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Roku is the Most Owned Set-Top Box with Cord Cutters, But the Apple TV & Fire TV See Strong Growth

As cord cutting is growing so is demand to be the set-top box of choice among cord cutters. Historically Roku has dominated by a wide margin, but now we are seeing both the Fire TV and the Apple TV gain market share.

Recently we surveyed more than 1,000 of our readers on a range of cord cutting topics. According to our readers, almost 70% own a Roku. Forty percent said they own a Fire TV, and 25% said they own an Apple TV.

However, this is a noticeable change from our summer 2016 survey that showed Roku with over 70% of the market share, the Fire TV at just over 33%, and the Apple TV at just 18%. (Note: We did allow our readers to list multiple devices. So if a reader has both an Apple TV and a Roku it showed up in our survey results.)

These results are in line with a 2016 Parks Associates study showing Roku was the most popular device followed by Amazon at 22% and the Apple TV at 20%; however, that study looked at all device owners not just cord cutters.

So the question now is why is Roku so popular among cord cutters. Price has to be a big part of it because Roku offers a range of price points starting at $29.99 and going up to $129.99. The large selection of apps has to be something also to consider. Roku is also the only major set-top box to offer support for older non-HD TVs.

Ease of use may be something to also consider. Although Roku’s user interface is not the most beautiful it is something that is so simple that my 4-year-old daughter and my parents can use it.

No matter what the reason, it is clear that if you want to reach cord cutters your service must be on the Roku platform or you are missing out on a large number of cord cutters.

So what streaming device is your favorite? Leave us a comment bellow and let us know what your favorite streaming device.

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48 Responses to Roku is the Most Owned Set-Top Box with Cord Cutters, But the Apple TV & Fire TV See Strong Growth

  1. Karl Childers January 31, 2017 at 8:23 am #

    We used to have older versions of the Roku and Apple TV but now we have 4th generation Apple Tvs on all our sets. Despite not having 4K (we have an OLED which is fairly new so I don’t see us jumping to 4K for a while) I really enjoy the simplicity, ease of use, lack of ads, and beautiful UI. My kids are 8 and 11 and have no problem using it. The TV app goes a long way toward puling content into one place but there is definitely room for improvement since Netflix is still a no show.

    Probably my biggest complaint would be the lack of an Amazon Prime video app. Like many other Prime Members I grew tired of waiting for Amazon to develop an app so I cancelled my membership.

    • OneOfOne January 31, 2017 at 10:11 am #

      Yeah that makes no sense at all since it’s the cheap expedited shipping that’s the hook for people with brains

      • Karl Childers January 31, 2017 at 12:09 pm #

        It makes sense if you take a moment to expand your thinking to consider that everyone is not exactly like yourself. Amazon Video is one of the main benefits of being a Prime member. If I’m not able to use that benefit that means that my membership has less value so why would I keep it? Just for fun?

        If you only have the membership for expedited shipping you generally have to make quite a few purchases with Amazon throughout the year before you break even on that $99 per year membership. With a lot of other places offering free shipping, especially around the holidays or when you order a certain dollar amount, the expedited Amazon shipping has even less value and not all items are eligible for prime shipping.

        Amazon is a business and businesses exist to make profit. Your analogy of the “hook” is actually spot on because they know that if they can convince you to fork over $99 up front you’ll feel compelled to try and recoup your membership fee throughout the year by returning over and over…even if other retailers offer the same products at lower prices. You’re basically paying them money to guarantee that you’ll continually give them your business. It doesn’t take “brains” to be hooked in by retail gimmicks it just takes a person wanting to feel like they’re smarter consumers than everyone else. To that end Amazon has been very successful.

  2. supervolt January 31, 2017 at 8:24 am #

    This doesn’t match with other higher level statistics that have been carried out before. Get data from people who visit the same site is likely to be biased for many reasons. Cord Cutters News barely shows up on Google and therefore it’s only likely to attract those hardcore cord cutters. And those are likely to have Roku. Most people with neflix, hulu and streaming devices are not even familiar with the term “cord cutting.” So this results in audience with similar taste and hence biased results.

