Streaming Media Devices: Apple Leads, Google Closing In

According to Strategy Analytics, demand for dedicated streaming media boxes and dongles grew 32% to a record level in 2015, but control ...

Linear TV still dominates video ad spending
Linear TV still dominates video ad spending
According to Strategy Analytics, demand for dedicated streaming media boxes and dongles grew 32% to a record level in 2015, but control of the market rests with four major brands. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Roku accounted for more than 80% of digital media streamer shipments worldwide in 2015. Google's low-cost Chromecast HDMI dongle continues to lead the standalone streamer market.

David Watkins, Strategy Analytics' service director, Connected Home Devices, said: "Google's puck-sized Chromecast dongle continues to have broad appeal with consumers who favor its mobile-centric approach to content access and control. The device's portability and low price at just $35 has made it an impulse purchase for many, and household ownership of multiple Chromecasts is not uncommon. However, the mobile device is not necessarily the center of the universe for everyone, and devices such as Apple TV, Roku and the Amazon Fire TV continue to prove popular with those looking for a more traditional remote-based and UI-driven TV experience."

Based on cumulative shipments of digital media streamers, Apple still leads the way having shipped close to 37 million Apple TV units since its launch in 2007. However, Google's Chromecast is catching up fast with 27 million units shipped in just two and a half years followed by Roku's Box and Streaming Stick (20 million) and Amazon Fire TV (less than 10 million).

Global shipments of all connected TV devices (including smart TVs, Blu-ray players, game consoles and digital media streamers) totaled 220 million units in 2015 following record shipments of 84 million in Q4.

Smart TVs accounted for 54% of all connected TV device shipments in 2015, reaching 120 million units. Samsung, LG and Sony have a combined 50% share of the smart TV market, although Chinese brands TCL and Hisense enjoyed the strongest annual shipment growth as they continue to expand beyond their domestic market.

Chirag Upadhyay, SA's senior research analyst, Connected Home Devices, added: "Ownership of connected TV devices is not restricted to one device over another. Our research shows that U.S. broadband homes own an average of 2.3 such devices, giving them multiple means by which to stream video and audio content to the TV. While some consumers will have a favored method, we find that most households are switching between different devices depending on the user and type of content being consumed."

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