Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

4K Video will Drive OTT Streaming Media Demand

Over-the-top (OTT) video adoption continues to disrupt the legacy pay-TV market. In its latest analysis on the online streaming media adapter market, ABI Research examined the impact of new lower-priced devices and the mounting pressures within the global consumer electronics industry.

People now have many ways to stream video entertainment. Moreover, the ongoing introduction of new, cost-efficient devices with innovative functionality has the capability to swiftly change the competitive landscape. Meanwhile, traditional pay-TV providers continue to increase service subscription and set-top box rental prices.

"The rise of Google's Chromecast devices, along with the Amazon Fire TV Stick, generated interest in the stick or dongle form factor, but these successes speak more toward pricing than design," says Michael Inouye, principal analyst at ABI Research.

Streaming Media Market Development

In China, according to the ABI assessment, the streaming media stick form factor is less popular than the box or puck because pricing between these device types is relatively similar.

Superior UI interface design could eventually help Apple gain new momentum, but it has been difficult so far. Voice support quickly grew in popularity and touch interface has potential, but it has yet to make significant headway in the TV or core gaming markets.

The market in China remains the largest single market for streaming media adapters. Recently, it had some of its growth opportunity muted, as restrictions to content and services within its domestic market impacted streaming media adapter growth.

The console gaming ban was lifted in China, which some analysts speculate may see video gaming reignite consumer excitement, but PC and mobile gaming remain the strongest markets -- making it a big challenge for these streaming platforms.

New 4K Video Streaming Upside Potential

Gaming is not an easy growth path for streaming media adapters to pursue. Many brands tried and failed with this strategy -- including OUYA, Sony PlayStation TV and Vita TV.

The gaming market is well-served by existing devices, which when coupled with heightened pricing pressures in the streaming media adapter market puts gaming-centric devices in a challenging position.

"While gaming is challenging, 4K is becoming an easy way for competitors to differentiate their offerings and to create pricing tiers within the company's product portfolios," concludes Inouye.

China again leads the 4K market in this regard, with Roku, Amazon, and NVIDIA all adding 4K options to their product portfolios. Future applications like smart home integration could expand the market potential, but ABI believes that there will continue to be strong competition from existing connected devices.