There’s a huge battle going on in the living room between the various streaming platforms on the market. Google has long tried to make itself heard in this field, but most of its efforts aren’t very successful. That is, until four years ago. Chromecast finally launched Google into the market, but it’s still facing a constant battle with the ever-popular Roku.
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Roku is today launching an updated mobile app that introduces a redesigned user interface to make content easier to access alongside a new ‘What’s On’ guide that serves up recommendations on what to watch.
Roku says the aim of the redesign is to provide easier one-tap access to the most commonly used features. That includes the ability to start a stream with one tap of a channel from the app’s main screen, and a new navigation bar will let you pull up other features you might need quick access to including search, the remote control, and options for sending content to your TV. There’s also a redesigned remote control feature included.
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According to recent data released by Parks Associates, Chromecast is the second most popular streaming device. Roku, according to the data, is the most popular streaming media device manufacturer with 34 percent of the market, while Apple TV currently is the fourth most popular streaming media device based on 2014 sales, down from third place in 2013.
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Google’s diminutive and cheap Chromecast is making strong headway against its competitors according to a report today by Parks Associates. Priced at $35 but now going for just over $20, the dongle, which is controlled by Apps on iOS and Android devices rather than a traditional remote has passed the almost forgotten Apple TV and is closing in on the king of streamers, the Roku. Roku and AppleTV represented two thirds of the market last year but with entrants like Chromecast and Amazon’s Fire TV/Stick, the two dropped to around half the market.
The research finds Roku is still the leading brand with 29% of sales, but Google Chromecast (20%) has supplanted Apple TV (17%) in second place. New entrant Amazon Fire TV is in fourth place with 10%. Consumer content choices are also increasing, with Showtime and Sony planning to launch their own OTT video services to compete with Netflix and HBO.
“Nearly 50% of video content that U.S. consumers watch on a TV set is non-linear, up from 38% in 2010, and it is already the majority for people 18-44,” said Barbara Kraus, Director, Research, Parks Associates. “The market is changing rapidly to account for these new digital media habits. Roku now offers a streaming stick, and Amazon’s Fire TV streaming stick leaves Apple as the only top player without a stick product in the streaming media device category.”
Sticks are where it is at it would seem. Conversely, Google’s Nexus Player, introduced in October, has yet to make a blip but it might also show up in results next year.