Roku Tops Apple TV

Roku Inc. is winning the early media streaming player wars in the US, despite the huge brand advantage of Apple and higher sales of its Apple TV gear.

A recent Parks Associates survey of 10,000 US broadband homes found that Roku's over-the-top (OTT) video player is easily the most used streaming media device in the nation. Thirty-seven percent of the responding households with streaming media players said they primarily use the Roku box, while 24 percent said they primarily use the newer Apple TV. No other streaming media player came close to those two, including devices from Sony Corp., Tivo Inc., Netgear, and Boxee (which Samsung recently bought).

Notably, Roku's box was the most used streaming media device in the US even though it's not the top-selling device. Roku said in April that it has sold more than 5 million boxes. Apple said in May that it has sold about 13 million of its streaming settops.

OTT media players appear to be on the cusp of going mainstream in the US. In a new research report (subscription required), Parks Associates found that the devices are now in 14 percent of US homes -- double the penetration rate of just two years ago.

Parks Associates predicts that the number of connected TV devices sold worldwide will reach 330 million by 2017 -- nearly double the expected total for this year. It expects annual revenue from such devices to nearly double by 2017 as surging sales more than offset declining average product prices.

But the research firm warns that the booming market will create differentiation challenges for consumer electronics manufacturers and service providers alike. With average product prices expected to drop by as much as 50 percent, it will be "critical" for manufacturers and providers to innovate, so they can generate fresh advertising and content placement revenue.

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

Eggman13 8/15/2013 | 11:41:06 PM
Sales data versus self-reported research data How can Roku possibly be leading this market when Apple TV sales are 150% higher to date? Yes, some of these units went international shipments, but not the majority. The difference is important, ais the data cited for Roku penetration is self-reported by online survey resopndents, not actual sales data. The Parks' data should be taken with grain of salt.
regulatorguy 8/15/2013 | 4:02:40 PM
Re: Cable (kinda) embraces Roku? Don't know if they'd "embrace" any OTT STB vendors other than the largest players but definitely seems like they'd want an OTT play of their own, even if it's drafting off the installed base of Roku and Apple.
albreznick 8/15/2013 | 3:27:17 PM
Re: Cable (kinda) embraces Roku? So do you think MSOs wil embrace other streaming media players too, like Apple TV? Or will they come out with their own version of OTT boxes? Either way, it looks like they'll have to play in this market somehow, no?
regulatorguy 8/15/2013 | 2:20:11 PM
Cable (kinda) embraces Roku? Perhaps not too surprising given that some MSOs are leveraging Roku themselves despite the ever-present threat of cord cutting?


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