Apple TV Streaming Device Adoption Far Behind Roku and Fire TV

As a new Apple TV 4K model is bowing at a reduced price, Apple TV streaming devices rank far behind competitors Roku and Amazon Fire TV, according to data from Interpret.

The updated Apple hardware features the A15 Bionic chip for “faster performance and more fluid gameplay” and support for HDR 10+. The new Apple TV 4K comes in two different configurations: a Wi-Fi only model with 64GB of storage, or a Wi-Fi and Ethernet model with increased storage. The Wi-Fi only model is priced at $129, about $50 lower than the previous version. Apple has also updated tvOS 16 to include Siri voice control options so that customers can control Apple TV and interact with the results by simply speaking.

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Interpret’s VideoWatch data shows Apple TV has much lower penetration compared to its primary competitors, Roku and Amazon Fire TV. This gap is further widened when considering Roku and Amazon Fire TV also have partnerships with television manufacturers to make smart TVs, which run on their respective OS.

NPD: Use of Multiple SVOD Services in the U.S. Homes Rebounds, Remains Below Mid-Pandemic High

SVOD viewers in the United States are using slightly more streaming services than a year ago, with viewers churning through platforms less frequently than they were during the first year of the pandemic., according to new data from The NPD Group. This is especially true among households with children below the age of 18.

The number of SVOD services per user in the U.S. reached 4.6 in April 2022, down from the mid-pandemic peak of 5.2 in October 2020, but up from 4.3 in April 2021. The percentage of households with children under the age of 18 stating that they are extremely likely to cancel or stop using these services has increased slightly over the past year, from 8% in April 2021 to 9% in April 2022, but waned since October 2020 when 14% of households made that claim.

SVOD cancellations and declines in viewership are less likely to be driven by switching than they were in early 2021. Today, the leading reason for the churn is that consumers aren’t watching as much as before, with 33% of SVOD viewers making this claim up from 29% a year ago.

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Subscription churning and switching is expected to continue, but these data are beginning to suggest that the industry is going to see this subside from the high point. The consumer base that was driving most of the churn is also suggesting that their level of adding and canceling TV services is going to decline.

“These results aren’t surprising when you consider the fact that so many of us were stuck at home during the pandemic with plenty of time on our hands to try the direct-to-consumer SVOD services that had recently launched,” John Buffone, executive director, industry analyst, at NPD Connected Intelligence, said in a statement. “While there has been some pulling back over the course of the past year, we’re still above the levels that we were seeing before the pandemic started. During the first two months of 2022, streaming volumes had settled at levels seen between 2019 and 2021. When this all pans out, we do expect to see a net positive environment for the industry.”

Altice USA Bows 4K Streaming Device for Broadband-Only Cable TV Subs

Borrowing a page from Roku, Altice USA has launched a new standalone 4K streaming device available to its broadband-only subscribers, dubbed “Optimum Stream” and “Suddenlink Stream,” respectively.

Powered by Android TV OS, the “Stream” device offers broadband-only subs access to a wide variety of video content, including thousands of apps and streaming services on Google Play and over 50 free live streaming channels.

The new streaming device is available for free to Optimum and Suddenlink broadband-only subs who select 1 Gig service or the highest broadband speed available in their service area. It is available to all other Optimum and Suddenlink broadband-only customers for $5 monthly surcharge.

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“As more consumers turn to streaming content for their entertainment needs, we are pleased to introduce Stream,” chief operating officer Hakim Boubazine said in a statement.

Subs will have direct access to preselected apps such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, Peacock, and Discovery+. Other apps available to download on Google Play Store. Video can be streamed in 4K HDR and Dolby Vision depending on the user’s television. The Stream device offers voice search across live streaming TV and apps.

In addition to third-party SVOD platforms, Stream offers access to more than 50 free (ad-supported) live streaming channels, including live news from News 12, i24NEWS and Cheddar News, children’s entertainment from Kabillion, lifestyle entertainment from Bon Appetit, Wired and Reelz, among others.

Research: 80% of U.S. TV Households Have at Least One Connected TV Device

New consumer research from Leichtman Research Group finds that 80% of U.S. TV households have at least one Internet-connected TV device, including connected Smart TVs, standalone streaming devices (such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV stick or set-top box, Chromecast, or Apple TV), connected video game systems, and/or connected Blu-ray Disc players. This is an increase from 74% with at least one connected TV device in 2018, 57% in 2015, and 24% in 2010.

Overall, 40% of adults in U.S. TV households watch video on a TV via a connected device daily — compared with 29% in 2018, 12% in 2015, and 1% in 2010. Older individuals use connected TV devices less often than others. Among all adults ages 55+, 18% watch video on a TV via a connected device daily — compared with 48% of ages 35-54 and 55% of ages 18-34.

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These findings are based on a survey of about 2,000 TV households in the U.S. This is LRG’s 17th annual study on TVs in the U.S.

Other findings include: Among those with any connected TV device, 64% have three or more devices — with a mean of 4.1 devices per connected TV household.

About 58% of TV households have at least one connected Smart TV — up from 47% in 2018, 22% in 2015, and 8% in 2010. Another 56% of TV households have at least one standalone streaming device — up from 46% in 2018, 23% in 2015, and 3% in 2011.

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On a daily basis, 25% of adults watch video on a TV via a standalone device, 20% via an Internet-enabled Smart TV app, 11% via a connected game system, and 3% via a connected Blu-ray player.

About 62% of 4K HDTV owners agree that the picture quality makes everything look better, even when not watching 4K content, while 6% disagree.

“The data in this study indicate that there are now nearly 400 million connected TV devices in U.S. TV households,” Bruce Leichtman, principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, said in a statement. “This is an increase from about 250 million connected TV devices in 2016.” Leichtman said the data does not include pay-TV set-top boxes that can access the Internet.

“Along with this increase in the number of devices, the percent of adults in the U.S. using these connected devices to watch video on a TV each day has more than doubled — growing from 19% to 40% — in just the past four years,” he said.