Streaming media is growing in popularity with 14 percent of broadband connected homes now reporting that they are enjoying some form of connected device.
Parks Associates surveyed 10,000 broadband connected homes in the U.S. and found that 14 percent of homes are now using a streaming media device, a doubling of the result from 2011. Of those using a device, 37 percent are using Roku set top boxes and 24 percent are using an Apple TV. This is an interesting statistic as Roku said in April that it had sold 5 million units to date, while Apple reported selling a total of 13 million Apple TVs as of May of this year. Seeing as Apple has sold so many units, we’re not sure why the usage rates of Roku are so much higher in these results. Possibly Apple TV homes tend to buy more than just one? It just isn’t clear.
As for the future of separate set top boxes, Parks Associates doesn’t feel they will be disappearing any time soon. “Innovations such as next-gen game consoles and 4K or ultra-HD TVs will boost unit sales for these devices, but overall, consumers are reluctant to replace these big-ticket items solely for smart upgrades,” said Barbara Kraus, director, research, Parks Associates. “As a result, streaming video media devices will have a thriving market because they can offer innovations such as streaming video at low prices. Devices such as Roku’s streaming players and Google’s Chromecast will benefit from these market conditions.”
Apple insists on continuing to call the Apple TV a “hobby,” but with estimates showing that 330 million connected devices will be sold per year by 2017, it seems it might want to take it a bit more seriously.
The big question, of course, is whether or not set top boxes will be able to sustain their popularity. While people are currently using them as a stop gap as they don’t want to replace their TVs just to be able to watch Netflix, they will indeed be replacing them at some time in the future. Will Roku and Apple along with the other manufacturers be able to find ways to keep the devices relevant? We’ll just have to wait and see.