Roku announced the sale of its 10 millionth streaming device in the U.S. since beginning operations in 2008.
Tuesday's announcement marks a rapid acceleration of Roku's deployment, with the OTT-device-maker touting sales of 2.5 million units as recently as January 2012. But rather than affirming Roku's place atop the U.S. streaming-device market, it seemed to trigger even more speculation as to which OTT-hardware manufacturer is No. 1.
The competitiion for devices that stream IP-based video programming into living rooms is heated, with Apple TV, Roku, Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV, among others, seeking to establish supremacy in the fast-growing U.S. market. But among varying research metrics, some counting sales and some counting usage, and each conducting measurements a different way, it's tough to call a winner right now.
As Variety editor Andrew Wallenstein noted, Apple CEO Tim Cook said in April that Apple TV had reached an installed base of 20 million in the U.S., generating revenue of $1 billion. (This was despite rampant accusations by Apple watchers that the company is neglecting the OTT category.)
However, a study released in July by Parks Associates found that Roku is the runaway leader in the U.S. in terms of actual device usage, with 44 percent of surveyed homes reporting that Roku was their primary streaming device, compared with 26 percent for No. 2 device Apple TV.
In its announcement Tuesday, Roku affirmed its usage dominance with its own data, touting that its players account for an average of 37 hours a week of service per home. Apple TV came in second in Roku's tally, at 15 hours a week, followed by Chromecast (12 hours) and Fire TV (six hours).
Methodologies for measuring usage, however, vary. In July, for example, Google disputed a Parks conclusion that use of its Chromecast was down significantly, noting that actual measurement of connected devices—rather than user surveys—yielded an opposite finding.
Roku set to undercut, disrupt TV market
Parks: Roku owns 44% of the U.S. OTT device market
Google contradicts Parks' Chromecast study, says usage is up