Roku (Photo credit: Steve A Johnson)
With 38% of U.S. households having their TV connected to the internet (based upon a report by the Leichtman Research Group released earlier this month), up 8% from 2011, internet streaming is becoming “the next big thing” in entertainment distribution.
Bruce Leichtman says “Video is increasingly being watched on different platforms and in different places, yet these emerging video services will generally act as complements to traditional television viewing and services rather than substitutes. Among all adults, reported time spent watching TV is similar to last year, and there remains little evidence of a significant trend in consumers “cutting the cord” to their multichannel video services to watch video solely via these emerging services.”
Anthony Wood, CEO of Roku, might beg to differ with Leichtman’s conclusions. According to the San Franscisco Chronicle, Wood noted that the future of television is in internet streaming, with availability being predominantly on demand. In fact, streaming media players will likely make he DVR head into the chronicles of history.
Says Wood in a recent interview “Would you rather try to remember to record a show, or would you rather just have everything ever made instantly available on demand?”
Roku expanded their markets to Canada and the UK this year. While most people currently stream through a game console, there is a large percentage of households in the United States that wouldn’t opt for a gaming console because all the wish to do is stream and nothing more. Currently, only 1 percent of U.S. homes use a device like Roku, but that is likely to change as older demographics start to feel comfortable with the new technology. “Our customers are not early adopters. They’re people who watch TV. We put a lot of effort into making it really simple” says Wood.
What will truly make a streaming services comparison much more interesting is when online pay TV services like start-ups Skitter TV or Aereo become available across the United States. Once people can actually stream network television without having to pay exorbitant cable TV subscription costs, we will likely see a widespread streaming adoption.
Roku has 400 entertainment channels available, and Skitter TV, one of the companies seeking to deliver live television online, is Roku compatible as well (however, you will not find Skitter on the Roku Channel Store yet – if you reside in one of Skitter’s markets, they will add the app to your Roku account).
While up until recently streaming has been predominantly used to watch movies on the internet, recent months have seen a huge shift toward more streaming of television shows. Hulu Plus has made people excited about sitting down at the very beginning of season 1 of a show and mow through the episodes in marathon streaming bouts.