Every year, the number of people cutting the cord and making the switch to streaming devices increases exponentially. Gone are the days of lagging streams and pixelated shows. With rapidly increasing internet speeds and the introduction of services like Netflix and Hulu, streaming has become just as reliable and even more convenient than conventional television.
You can skip the ads (or, at the very least, see fewer of them) and watch your favorite shows when you want, how you want. You don’t need to wait a week to see the next episode, and you don’t need to wade through the baron wasteland of reality television because there’s nothing else on.
As it stands, the only facet of television that cable providers still have a firm hold of is sports. And even then, a lot of them now offer online packages that allow you to stream games through their platform. Cable providers are finally getting the message: get with the times or perish.
The question is not whether streaming devices will replace conventional cable providers, but which ones will scoop up the most users. If you have ever shopped around for a media streaming device, you’ll know how many options there are to choose from. At the moment, they are all battling for market-share, but which one will end up on top in 2016?
Here are our predictions.
Odds to be the top-selling media streaming device in 2016:
Google Chromecast: 2/1
The Chromecast was the top-selling media streaming device in 2015 for one simple reason: it only costs $35. While it lacks some of the functionality of other devices, it’s not missing anything vital. Google seems to have pinned down exactly what is important to users and ignored the frills. With more and more people making the jump to streaming devices, expect the affordable and dependable Chromecast to remain the most popular choice.
The open-platform device is a favorite because of their wide selection of devices and even wider selection of streaming services. With Roku, it seems like you can get it all. They are constantly introducing new devices and streaming services for their users, ensuring that they’re always that little bit ahead of the game.
Apple TV: 9/1
Like all Apple products, Apple TV has a very specific audience: they’re willing to spend a little bit more and they’re fine with the fact the products are designed solely for the Apple ecosystem.
What they get in return is access to movies, music, and television before other subscription and free streaming services. With a loyal user-base, Apple TV will continue to do well. But their cost and compatibility issues can be a turnoff for a lot of people.
TiVo is not going anywhere. It’s easy to forget that TiVo is what started the shift toward streaming. With the majority of the general population still using a cable subscription, TiVo will continue to be used. But most people who will use TiVo in 2016 were already using it in 2015. There won’t be many new adopters.
Slingbox was relatively early to the game but have since lost a lot of their market-share. With Google, Apple, and Amazon in the picture, it’s hard for them to compete. Still, Slingbox has name recognition and there is still time for them to reintroduce themselves.
[Image credit: Alison Cassidy (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Image has been cropped.]