A new report from Park Associates queried broadband customers on what kind of streaming media device do they use in their household. Roku led the pack with 37% of respondents, followed by Apple TV which secured 2nd place with 24%. Not bad for a hobby, but it is surprising that Apple does little to boost their market share.
During the past holiday season, Roku made a number of media buys, part of a $10 million dollar campaign. Oddly enough, a device meant for your TV was pushed through outdoor and radio channels.
This past March, the Roku 3 was announced, slotted at the top of a complete line-up of streaming devices. It’s priced at $99, in line with the Apple TV. Roku could be making gains through sales of lower-end products, a strategy that has been successful by phone manufacturers looking to tackle Apple’s iPhone market share. The Roku LT, a more than capable device, is an attractive option for consumers at less than $50. During the holiday season, these could be found for $40. Roku should expect some company at the lower-end, with the introduction of the $35 Chromecast. It does away with the remote, instead allowing for casting from a smartphone or Chrome web browser.
Roku has proved themselves to be a worthwhile competitor. Being a primarily Apple household (save for TiVo, Chromecast, Xbox, PS3), we’ve chosen to go with Roku throughout. There’s still an Apple TV 2 in the mix, but it’s outnumbered 4 to 1. This is partly due to the low-cost and channel availability. Apple seems to have taken a renewed interest in the Apple TV. Yesterday’s acquisition of Matcha.tv could bring unified search to Apple TV, a feature currently available on Roku. As for the lower-end of the market, that’s a strategy that won’t work using older hardware. The second version can be jailbroken to allow for new channels and features, something not available on the current model. As it stands now, the Apple TV 2 has a resale value greater than the cost a new ATV 3.
At $99, the Apple TV remains a must-have iPhone accessory, which definitely helps their numbers. At some point, they need to look at the broader market and changes that need to be made in order to catch up with Roku.