More than 25% of US homes to have streaming player by 2015
Joseph O'Halloran | 10 July 2014
The likes of Roku, Apple and increasingly Amazon Fire TV are driving rapid expansion of streaming media players in US households according to research from Parks Associates.

Indeed The Evolving Market For Streaming Media Devices report found that more than a quarter of US households will likely have a streaming media player by 2015. By the end of 2013, Roku accounted for nearly half (46%) of streaming media players purchased in the US in 2013, while closest competitor Apple had 26%. This gap has widened since 2013, when 37% of streaming media player owners used Roku most and 24% used Apple TV most. Parks Associates forecast that global sales for streaming media players will reach nearly 50 million by 2017 while broadband household penetration in the US will exceed 38%.

"Multiple factors have allowed Roku to outpace Apple in US," explained Barbara Kraus, director, research, Parks Associates. "Roku has always had a close association with Netflix, the largest source of video downloads, and currently offers more than 1,700 channel apps as well as a choice of models with different features and price points, all of which appeal to consumers' purchasing instincts. With Amazon entering this CE category, there will be renewed pressure on all players to develop the best combination of 'can't miss' content with a simple and intuitive interface."

Parks believes that the CE category for streaming media players has been robust despite competition from streaming sticks such as the Google Chromecast. According to the analyst's earlier 1Q 2014 survey of 10,000 US broadband households, Google Chromecast sold as many units in six months as Roku sold in 2013, but overall, usage of Chromecast has steadily declined since its introduction. Parks expects that to drive usage in future, companies will increase efforts to secure high quality content through deals such as the HBO and Amazon agreement, which brings HBO shows to Amazon Prime's streaming video service. In addition, should Apple release a new version of AppleTV with more functionality in 2014, the result will be, says Parks, a more competitive market in the US.

"While approximately 50% of US households have at least one Apple product, such as an iPhone or iPad, the company has not yet been able to leverage this success for its Apple TV offering," Kraus says. "Apple has not committed support and promotion to its Apple TV product line in the US, and its sales reflect this fact. But they are the global sales leader in this category, having sold approximately 20 million units worldwide as of April 2014, compared to an estimated eight million for Roku at the end of 2013. As Amazon, the world's largest online retailer, emerges as a new competitor in this space, it could awaken the sleeping giant that is Apple."