appletvStreaming media players (SMPs) were present in 3 in 10 (31 percent) of U.S. broadband households as of end-3Q 2015, up from 27 percent at the start of the year. That’s poised to increase, as more than 14 percent of U.S. broadband households intend to buy a streaming media player (SMP) by the middle of 2016, according to Parks Associates.

SMPs will figure into gift purchases this holiday season, Parks adds. “Streaming media players will be a popular gift this holiday season, especially with more competitive pricing in the market and the expansion of new OTT services” Parks’ director of research Barbara Kraus was quoted in a press release.

Percent of Broadband Homes with Streaming Media Players
SMPs’ popularity has led to a division between higher and lower priced tiers within the SMP market segment, Kraus continued. ¨Consumers who want basic content streaming will gravitate to streaming media sticks such as the Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV due to their lower costs, which also make them good gift options,¨ she commented.

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¨Cube-shaped players, like the Roku 4, NVIDIA SHIELD, and the latest generation of the Apple TV, are premium players, with more features, such as 4K streaming and more internal storage, but still with a much lower price tag than a new smart TV or connected gaming console.”

Given the maturity of SMPs as a consumer electronics product, OEMs will try to differentiate their offerings from those of competitors by adding new features, such as content options, or new technologies, such as 4K, Parks predicts. “Ultimately,¨ Kraus added, ¨consumers want a simple, uninterrupted experience in accessing OTT content, so that will be the minimum expectation for any device, regardless of the cost.”

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