Video Streamers to Continue Climb

Sales of streaming media players will continue to hop next year, as 14% of U.S. broadband homes plan to buy one by mid-2016, according to a new forecast from Parks Associates.

About 31% of those homes owned one as of Q3 2015, up from 27% at the start of the year, the research firm said.

Parks Associates’ latest findings emerge as several suppliers, including Apple, Roku, Amazon and Google, have introduced new models.

“Streaming media players will be a popular gift this holiday season, especially with more competitive pricing in the market and the expansion of new OTT services” Barbara Kraus, director of research at Parks Associates, said in a statement. “With the popularity of the category, it has now divided into two tiers – basic and premium models.”

While those seeking “basic content streaming” will eye products such as the Google Chromecast and Fire TV Stick, players such as the Roku 4, Nvidia Shield and new Apple TV will represent the premium market without the higher costs of smart TVs and connected game consoles, she added.

“In 2016, streaming media players will differentiate their models and brands through additional features, such as content options or new technologies like 4K,” Kraus said. “Ultimately consumers want a simple, uninterrupted experience in accessing OTT content, so that will be the minimum expectation for any device, regardless of the cost.”

According to Parks Research, two-thirds of U.S. broadband households connect at least one streaming device to the Internet. A Microsoft Xbox is the most commonly used CE  device for streaming, at more than 14%, followed Sony PlayStation (just less than 14%), and Roku (10%).