Content may be king, but consumers are having to face increasing choices about how they access it, which may lead to an instore battle of positioning for media streamers and set top boxes against Blu-ray players and video game consoles.According to research company In-Stat, media streamers, such as those from Boxee, Logitech, TiVo, Western Digital , Sony and Apple, have enjoyed significant growth over the past two years, with the number of streaming units shipped globally projected to reach 3.6 million units by the end of 2011.
However, Mike Paxton, research director at In-Stat says future growth will likely be a bumpy ride, because of the increasing popularity of Blu-ray players, gaming consoles and Internet connected TV which also provide streaming.
Paxton said the main difficulty will be “how to competitively position streaming media players against other products, such as connected Blu-ray players and video game consoles, that are more common in both consumer households and in retail electronics stores.”
Consumers are also looking to the ability to stream IP video as a common feature in household electronics devices rather than a central function of a device.
As a result vendors are de-emphasising standalone media streaming products to fucus future product development in connection with their media streaming software platform.
In the US, which accounted for 82 percent of global media streaming units in 2010, Apple TV remains the leading media streaming product on the market.
However, the increasing availability of Internet-connected TV sets and hybrid set top boxes is graqdually eating into the media streaming player market, as are other devices such as gaming consoles and Blu-ray players incorporating streaming functions.
Nevertheless, In-Stat forecasts that the worldwide installed base of streaming media products will be more than 15 million by 2015.