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kelly_j_anderso
Level 7

Re: Roku market share

What a ridiculously bold, unfounded, and unnecessary assessment. There's not a single opinion stated in there that's based on fact.


Bold yes, ridiculously so I guess that is a matter of opinion, my philosophy is if you are going to say something mean it and if you mean it might as well be bold about it.

Unfounded not at all, merely looking at the recent history of Apple devices; MP3 players many had huge market share and there was a first to market in that space, enter the iPod; mobile phone/PDA market many market dominators, enter the iPhone and it raced to the number 3 spot and effectively killed the PDA. Apple has a strong history of dominating markets and if a company is going to play in a market that Apple might even think of entering you need to make your product strong.

Unnecessary assessment I disagree, if my department is looking to expend its limited recourses on a platform, it is not enough to merely look at past and current market share. I must look forward to the future of the market; I need to find some way to try and determine which platform will allow for the greatest growth of my product. That will require some educated guesses, based on what information can be gathered about the intensions of the producers of the platforms in question. I will also look to try and guess about changes that I deem to be wise business decisions and expect the wise people running each company to come to those same conclusions.

While I would agree that it's inevitable that Apple will release an app store for the Apple TV, it's taken them over 6 months to update the firmware for the iPad, what makes you think they'll update the Apple TV in the "not too distant future"? And even if they did, there will still be a fair wait for new apps to be developed and approved for the device.


I believe that the app store will be a quick turn around based on two factors. First market pressure, both Google TV and Roku have installable applications/channels with commerce systems built in. Apple cannot afford to allow Google and to some extent Roku to offer the significant advantage of a extensive app market. Second they do not have to update the firmware to add an app store, they just need to create a non-touch centric interface to the existing app store. As for turnaround for applications, developers were releasing updated apps for the Retina display and the iPad form factor the week after the release of each device.

In my opinion the biggest hurdle to releasing an app store for the Apple TV is the updated SDK that will be needed to handle the new display format and updates to handle the input of the remote along with the general UI guidelines apple publishes.

The first generation Apple TV is still more expensive than the new Apple TV, and there were 4 years between the two. What makes you think they'll release a new version in under a year? And if it's as good as you seem to think it will be, why would they need to?


The first generation Apple TV was a completely different beast; it was essentially a Mac Mini and accordingly was priced similarly. The new apple TV is essentially an iPod touch. Go back and look at the price reduction history on other iOS based devices; the previous generation tends to see a significant price break if it is not out right discontinued. Apple has reason to get a $59.00 device out there, killing the competition and pricing the previous generation at or below your competition’s prices is a great way to do that with out impacting your bottom line.

Do you have some information that no one else does? The current Google TV is $299. What makes you think there will be a $200 price drop anytime soon?


I have no information about an impending $99.00 Google TV set-top box. I only have speculation based on a couple of observations. The Logitech Revue seems ridiculously priced for the set-top market space; Apple could barely sell them at $199. In general the sweet spot for pricing a consumer electronics component (not counting high buck items like TVs, Sound Systems, etc...) is $99 and there are already 2 devices in the market at that price. Consumers are just not going to pay $299 for a Google TV set-top box, based on the market the only way a Google TV set-top box will be successful is to make one at the $99.00 price point. Therefore some company will either make a $99 Google TV set-top box or there will be no successful Google TV set-top box and we will only see Google TV integrated into new televisions.

Roku already has a retail strategy, via their partnership with Netgear. The Netgear Roku boxes are already available at Fry's, and will soon be available at Best Buy and other big box stores.


If this is true then Roku needs to update their F.A.Q. http://support.roku.com/entries/221209- ... eb-outlets My belief of there not being a retail strategy is based off of information gleaned from the website, as any other consumer would. This also sounds less like a retail strategy and more like a licensing strategy. Having said that a solid licensing strategy could be just as effective as a retail strategy.

Roku has already hinted at major interface updates coming. That aside, I personally find the current Apple TV Netflix interface to be very cumbersome and unfriendly. Otherwise the interface elsewhere is nothing but a black screen with cover art and reflections, with a soft blue glow around black buttons. I'm not really sure what's "high end" or "rich" about that, but ok...


When I speak of an OpenGL based interface that ALLOWS for FAST and high end graphical interfaces I am not only talking about the OS interface but what can be created when one uses the graphical elements exposes for creating one’s own application.

Speaking to the OS interface, the first comparison any consumer is going to make is how it looks and even though that Apple TV interface is very simple it is very shiny. The second impression they are going to get is speed and perceived smoothness of the interface and the Apple TV has that hands down, the interface is fast and the transitions are smooth and appealing. By comparison the Roku interface is painfully slow and jerky.

But beyond the basic OS interface, what the OS offers to developers to create “high end” interfaces is where the Roku really falls down. The best you get is some 2D graphics surfaces that can be updated about 5 times per second. Outside of that you get some generic list interface constructs and static splash pages. Just not very compelling for third party companies who wish to have significant control of the look and feel of their product.

Have you developed using the Android and iOS SDKs?


