Skip to main content

King of streams: Roku beats Amazon, Google, and Apple combined

Roku 4
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
More consumers are using a Roku as their household streaming box than any other non-gaming device. In fact, the underdog streaming brand is used more commonly than Apple, Google, and Amazon combined, according to a new survey by Parks Associates.

While Roku has never had the resources of its competitors, it actually makes sense that the company would land on top. Roku has long had the advantage when it comes to over all app support, making it easy for developers to add functionality to its software with thousands of available “channels.” What’s more, the latest latest flagship from the brand, the Roku 4, features 4k Ultra HD streaming, a best in class operating system, and an excellent mobile app.

While gaming consoles from Xbox and Playstation still rule the roost as far as video streaming devices are concerned, they are actually slowly losing market share to Roku and similar standalone set top streamers, according to the survey.

“Streaming media players continue to stake out a growing portion of the connected home,” said Parks Associates’ Director of Research Barbara Kraus in the report, “Roku devices are now the third most widely used connected CE device, trailing only Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation as the most common platforms to access online video content on a TV set. It is a rapid ascendance for streaming media players, and Roku in particular, especially considering the broad base of gaming console ownership compared to the lower penetration of streaming media devices.”

Approximately a fifth (over 20 percent) of U.S. households that own at least one consumer electronics device are now using a streaming media player to watch their favorite movies and TV shows at home, up from just 12 percent last year.

Parks Associates estimate there are now 13.5 million homes using a set top box as the primary streaming hardware for the household. That’s a big coup for the company, and is indicative of a strongly growing market.

Editors' Recommendations

Parker Hall
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Parker Hall is a writer and musician from Portland, OR. He is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Oberlin…
Roku and Amazon are so close to making subtitles easy to toggle
The Roku Voice Remote Pro, and the Amazon Alexa Voice Remote Pro.

The idea that remote controls should include a dedicated button for captions is not, in and of itself, a bad one. In fact, it makes a whole lot of sense, whether the remote belongs to a television or a peripheral like Roku or Amazon Fire TV. We acknowledge the fact that it would add complexity and, possibly, cost to a device. (And that it's relatively easy to just flip 'em on and off inside apps as it is.) But we believe it would be worth it.

We didn’t pick Roku and Amazon Fire TV out of thin air in that previous paragraph. They are the two biggest streaming platforms in the world. And as it turns out, they both have remote controls with user-programmable buttons. While that’s not quite the same thing as what we're imploring the likes of Roku, Amazon, Google, Apple, and others to employ, it’s something that’s available now. (Though the remotes in question aren’t shipped by default with every device — you’ll have to spend more to get them.)

Read more
What is Roku? The streaming platform explained
A roku powered TV hanging on a wall running Roku OS 12.

How do you get your Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, or Prime Video fix? Chances are it's through a streaming device or smart TV, and there's a good chance that it's through a Roku device or one running its pioneering streaming operating system. At this point, cord-cutting is old news, and Roku was one of the earliest companies to drive the adoption of web-based streaming with its self-contained, app-driven devices.

Today, watching something "on Roku" is standard parlance and the company's popular platform can be found baked into some of the biggest TV brands in the world as well as in its own lineup of streaming devices sticks, and set-top boxes. Even so, that doesn't mean you totally get what a Roku actually is. What is Roku? How does Roku work? Do you need a subscription to use it? Is it just a device you buy, or is it software?

Read more
The Roku Channel is now available as a Google TV app
The Roku Channel app on Google TV.

The Roku Channel — one of the major services in the FAST category — is now available as an app on Google TV and Android TV. That's a good thing because The Roku Channel says it already reaches an estimated 100 million people in U.S. households with its wealth of free movies and series.

But it's also still a step removed from competing services like the Paramount-owned Pluto TV, which has direct integration with the Google TV live listings and doesn't require a separate download. Still, it's more free content on a low-cost piece of hardware, and who doesn't like that? The Roku Channel sports more than 350 free live linear channels (as in everyone is watching the same thing at the same time), as well as movies and series, live news, and more.

Read more