Roku just announced via its blog that it has sold 5 million of its streaming Internet media players since its launch back in 2008. The devices have managed to stream a total of 8 billion pieces of content in that time, impressive for a device that started out as essentially a dedicated Netflix box. Roku recently introduced its third-generation hardware to market with the Roku 3, which went on sale in March.
The milestone is significant, since it indicates that there’s a very real and growing market out there for a device that essentially just acts as a service layer for bringing web-based content to televisions, independent of what TV manufacturers themselves are doing with their own built-in Smart TV services. Roku announced that it reached 2.5 million streaming devices in sales back in January of 2012, after having sold 1.5 million during all of 2011. That means it managed to sell somewhere close to 2.5 million devices in the U.S. between then and now, which is a marked increase from its previous yearly high.
We’ve seen how this 5 million milestone compares with Roku’s performance to date, but how about vs. the rest of the market? Despite the fact that Apple still isn’t driving massive amounts of sales with its Apple TV products (especially when compared to its iOS devices), it still sold 2 million in total during the holiday quarter last year, up from 1.3 million in the quarter before that, and up from 1.4 million year over year.
Apple’s sale totals are global, but that still adds up to more than 10 million sales since the device’s introduction, and it sold as many devices as the Roku did in a whole year at home in the U.S. in a single quarter. Still, for a company without Apple’s marketing clout and ecosystem of devices, Roku is definitely holding its own.
The Roku 3 is receiving high praise so far, and has simplified things on the product side, as well as narrowed Roku’s product line to a single device, which is probably best in terms of helping it focus its marketing efforts and avoid consumer confusion. But it will face new competition from Panasonic, which introduced two new streaming media players this week, both of which plug into the popular new Miracast tech, essentially AirPlay for Android, being built into many of today’s smartphones.