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Roku More Popular Than Apple TV, Says Parks Set-Top Box Report
A study of set-top box adoption finds that Roku has a commanding lead, thanks to an association with Netflix and a smart product strategy.

Of U.S. broadband-enabled households with a set-top box, 44 percent own a Roku device. Compare that to only 26 percent that rely on Apple TV. Those numbers come from "The Evolving Market for Streaming Media Devices," a new report by market research company Parks Associates.

The installed base for set-top boxes is still fairly small. Parks predicts that 25 percent of U.S. homes will have one by 2015. (Parks doesn't include gaming consoles or dongle devices, such as the Google Chromecast, in that figure.) Strong sales for new devices, such as the Amazon Fire TV, are helping drive the category.

Why is Roku the set-top box leader, when Apple has a far bigger profile? Parks says it has to do with Roku's association with Netflix, as well as smart product expansion on Roku's part.

"Roku has always had a close association with Netflix, the largest source of video downloads, and currently offers more than 1,700 channel apps as well as a choice of models with different features and price points, all of which appeal to consumers' purchasing instincts," notes Barbara Kraus, director of research for Parks Associates.

If Apple releases an updated Apple TV with more functionality this year, it will drive competition in the market. Kraus adds that Apple has been lax in its Apple TV promotion so far, but could increase its efforts if challenged by Amazon.

The number of U.S. broadband-enabled households with some type of connected TV device grew to 64 percent in the first quarter of this year.

Parks Associates' report "The Evolving Market for Streaming Media Devices" is available for $3,200. 

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