Who needs a big, expensive Web-connected television when there are so many other ways to stream content from the Internet to your living room? There are a variety of boxes and plug-ins that users can acquire to get the Web running on their TVs. One of the leaders in the space, Roku, has taken the notion a step farther. Roku is throwing out the notion of the box. Instead, stream movies and shows to your TV just by plugging in a stick.

The Roku Streaming Stick is intended to give users all the functionality of a Smart TV without any boxes or cables. It can be controlled by a TV remote and offer most (but not all) of the features that a Roku player can offer. Internet TV is going to be a maturing market vertical in 2012 and on the eve of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week, we are starting to see how the space will evolve in the new year.

Roku Partners With Brightcove

In addition to the Roku Streaming Stick, the company also announced today that it is partnering with video cloud content provider Brightcove to bring content from Showtime to the service. Essentially, Roku is making it easier for Brightcove customers to deliver content to Smart TVs powered by Roku. This will help cut down on creating user interfaces and design elements for adapting Internet content for televisions.

The Showtime app will feature HD-quality promotional content from shows like Shameless and House Of Lies. It does not appear that full Showtime content will appear on the Roku but rather clips, highlights, Web shows and interviews.

Roku Not The Only Game In Town

Everybody is waiting to see what Apple does with the TV space. Really, it is a natural vertical for Cupertino to move into. At this point the only product the company produces is Apple TV, the external box that can stream content and set up AirPlay that puts the content of your iPhone or iPad onto your television. There is also one of the original companies in this space, Boxee, which will likely iterate a new product this year.

One of the more interesting developments in the Internet TV space is being brought to bear by Myriad and Broadcom. Myriad is and Android development company that has introduced Davlik to the ecosystem with the intention of porting Android functionality everywhere. Myriad announced Alien Vue last month with the specific intention of putting Android apps and content on TV screens. Myriad is partnering with semiconductor company Broadcom to create set top boxes that will bring this product to life. The companies will be showing off the new product at CES.

What do you want from a Smart TV? Should it run apps from iOS and Android? Is streaming from Netflix and Hulu Plus mandatory? Let us know in the comments.