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Roku OTT Box More Popular Than Apple TV in U.S.

A study of OTT set-top box adoption finds that Roku has a commanding lead, thanks to an association with Netflix and a flexible product strategy.

New York—Of all the U.S. broadband-enabled households with a set-top box, 44 percent own a Roku device. Compare that to only 26 percent that rely on Apple TV. Those numbers come from “The Evolving Market for Streaming Media Devices,” a new report by market research firm Parks Associates. Apple TV came in a distant second with a 26 percent share of both sales and usage.

The report, available for purchase, also states that media streaming device sales are steadily increasing and some type of OTT box will be in more than 25 percent of U.S. homes by 2015—this includes technology from companies like Apple, Google and Amazon.

“While approximately 50 percent of U.S. 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,” said Barbara Kraus, research director at Parks Associates. “Apple has not committed support and promotion to its Apple TV product line in the U.S., and its sales reflect this fact. 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.”

IP-connected devices are becoming increasingly popular with U.S. consumers.

The installed base for set-top boxes is still fairly small, Parks Associates’ report states. The research company predicts that 25 percent of U.S. homes will have one by 2015 (Parks said it does not include gaming consoles or dongle devices, such as the Google Chromecast, in that figure.). IN addition, strong sales for new “chord-cutting” devices, such as the Amazon Fire TV, are helping drive the category.

According to Parks’ Report, Roku’s dominant market share is due to Roku’s close association with Netflix, which is available on the Roku box. Roku has also been complimented on its product strategy to get the technology implemented into Smart TVs from Samsung and others.

“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 Kraus.

According to the website, Apple is reportedly rumored to be working on a new Apple TV box that is expected to launch Later this year and will include a motion control interface. Many agree that if Apple releases an updated Apple TV with more functionality this year, it will drive competition in the market.

The number of U.S. broadband-enabled households with some type of connected TV device grew to 64 percent in the first quarter of this year.