    Also, the fact that 90% of the article is like a promotion for Roku makes you wonder.

    • mau47 January 31, 2017 at 9:53 am #

      This site is very heavy on promoting Roku.

      • supervolt January 31, 2017 at 10:24 am #

        Yeah, that’s what I’ve come to realize.

  3. JeffO January 31, 2017 at 9:13 am #

    Fire TV owner here. I’m very happy with my decision and would recommend wholeheartedly

  4. FREETELEVISION January 31, 2017 at 9:57 am #

    ROKU TCL 55″. Built in ROKU is the way to go only one remote to deal with. I also have several 32″ ROKU TCL and two 48″ ROKU TCL I bought for the kids and Grandkids. I did buy Apple TV to use as a gaming device for the younger Grandkids, don’t watch TV on it though. Plugged it into my ROKU TV. They don’t allow Amazon Prime and VUDU on their device. That was a deal breaker for me as far as a streaming TV device. ROKU plays with everybody!!!!

    • OneOfOne January 31, 2017 at 10:09 am #

      TCL? Jesus Christ

    • John Doe January 31, 2017 at 12:04 pm #

      So you bought a TV that you may have to replace sooner to get new Roku updates, than you would otherwise replace, rather than an inexpensive box that is more easily replaced when updates come out. All so you don’t have to switch remotes to press a button or 2?

      • FREETELEVISION January 31, 2017 at 12:22 pm #

        ROKU automatically updates the TV’s unlike other smart TV’s.

        • John Doe January 31, 2017 at 12:36 pm #

          Eventually the Roku TV you have will be so old that Roku will no longer update the software just like with aging boxes. You will then have to replace the entire TV for X hundred dollars instead of just replacing a $100 Roku box, when you would not have replaced your whole TV otherwise. Just sayin’. I use a non smart TV set that I do not plan to upgrade for a few years, and a streaming box that I may replace every couple of years or so to make the TV smart. I do not ever plan on buying a “Smart” TV set as long as non smart sets are still sold.

          • Scott Lewis January 31, 2017 at 1:05 pm #

            Instead of throwing it out, he could probably plug in a $100 Roku box at that point.

          • John Doe January 31, 2017 at 1:20 pm #

            Maybe, maybe not. I will have to look into that.

          • Scott Lewis January 31, 2017 at 3:31 pm #

            Oh for sure you can. As long as it has an HDMI port you can plug in a Roku, a Fire TV, a DVD player, or anything else. I have a Smart TV from Vizio that’s horrible. Great picture quality, lousy Yahoo based apps. But it was on sale, and a better buy than a comparable dumb TV. I just don’t use the “smart” features, and have an Apple TV and a Fire TV plugged into it.

            My point is Roku seems to handle updates better than many of these “smart” TV brands, often there’s no price penalty, the integration between OTA tuner and Smart Apps is top notch (way better than an external box typically, although we’ll see with some of these newer Android STBs), and if it has an HDMI port, you can always add a new STB.

            Not sure I’d pay a big premium for a Roku TV, but I certainly wouldn’t pass on it just because it was integrated.

          • John Doe January 31, 2017 at 3:43 pm #

            Yeah I thought perhaps Roku might prevent their boxes being connected to their TV’s somehow. I don’t use Roku anyhow. I used to but I switched to Android TV. I got a good Xiaomi Mi Box for $70 at Walmart and really like it a lot better than Roku. I wouldn’t buy an integrated Android TV either though.

          • FREETELEVISION January 31, 2017 at 7:19 pm #

            55″ is only $428. 48″ only $328. 32″ only $125. That cheap you can afford to throw it away in a few year. But that won’t be needed.

  5. m m January 31, 2017 at 10:06 am #

    Roku. Streaming is all about having access to as much content as possible and Roku is *the device* for that.

    Sheild is 2nd in that regards now that it’s playing ball with Amazon.

