use while playing a streaming feed likely wouldn't get in the way very much anyway, and that one command would likely either stop the feed entirely – pause, stop, home screen – or otherwise manipulate the feed that it would have to stop anyway, as would be the case with rewind or fast forward.
Ozmo is essentially using what's already in play to set up the system to use the least amount of resources, which allows Roku in turn to shrink that box down from a box that sits in the palm of a hand to a box that can fit on an outstretched finger.
While the need to shrink down the already small Roku box is debatable at best, it's clear that Roku wants to make these devices as unobtrusive as possible to get them into as many places as possible. The end result is a package that will not only bring in a lot of entertainment options, but do so even in environments that don't take up a lot of space.
That's going to make the Roku line more viable overall and encourage potential customers – a move no company can ignore for any length of time. Roku might be making an appearance on a lot more hardware before too much longer, in a move that both shareholders and home theater buffs can get behind.
Edited by Braden Becker