February 15, 2012
| by Rachel Cericola
Consumers seem to be buying up Apple TV and Roku boxes—and actually using them, too. According to a new study by Parks Associates, these types of streaming set-top boxes have fueled Internet-based entertainment, with 31 percent of U.S. broadband households using the web to deliver movies and TV to TVs at home.
Of course, a lot more people have them now. At $99 for the Apple TV and as low as $50 for the Roku, media receivers were a hot holiday gift in 2011. They weren’t quite as hot as HDTVs and tablets, but Parks says that the product category is on track and currently in about 13 percent of U.S. households.
The company’s recent survey, “Value of Video: Shifting Consumer Dollars,” predicts another 14 million units to move this year.
“In the 2011 holiday season, 4 percent of households bought one of these inexpensive, single-function devices, which enable households to view over-the-top (OTT) video from Internet-based services such as Amazon Prime Instant Video and Netflix,” said Kurt Scherf, VP and principal analyst at Parks Associates. “Nearly 20 percent of these holiday-season buyers are over 45 years of age, so these devices have achieved relatively broad appeal among multiple consumer segments.”
Many consumers have used these types of set-tops to completely cut the cord from pay TV services. Scherf says that at the bare minimum, these types of devices could facilitate consumers looking to cut back.
Recently, we reported that Apple was one of the few CE companies to end 2011 on a high note. Some of that success could be attributed to the 2.8 million Apple TV units sold in its fiscal 2011, with another 1.4 million moving in the holiday quarter. Roku also had a nice year, seeing 1.5 million boxes sold.
Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at www.rachelcericola.com.