    The other main devices are missing some crucial apps.

    • supervolt January 31, 2017 at 11:10 am #

      Roku is a dying platform.

    • John Doe January 31, 2017 at 11:57 am #

      Roku has thousands of garbage channels. They have a few notable exceptions worth having that their competitors may not have but the Roku UI is just so horrible and they are seriously lacking a good music streaming app.

      • Kravimir January 31, 2017 at 3:12 pm #

        Have you looked at the channels/apps available on Fire TV? The selection has many similarities.

        What is it in particular that you don’t like about the Roku UI? I find it much better than the old Amazon Fire TV UI (I haven’t had an opportunity to try out its new UI yet).

        Yeah, the major music channels on Roku seem to use the old standard app design and could do well with being redesigned.

        • John Doe January 31, 2017 at 3:29 pm #

          I investigated Fire TV and decided that since I do not like Amazon Video or Prime Video and since Fire TV does not have VUDU that I would try out Android TV, which I bought the Xiaomi Mi Box for and decided to keep and take my Roku Premier+ back.

          I don’t like on the Roku UI that I cannot continue listening to music while I am browsing the home screen or other apps like Youtube. I’m not sure if the new Fire TV UI allows for that or not but Android TV does allow for it. Also apps I use alot like CBS News and Youtube, and Spotify are not as well done on Roku. Plus on the Android TV homescreen there is a preview section to browse above the apps menu. That’s pretty cool. There are a couple of apps on Roku that I wish were on Android TV like Reuters TV and People Entertainment Network but those have Android Mobile apps that can be Chromecasted to my Android box since it has built in Chromecast. And the same clips on those apps are usually posted to their Youtube channel just not in as slick a format.

  6. OneOfOne January 31, 2017 at 10:07 am #

    Enough of this crap. It’s 2017 and these things should be called what they are, media streamers and not set top boxes since NOBODY puts them on top of the flat screens they are connected to except losers who still have ‘home entertainment centers’ and likely lava lamps too

    • Scott Lewis January 31, 2017 at 1:07 pm #

      You’ve inspired me to start using the term set top box more. Relax!

    • Karl Childers January 31, 2017 at 1:24 pm #

      People still refer to music albums as records. “Listen to the tape” is a phrase sometimes used even when audio recordings are digital. Saying ATM machine is redundant. People park on driveways and drive on parkways. Random anonymous internet commeters create usernames based on Star Trek characters. Somehow the world keeps on turning.

  7. supervolt January 31, 2017 at 11:06 am #

    Roku is a platform that can’t survive in the long run. A lot of big apps are going to leave out Roku or will keep Roku apps outdated. Roku only kicked off because Apple TV, Chromecast, Android TV and FireTV were pretty much non-existent. Now that those platforms exist, people are going to leave Roku in the cold and focus on mainstream platforms like Android and iOS.

    It’s already started happening with DirecTV Now, PS Vue and Hulu Live TV launching without Roku. At some point, developing for Roku is going to become an unnecessary cost for most companies.

    Some people think Roku will be saved by having Amazon Video and Google Play but those are about to go away. You will be lucky if Amazon Video continues being supported on Roku by the end of this year.

  8. John Doe January 31, 2017 at 11:12 am #

    What? No Android TV boxes? I have the new Xiaomi Mi Box for Android TV. I got it at Walmart for $70. I replaced a Roku Premiere+ with it because Roku has a terrible UI and does not have a decent music streaming app. The Roku Spotify app is horrible, but Android TV has a really great Spotify app. I won’t do Apple, and I have looked into Amazon Fire TV but I don’t do Amazon Video, and it looks like Fire TV doesn’t have a VUDU app. I won’t subscribe to cable TV or any bundle service like Sling TV or Playstation VUE so I don’t care if the box has a lot of TV everywhere apps. I do Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, CBS All Access, PBS and Youtube mainly. But Android TV has HBO, Showtime and Starz available for those that want it and since I don’t do Amazon Video I just do not care if it has it. The Mi Box is the way to go for those that want Android TV without shelling out $200 for the NVidia Shield. It also has Plex and Kodi, and hopefully the upcoming Android 7 Nougat update will allow users to use a USB tuner and antenna to get local OTA channels through the cool Live TV app.

