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Roku Most Popular Streaming Device, Takes Crown from Chromecast

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Roku devices are currently used by 23.1 percent of all Americans who stream video to a TV, finds research company eMarketer. That's an improvement over the 19.3 percent who used a Roku device last year. In all, 38.9 million stream to a Roku at least once per month.

eMarketer expects this dominance to grow, with Roku's market penetration rising above 33 percent by 2021. This must be welcome news to Roku executives, who are reportedly planning an initial public offering (IPO) for later this year.

The next most popular TV streaming devices are the Google Chromecast (used by 36.9 million in the U.S. or 22.0 percent of all users), Amazon Fire (35.8 million or 21.3 percent), and Apple TV (21.3 million or 12.7 percent). (Some households have multiple streaming devices.) Roku took the lead recently, as eMarketer declared Chromecast the most popular device in October.

“As the only major market participant not affiliated with a content or TV device platform, Roku has used its neutrality to strike deals with a wide range of partners, including smart TV makers, OTT service providers, and social media companies,” notes Paul Verna, principal video analyst at eMarketer. “That expansive strategy, combined with the company’s broad selection of connectivity devices at various price points, has put Roku at the head of the pack.”

Apple TV is currently in fourth place, and that gap will widen in the coming years, Verna says, with the device held back by its lack of a compelling content offering and higher price than competitors. Unlike Roku, Google, and Amazon, Apple doesn't offer a low-price introductory device.

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