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Why Google and Comcast Can Still Challenge Roku in the OTT Gatekeeper Race: Half of Consumers Are About to Buy Their 1st Streaming Gadget

Roku Express 4K+
Roku Express 4K+ (Image credit: Roku)

It’s still pretty early in the streaming wars, at least for those technology companies seeking to control the device ecosystem and become the home entertainment "gatekeepers" of the future.

According to a report published Wednesday by Interpret analyst Brett Sappington, half of consumers who plan to purchase a smart TV, or another connected TV gadget, over the next three months will be first-time buyers. 

This is an important figure, given the range of companies—Google, Comcast and TiVo, just to name a few—which are ramping up efforts to run down incumbent connected TV device market leaders Roku, Amazon and Samsung. 

The Interpret data would imply there’s still plenty of time to catch up. 

“With half of buyers being new to smart TVs and streaming media players, this sector of consumer electronics is primed for continued growth,” Sappington, Interpret’s vice president of research, said in a statement. “However, not all streaming device brands will enjoy the full benefit of that growth. Our research shows that each brand attracts a unique consumer audience, with differing characteristics, habits, and preferences that are often related to key features. Those brands that best meet consumers’ needs stand the best chance of gaining market share.” 

According to Interpret’s latest report, Streaming Devices: Platforms, Brands, and Consumers 2021, 10% of consumers plant to buy a smart TV in the next quarter. A similar percentage plan to buy a streaming stick, dongle or player over that span. 

Around 18% of Roku owners plan to replace their streaming device in the next three months, while 17% of Samsung gadget owners and 18% of Vizio owners plan to do the same.