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Roku and Chromecast go head-to-head in streaming race, Apple TV falling behind

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Roku and Chromecast (S GOOG) were the two most successful streaming devices sold in the U.S. in 2013, according to new data from Parks Associates, which puts Apple (S AAPL) TV on third place.

Google sold an estimated 3.8 million Chromecast streaming sticks after introducing the product in mid-2013, according to Parks, which also estimates that this about equals Roku’s sales throughout 2013. Apple is trailing, and sold just a bit more than two million devices in the U.S. last year, according to data shared by Parks.

However, the picture looks a little different beyond U.S. borders. Globally, Apple has sold more than 20 million Apple TVs since launching the device in 2007, whereas Roku’s total sales since its launch were 8 million by the end of 2013.

One reason for this discrepancy is that Roku thus far is only available in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Ireland, whereas Apple is selling its Apple TV in dozens of countries. Google is quickly expanding its international reach as well: After launching just in the U.S. in 2013, Chromecast is now available in 19 countries.

Parks published data in June suggesting that Chromecast usage was down, with Chromecast owners using the device less frequently than they did six months ago. Google has since released data of its own, showing that per-minute usage of active devices continues to rise. Parks analyst John Barrett argued in response that both could be true:

“The two data sets are…not contradictory because average use among active users can be increasing even while the percentage of owners using the device is declining.”

22 Responses to “Roku and Chromecast go head-to-head in streaming race, Apple TV falling behind”

  1. Marcelo

    Now that we can mirror anything that´s onscreen on many Android phones with the newest version 1.7 of Chromecast I understand that the wonder stick from Google will increase a lot its sales ! It´s fantastic ! Try it immediately !

  2. Howard A. Johnson

    Whenever I launch YouTube from my phone, it pops up my Fire HD TV as a destination along with my two Chromecasts. Anyone seen this activity on their boxes?

  3. Glen Barrington

    I own 3 Roku devices, but since our newest ‘main’ TV has ‘smart’ technology, we just don’t use the Roku devices all that much. We get Netflix on the TV and we’ve been thinking of maybe subscribing to Hulu as well since the TV can receive it as well. We just don’t care about the also ran services like Crackle

    Those are the things we need an internet device for, if the TV itself can provide them, I see no reason to use something else.

  4. Sorry for jumping back in. Reading the link to the Park’s earlier survey:

    “Market research company Parks Associates made some headlines last month when it released the results of a study showing declining interest in Chromecast. According to that study, the percentage of Chromecast owners that use the device at least once a month to stream video declined from 78 percent to 73 percent from Q3 of 2013 to Q1 of 2014.”

    Key phrase: “at least once a month”: That is a low bar and the usage is declining.

  5. JeffP

    I only keep my Apple Tv for airplay otherwise I find the redesigned remote to be completely unusable, the interface clunky and the expiry of passwords given the horrific keyboard, unacceptable.

  6. Roku is the best by leaps and bounds, the single biggest thing Apple TV had over Roku was youtube, now that’s on Roku the only reason Apple sells a single one of those boxes is because appleheads will buy anything and overpay anything with an apple on it, they’re the geniuses who likely don’t even cut their cable after buying it.

    • You must know where I can get all of the live sports action after cutting the cable. Guess I haven’t found a way to do that. Not sure where you’re finding nfl, college football, mlb all-star game and everything else that doesn’t come on the box.

    • Applehead

      It’s because it works better for those of us who already own Apple devices. Airplay and shared desktop are two prime examples.

      And it’s unfortunate that you can’t afford premium Apple products and cable, but don’t resort to calling people silly names that actually can.

      • Mike was referring to Apple users like you, blind to everything else while holding on to a sliver of a thread justifying silly features. Go ahead and accept that you are a fan boy or a fanatic, either of them are bearable. What really becomes silly is when you start touting marginally useful features while ignoring glaringly obvious disadvantages. Features (my bad, i meant feature, singular) you mention are not that valuable when you compare the content that is on Roku. After all, they are both media consumption devices and Roku wins hands down with the content.

        An air plain might be the most beautiful machine among all other planes on the tarmac but it has no value if it can’t fly.

        • Oh what a clever boy …. Such rapier wit ….. You do not own Apple TV … Do You?
          I own both Roku and Apple TV….. Apple TV is far superior!

  7. Why would anyone compare a box solution with Chromecast, a dongle? Anyone wanting another box and remote has plenty of choice. Most of them costing x times chromecast.

    Leaving aside no-name chinese wannabes, essentially mirroring devices, the only comparable is Roku’s Streaming Stick. Wow. A 1000 apps, 995 you’d never both with. And a remote without a volume control. Oops. Look at the reviews on Amazon UK. Oh dear.

    I’d be amazed if Now TV sells more than chromecast, which has been #1 on Amazon UK since its launch. Difficult to tell, since Amazon don’t sell the basic thing.

  8. Chris Garcia

    Apple sold 10 million Apple TV in 2013.. That would be more then Roku or Chromecast.. not sure where the incorrect APPLE TV sales came from..

    • David

      Apple did indeed sell 10 million units in 2013. This information is readily available. How does Park Associates get their data so wrong?

      • The article says “US” sales. But that is no excuse. Janko should compare US sales of each and Global sales of each. Janko should also try to get Park’s data comparing percent 0f owners actually using their devices to watch TV.

        Confession: I”m a fanboy – And I think ChromeCast is cool.

  9. ishekhar

    i have been using Chromecast for about a year now but after buying Roku stick last month, am finding myself using Roku more than Chromecast.

    Reason being some of my favorite apps not being available on Chromecast, eg: dishWorld, Amazon Instant Video etc. Not to mention it has Remote, meaning I don’t need to keep my phone handy as the Roku remote is always there (as it doesn’t’ leave the living room like phone).

    The only thing going in favor of Chromecast is its full browser support.

  10. danskeman

    In UK, there is the NOW TV box which is very popular. It is a cut down ROKU box, and only has limited ROKU channels. However, it features all the main UK TV catchup services (unlike US, our tv channels are mostly nationwide).

    You can access Sky films, sports etc at a cost if you want. This is great for people who do not want the full sky satellite service which is quite expensive, but want to watch occasional film or (largely) UK sporting events (mostly football).

    Does not do netflix afaik.

    You can also load PLEX so it acts as a media server.

    Cost = £10 (Us$15) – Awesome value.

    I believe this is more popular than chromecast.