Connected TVIf you’ve purchased a Roku, Apple TV or Google Chromecast in the past year, you’re not alone. Streaming media players made their way into 6 million U.S. homes over the past year, according to The NPD Group’s latest “Connected Home Report.”

NPD expects streaming media players will be found in 39 percent of U.S. Internet households by the beginning of 2017. Three factors are driving greater numbers of Americans to purchase streaming media players, according to NPD’s market research: more brands in the market, more apps, and lower-cost devices.

Streaming Media Players
“In its infancy, the streaming media player market had two major players driving growth; Apple and Roku – now we have four relevant hardware manufacturers with the addition of Amazon’s Fire TV and Google’s Chromecast,” commented John Buffone, executive director, NPD Connected Intelligence.

“Content is what’s going to bring these devices to the next level. It’s not just necessary to be able to stream popular video services such as Netflix and Hulu. Device manufacturers must also have the ability to attract a wide array of content owners and developers to build apps for their platforms – which is the direction Apple, Roku, Google, and Amazon are taking with their devices.”

Prices are falling even as designers and manufacturers add new features and functionality to streaming media players, NPD analysts note. The average price for a streaming media player dropped from $81 in 2012 to $61 in this year’s first half, according to NPD’s Retail Tracking Service.

“The decline in price was initiated by Google with its $35 Chromecast, and it wasn’t long before others, like Roku, responded competitively with solutions such as its HDMI streaming stick for $49,” Buffone elaborated. “Affordability can drive impulse buying, rapid increases in ownership, and in turn it is increasing the number of homes with access to apps on TV. It’s quickly becoming a great new channel content owners can use to grow the audience for popular TV shows, movies and more.”

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