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Roku Boosts Streaming Stick Performance With Quad-Core Processor

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Will more power help the Roku Streaming Stick compete against the Google Chromecast? Roku hopes so. The set-top box company announced today that it will soon update the Stick with a quad-core processor, which delivers eight times the processing power of the original model. That will translate to faster start-up times for viewers and improved graphics rendering.

The improved Streaming Stick includes dual-band MIMO wireless connectivity, incorporates better antenna-shielding for less interference, is a hair smaller than the previous version, and comes with a standard remote, not the motion-aware gaming remote that comes with some Roku boxes. The updated model is available for pre-order today, and will ship in two weeks.

The Streaming Stick will still list for $49.99, which is $15 more than Chromecast, the category leader. Buyers in this area have shown that price is a crucial consideration, so Roku is taking a chance by not matching Google.

At the same time, Roku is announcing improvements to its operating system's on-screen content discovery features. The Roku follow feed now includes separate sections for movies and TV shows. Open up either area to see a selection of titles that are popular at that moment. The view will be updated four times per day, and is meant to save people the bother of searching through apps to find content to watch. Roku will begin rolling out the feature today, a process that will take about two weeks.

Finally, Roku is updating its mobile app, adding a private listening option that should be popular with Streaming Stick owners. The top two Roku boxes comes with a remote with an audio jack, so that viewers can plug in headphones and watch TV silently. Now, the Roku app offers the same experience through a phone or tablet, but only for Stick owners. They can plug in headphones as long as their Stick and mobile device are on the same Wi-Fi network. The feature works with Bluetooth headphones or speakers, as well as wired headphones.

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