40% of U.S. Homes Now Have a Streaming Media Player

The latest research from Dallas-based Parks Associates reveals that almost 40 percent of internet-connected U.S. households now have a streaming media player.

As a reminder of how fast the home entertainment landscape is changing, only 6 percent of households were streaming via a media player in 2010.

Roku remains the leader with 37 percent share of share of media players owned by what Parks calls U.S. “broadband households.” Over the past year, Amazon’s share has increased by 4 percent, cutting into Google’s market share, Parks said.

“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,” said Parks research analyst Kristen Hanich.

“In terms of usability, consumers score Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon’s Fire TV highly,” she said. “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.”

At the same time, more than half of internet-connected U.S. households now own a smart TV, Parks said, noting that ease-of-use is the most important factor for users when it comes to choosing whether to stream content through a smart TV or media player. These devices are competing directly in terms of usage, according to Parks, while the popularity of gaming consoles declines.

Parks offered the following highlights of this new research:

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

“Smart TVs earned the highest “net promoter score” among consumers out of all the CE products Parks Associates has tested, but streaming media players still have higher usage rates, indicating these devices have firmly established their role in their ability to connect users with content quickly and easily,” Hanich concluded.