The streaming devices themselves have mostly stayed the same in the last year; the most popular options are still Apple TV, Roku, Google Chromecast, and Amazon Fire and Prime TV, although many videogame consoles, such as the Sony PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, now have streaming capabilities. The major development has not been in the devices themselves, but in the services that the devices offer. Each device has something different to offer that will affect the way you consume your entertainment. For example, Apple TV, though with a more limited selection of streaming channels has nearly seamless integration with its other Apple products, a big benefit if you own their other products. And Roku, while not being directly integrated with any big name devices offers the widest variety of streaming channels, over 2,000 in fact. With such competitive devices and options, it’s no surprise that more and more people are moving away from a costly and outdated cable TV subscription.
Brand loyalty is an influencing factor when one is considering what to buy, but does this mindset still apply to streaming services? While consumers will have natural tendency to favor brands like Netflix or Hulu, their ultimate alignment will always be with their preferred shows, which is after all what they bought the service for. If one service loses their favorite shows and the other gains them, people will follow the shows. Having the best content and the most options is the best way to attract consumers into these services.
Last year the biggest hindrance to streaming was the lack of video app partners, but now with everyone from PBS to HBO and Showtime offering streaming apps that problem quickly became a thing of the past. Entertainment providers have realized the dramatic consumer shift towards streaming and are offering their channels on most major streaming devices.
Another notable consumer shift, though more prevalent in the younger generations, is what devices they consume their entertainment on. Many younger people, college age and younger, don’t have a TV. They instead stream their shows online and directly on their computer, so to some a computer has become the new TV. This is not to say the TV is going anywhere, the big and high quality display is always preferred and will be hard to replace, but it is just not as much of a necessity as it once was to the younger generation. Television shows are not restricted to a television anymore.
As new as streaming is, people are already looking to see what’s coming next. The most anticipated development is most likely instant streaming, being able to watch any show the moment it is published instead of having to wait for a specific day and time to see the show might just be the final nail in the coffin for the cable companies who need to either evolve or get left behind.
Our team took a vote and three prefer Roku, three prefer Apple TV, and then one prefers the Sony PlayStation. What’s your pick?