    I just cannot believe Chromecast has more users than Android TV. For those reading this considering Chromecast. Get the Mi Box at Walmart for $70 because Android TV boxes have Chromecast built in.

    Did I mention that with Android TV you can listen to your music apps while browsing your homescreen and while browsing most other apps?

    • supervolt January 31, 2017 at 11:19 am #

      Actually, if you look at real industry numbers, Chromecast is ahead of AppleTV and FireTV. This survey is from a narrow audience with similar taste, hence it’s biased.

      Android TV will rise, but it’s still pretty much new. Also, Chromecast is much cheaper.

      • John Doe January 31, 2017 at 12:17 pm #

        What’s funny is that people buy Chromecast because it is so inexpensive without realizing that their $100 inexpensive 8 GB Android phone doesn’t have much available storage space to hold those apps they want to use on Chromecast. They would definately be better shelling out $35 more for the Xiaomi Mi Box. At only 8GB itself it still can handle storage of a lot of apps. I had over 60 apps installed just to test and it still had 1.5 GB of available storage.

        • supervolt January 31, 2017 at 1:54 pm #

          Even if you downloaded all the TV apps ever created into the same phone, it wouldn’t consume anything close to 8GB. These apps only take a couple of MBs, which is very tiny compared to the huge games people download. Storage space for apps is the least of people’s concerns.

          Also, having a streaming device like Android TV, Roku or Fire TV doesn’t mean that you’re not going to have the apps on your phone.

          • John Doe January 31, 2017 at 3:13 pm #

            And who really watches TV on their phone? Sure someone might have Spotify on their phone to listen in the car or if they’re a teeny bopper to listen with headphones everywhere they go. But nobody I know or have seen anywhere is watching TV on their phone. So yes having a streaming device means that the average person will not have those tv streaming apps on their phone, unless they are a Chromecast dummy.

          • supervolt January 31, 2017 at 4:59 pm #

            By phone, it also includes tablets. A lot of people watch shows on their phones and tablets. It’s very common. That’s why AT&T zero-rating DirecTV Now on AT&T wireless was such a big deal.

          • John Doe January 31, 2017 at 5:14 pm #

            Just because there is the ability to watch stuff on phones and tablets does not mean that people actually do it. Sometimes companies make it so people can do stuff just in case. Nobody really does it.

          • supervolt January 31, 2017 at 5:21 pm #

            A lot of young viewers watch their shows on phones and tablets. When my brothers are watching something I don’t want to watch, I usually just use my iPad to watch what I want.

            I had been using chromecast for years and it was perfectly fine until I wanted to activate PlayStation Vue and it required me to get Fire TV Stick last fall. And then I prepaid for DirecTV Now and got Apple TV.

            Also, when I go to bed, I usually watch Netflix or Hulu or Amazon from my iPad until I get sleepy. There are a lot of people who do that.

          • John Doe January 31, 2017 at 5:39 pm #

            So be it. Enough arguing.

          • Carol Benedict February 2, 2017 at 12:11 pm #

            To bad Directv now don’t works

          • supervolt February 2, 2017 at 1:09 pm #

            True but at the end of the day, almost 200K people got AppleTV or FireTV for prepaying for DirecTV Now. Hulu live is going to cause a lot of other people with Roku to buy another device.

  9. Kevin Bragdon January 31, 2017 at 12:22 pm #

    Amazon Fire TV Box 1st generation is what I have.

  10. Carol Benedict February 2, 2017 at 12:07 pm #

    I have Roku on all 3 tv’s in my home because of the ease of use and I don’t use Apple because of Amazon prime and I don’t like the interface on the Fire tv in my opinion Roku is still the best