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Apple TV is losing badly to Roku and Amazon in the living room, survey finds

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Will a 4K Apple TV be an effective counter to cheap streaming sticks?

Apple TV is continuing to lose ground to Roku and Amazon in the living room, a survey by Parks Associates has found. The consumer research company sampled 10,000 US homes and based its results on those which had at least one streaming player, according to AppleInsider. Roku jumped year-over-year from 32 percent to 37 percent, which is a foothold that none of its competitors can quite match. But Amazon is also gaining momentum and moved up from 16 percent to 24 percent.

Apple, by contrast, fell YOY from 19 percent to 15 percent marketshare. Consumers seem to be favoring the aggressively priced streaming sticks and boxes from Roku and Amazon over the comparatively expensive Apple TV, which sells for either $150 or $200 depending on storage capacity.

An Amazon Fire TV Stick costs just $40 and offers a fairly similar selection of streaming apps and services; the Fire TV box is also more affordable at $80. Roku’s lineup of hardware starts out as low as $29, so Apple is roundly being beaten on price appeal. Maybe it’s not all about price, though; Google’s Chromecast dipped down to 18 percent from 21 percent. Some consumers might just find the Rokus and Amazon Fire TV Sticks of the world a little easier and more straightforward to use than casting. Roku’s software also comes preinstalled as the operating system on many affordable TVs, a strategy Amazon has now taken after.

It’s expected that Apple will soon announce an updated Apple TV box that will likely be capable of 4K playback. A recent mess-up on the iTunes Store strongly hinted that the company is preparing to offer 4K and HDR content for purchase and rental. Amazon — a major hole in Apple’s roster of streaming services on the device — also confirmed back in June that a Prime Video app is in the works. But if it’s just an updated Apple TV that spits out higher resolution video, Apple might not be getting the message that a lot of people are prioritizing savings when choosing their gateway to Netflix. We definitely want the 4K box, but Apple should probably be thinking about a much cheaper streaming gadget to sell beneath it.