Streaming Media Players Are Becoming More Prevalent in U.S. Homes

By next year, more than 25 percent of U.S. households will have streaming media players, according to recent research released by Parks Associates.

New entrants like Amazon Fire TV have helped bolster that statistic, though industry pioneer Roku leads the market with 46 percent of the streaming players purchased in the U.S. in 2013, while Apple finished second with 26 percent of sales.On top of being the most-purchased streaming player, Roku is also the most used. According to the research, 44 percent of households use Roku to stream media, while 26 percent use Apple TV. That gap has increased since last year, when the split was 37 to 24 percent.

There’s a variety of reasons for Roku’s dominance in the streaming media market, according to Barbara Kraus, director of research at Parks Associates.

“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 point, all of which appeal to consumers’ purchasing instincts,” Kraus said.

The research from Parks focuses solely on streaming media players. According to LRG, when you factor in devices like smart televisions, Chromecast and video game consoles that can stream media, nearly half of U.S. households (49 percent) have Internet-connected televisions.

Despite the fact that more American households are making use of streaming media players to access over-the-top (OTT) content—such as programming via services like Netflix, Hulu and Crackle—for the most part they are doing so to supplement their pay-TV services rather than replace them.

In fact, recent research indicates that 90 percent of customers are still paying for cable despite having access to OTT content. As such, cord-cutting—the act of replacing traditional cable services with OTT content—can be said to be more of an idea than a reality.

So while streaming media players may become more of a staple in American households in the coming years, it doesn’t seem as though traditional cable providers have to see them as much of a threat as they previously might have.