Roku Reigns in Streaming Market

Roku hasn't yet succeeded in its goal to become the new operating system for the connected TV, but it is ruling the roost when it comes to media streaming hardware.

A new Parks Associates study has found that US consumers buy more Roku Inc. devices than any other brand of retail set-top or streaming stick. Roku captured 34% of the market in 2014, outperforming second-place Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), which secured 23% with its Chromecast device. Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN)'s Fire TV products came in third place, outpacing Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s Apple TV, which fell to fourth.

Perhaps more importantly, Roku devices are used more often than any other rival streamer. Parks notes that 37% of households with a streaming device reported using a Roku. That number dropped to 19% for Google's Chromecast, 17% for the Apple TV and 14% for Amazon Fire TV products.

Want to know more about the impact of web services on the pay-TV sector? Check out our dedicated OTT services content channel here on Light Reading.

The number of US broadband households with any retail streaming device is still just shy of 20%. However, the fracturing of the pay-TV and media markets means that service providers are trying to expand to new hardware platforms, and programmers are seeking new distribution routes that include developing their own apps and experimenting with skinny bundles that can be streamed to any connected device. At the same time, the smart TV market still hasn't consolidated, which gives streaming devices more value. (See also Smarter 'Dumb' TVs Will Drive OTT Adoption.)

Parks does note that the streaming media hardware market will prove difficult for any newcomers to the scene.

"The market consolidation around these four brands forces new entrants to develop more creative features and functionality to tap into the strong consumer demand for streaming content," says director of research Barbara Kraus. "Devices with additional functionality such as the Intel Compute Stick may be a sign of things to come, where streaming is not the primary function but an extra feature to provide additional value."

— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading

kq4ym 8/25/2015 | 8:13:50 AM
Re: Roku FTW I too have an older model Roku and can handily recommend the box for anyone looking for basically free tv. The modest cost of the unit allows watching thousands and thousands of movies, tv programs, not to mention all kinds of specialty programming from YouTube and other without cost. Of course, there are pay programs available if you want to delete the ads, or connect to your cable programming choices. Myself, I just watch the free stuff and that's more than I'll ever need.
KBode 8/24/2015 | 3:52:02 PM
Re: Roku FTW Any update on that Roku 4K box Dave? Fall launch maybe?

I've finally got a 4K set and I'm actually using the Samsung's set internals so I can actually watch Netflix and other in 4K, and my Roku 3 is suddenly gathering dust.
DaveZNF 8/22/2015 | 8:30:10 AM
Re: Roku FTW Perhaps. If you must own only one box, perhaps TiVo is better due to the inclusion of linear content. However, TiVo only offers a select number of apps - some are missing (like HBO GO), some are outdated (like Hulu) and for others it's still quicker to flip inputs to pull up Netflix or Amazon on Roku if you have two boxes (or more, as I do). I imagine (or perhaps know) more TiVo apps are on the way and I suspect (or perhaps suspect) the upcoming TiVo Bolt will launch apps faster, and that could change the dynamics somewhat. However, the best way to run a TiVo is in a closet or basement and have a TiVo playback app ON a Roku or Fire TV. Then you've got no app comprises. I think that's a possible scenario. However, I doubt TiVo guide or recordings would ever be linked into Roku's universal search, since that's one of TiVo's selling points. 

Regarding Apple TV, whatever comes next I hope involves a better presentation of apps and a remote bigger than a toothpick. 
Mitch Wagner 8/21/2015 | 4:38:59 PM
Re: Roku FTW Anecdotally, I agree with you. TiVo is better than Roku because it conbines DVR and streaming in a single device. But TiVo is expensive. Roku costs much less, and is good enough. 

We have an Apple TV as well, and even though I'm an Apple enthusiast, that device just gathers dust. Roku has out-Appled Apple.
DaveZNF 8/21/2015 | 12:10:20 PM
Roku FTW Having owned just about every streamer, from Apple TV to TiVo to Xbox One, Roku remains my go-to streamer. I have the 2013 Roku 3 and recommend most folks in the market pick up the 2015 Roku 2 (with same processing power as mine). It's features a quick and easy UI (my 72 year old mom runs two Roku TVs) and the broadest range of apps/channels. And unlike say a budget Chromecast or an PS4, a standard remote control is included. But an updated Apple TV, with or without TV service, or sudden interest in 4k could change things at some point... 
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