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Roku dominating Apple in US streaming market

Roku has widened its gap over rival Apple TV in the US market and accounted for 46% of streaming media players bought last year compared to Apple’s 26%, according to new research.

Parks Associates’ ‘The Evolving Market fro Streaming Media Devices’ report claims that Roku is the most used streaming media player in the US with 44% use among US broadband households, compared to 26% for Apple TV.

This gap has widened since 2013, when 37% of streaming media player owners used Roku most, followed by 24% for Apple TV.

“Multiple factors have allowed Roku to outpace Apple in US sales and usage. 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,” said Parks Associates research director Barbara Kraus.

“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.”

The research firm predicts that more than 25% of US households will have a streaming media player by 2015, with new entries in the market such as the Amazon Fire helping to expand the connected consumer electronics (CE) category.

Parks claims that the CE category for streaming media players has been “robust” despite competition from streaming media sticks like Google’s Chromecast, which it categorises separately.

According to an earlier Parks study, Chromecast has sold as many units in six months as Roku sold in 2013, but overall, usage of the device has declined since its introduction.

On a global level, Parks estimates that global sales for streaming media players will reach nearly 50 million by 2017 while broadband household penetration in the US will exceed 38%.

Worldwide, Parks says Apple TV is outperforming Roku, having sold roughly 20 million units worldwide as of April 2014, compared to Roku’s eight million.

“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. Apple has not committed support and promotion to its Apple TV product line in the U.S., and its sales reflect this fact. But they are the global sales leader in this category,” said Kraus.

“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.”