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3M Partners with Roku to Create Streaming Projector

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At a movie-themed press event this morning in New York City, 3M introduced the 3M Streaming Projector, a smart evolution of the company's compact projector technology into the home entertainment space. The Streaming Projector measures 4.3- by 4.2- by 2.0-inches and weighs 1 pound. It easily fits in one hand. For connectivity, it comes with a Roku Streaming Stick, which plugs into the back. When used with a Wi-Fi network and a Roku subscription, it offers access to all of Roku's over 600 channels, which includes Netflix and Hulu Plus.

The projector can create a 480p image up to 10-feet wide, and is rated at 65 lumens. Because it includes a rechargeable battery good for 2 hours and 45 minutes of playback, it can be used anywhere around the house or even in the backyard, assuming the Wi-Fi network reaches that far. In the launch event, 3M suggested it could be the perfect gadget for a sleepover or patio party (just hang a white sheet from a clothesline for a screen). Using a Roku app on iOS or Android devices, owners can wirelessly display photos or play music through the projector. They can also remove the Streaming Stick and plug it into a TV with an MHL HDMI port for Roku access.

The Streaming Projector includes a remote with full playback controls. In our limited hands-on time, it appeared that the built-in speakers weren't that loud at maximum volume. If that's a problem, it includes an audio jack for headphones, speakers, or even connecting to a home entertainment system.

The included Roku Streaming Stick can be removed, leaving the MHL HDMI port free. That lets users connect to the projector with other devices, including game consoles. The projector is only being sold with a Streaming Stick, so there's no cheaper option for people who already have one. 3M isn't ruling out creating such a unit in the future, though.

Through the holidays, the 3M Streaming Projector is available exclusively through Amazon. It's currently available for pre-order ($299), and those who pre-order it will get a $20 Amazon Instant Video credit. 3M will begin shipping the projector on October 22.

By keeping the price reasonable and offering a device with flexible use options, 3M may have a hit on its hands. Check back in a few weeks for our full review.

Last month, Roku announced that the Streaming Stick will go on sale in late October for $99.99.

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