streaming videoIt’s been a great decade for streaming media players, according to research from Parks Associates. The firm found that streaming media player penetration has risen from 6% among U.S. broadband households in 2010 to almost 40% at the beginning of this year.

The research also looks at the competitive landscape. It found that Amazon’s share rose by 4% over last year at the expense of Google’s share. Roku held steady at 37%.

Streaming Media Player Penetration
“Since their inception about a decade ago, consumers have purchased streaming media players due to their modern and friendly user-interfaces, wide app support, and low cost, making them easier to upgrade and replace than a television set,” Kristen Hanich, a Research Analyst for Parks Associates, said in a press release. “In terms of usability, consumers score Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon’s Fire TV highly. When ranking these devices, Roku leads in multiple usability categories, while the Apple TV leads in terms of gaming and the ability to purchase content. Amazon’s Fire TV has moved up to second place in the ease-of-setup category and is close to the Apple TV’s score in several more, including ease of finding something to watch and ease of purchasing content, which could account in part for its growing market share.”

Source: Parks Associates

The research says that more than half of U.S. broadband households own smart TVs. The key to the direct competition between streaming media players and smart TVs is ease of use. The use of gaming consoles for video has declined.

  • More than 70% of streaming media player (SMP) owners use their devices at least once per week, compared to 59% of smart TV owners.
  • 44% of SMP owners use their device daily as compared to 37% of smart TV owners.
  • Almost 50% of smart TV owners also own a streaming media player.
  • Between 2015 and 2017, flat-panel purchases including 4K/Ultra HD technology rose from 14% to 30% among U.S. broadband households.

Last August, Parks said that Roku devices were owned and used by 37% of broadband homes in the United States during the first quarter of 2017. That was a 4% increase compared to the first quarter of 2016.

It hasn’t been totally smooth sailing for the category. In February, Consumer Reports posted a story that questioned the security of Roku devices. The critiques were that the devices can be taken over by hackers and that they can provide too much information about users.

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