I have developed for iOS my self and have many friends who develop for Android. I can create an application with equivalent complexity to a Roko channel in less than a day with the iOS SDK, but in a week I can create an iOS application with quite a lot more functionality than any Roku channel with richer custom interfaces, and many back end functions that are not even provided by the Roku SDK. Arguably you can make the Roku do some things that don’t come out of the box but they are very difficult to get to work and take a lot more time that equivalent functionality that comes out of the box with the iOS SDK. Those friends of mine that develop for Android seem to be able to build things even faster than similar applications using the iOS SDK.

All of that aside, the OP asked about current Roku market share, not where you personally think Roku will be in a year. With nearly a million devices sold, I think they have a pretty significant lead on any competitive devices, especially when those devices haven't even been available for a month yet...


Yes the OP did ask about the current market share, but as I stated earlier in this post, I believe that one must look to the future of a platform before spending valuable resources on it. As for the million devices sold, that is not really a significant install base as far a platforms go. The Apple TV sold out in the first week, how many devices do you think that is? My guess would be some where between 250,000 and 500,000. If I am correct that would mean that in about one month Apple TV has created an install base of 25%-50% of the Roku install base. Given that the original Apple TV (which sucked by the way) was selling almost 1 million units per year, it is very likely that the Apple TV 2 will sell quite a bit more than 1 million per year.
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kelly_j_anderso
Level 7

Re: Roku market share

EDIT: I just read the blog linked in your profile, and it seems to have the opposite opinion of what you posted here. What's up with that?


My post on minusthesuck.com is not intended to imply that Roku was going to prevent the Apple TV 2 form being successful, and I suppose I could have been more clear about that. The post is stating that it is surprising that apple would allow other companies to out maneuver them in a market that they have a foot hold in. The article about Roku being at greater than 100% feature parity to the new Apple TV 2 covers some of the same points I have in my earlier forum post. The Roku currently has the Advantage of Price, Channel Store and soon subscription television model. The problem is that I believe Apple can close the gaps more quickly than Roku can catchup to the features the Apple TV 2 has that are move advanced.

I have always felt that Roku has been moving too slowly and not thinking of their device beyond pure video and audio; if they had been I think the device would be a much closer competitor to the apple TV 2 and if they could keep Apple out of the subscription TV market they could have won the market. I don't mean to sound disparaging of Roku, I love the little guy and I think they were a great first to market product, I am just disappointed that they did not do more with the advantage they had.
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TheEndless
Level 9

Re: Roku market share

"kelly.j.anderson" wrote:
Unnecessary assessment I disagree, if my department is looking to expend its limited recourses on a platform, it is not enough to merely look at past and current market share. I must look forward to the future of the market; I need to find some way to try and determine which platform will allow for the greatest growth of my product. That will require some educated guesses, based on what information can be gathered about the intensions of the producers of the platforms in question. I will also look to try and guess about changes that I deem to be wise business decisions and expect the wise people running each company to come to those same conclusions.

Unnecessary in that the OP didn't ask for opinions. While I would agree that one should look at the future to make decisions like this, it's their responsibility to evaluate it themselves, not be biased by another individuals opinions, valid or otherwise. I don't think it's very fair for you to come on to Roku's forums and try to discourage development based on where you think it may be in a year or so. By doing that, you're just helping along what you've decided is inevitable.

"kelly.j.anderson" wrote:
In my opinion the biggest hurdle to releasing an app store for the Apple TV is the updated SDK that will be needed to handle the new display format and updates to handle the input of the remote along with the general UI guidelines apple publishes.

I suspect that that's a much bigger hurdle than you may be giving it credit. Moving from a touch interface to a 7 button remote interface is going to require significant updates to existing applications.

"kelly.j.anderson" wrote:
Therefore some company will either make a $99 Google TV set-top box or there will be no successful Google TV set-top box and we will only see Google TV integrated into new televisions.

You're making my point for me. I agree that Google TV will fail at its current price point. There's nothing to suggest that will be different, yet you still claim that they will be part of the downfall of Roku. Apple TV is the only real competitor in this space at the moment, so comparisons to Google TV and what it can do are not valid... yet.

"kelly.j.anderson" wrote:
If this is true then Roku needs to update their F.A.Q. http://support.roku.com/entries/221209- ... eb-outlets My belief of there not being a retail strategy is based off of information gleaned from the website, as any other consumer would. This also sounds less like a retail strategy and more like a licensing strategy. Having said that a solid licensing strategy could be just as effective as a retail strategy.

http://www.engadget.com/2010/10/13/netg ... retail-ev/

"kelly.j.anderson" wrote:
When I speak of an OpenGL based interface that ALLOWS for FAST and high end graphical interfaces I am not only talking about the OS interface but what can be created when one uses the graphical elements exposes for creating one’s own application.

Speaking to the OS interface, the first comparison any consumer is going to make is how it looks and even though that Apple TV interface is very simple it is very shiny. The second impression they are going to get is speed and perceived smoothness of the interface and the Apple TV has that hands down, the interface is fast and the transitions are smooth and appealing. By comparison the Roku interface is painfully slow and jerky.

But beyond the basic OS interface, what the OS offers to developers to create “high end” interfaces is where the Roku really falls down. The best you get is some 2D graphics surfaces that can be updated about 5 times per second. Outside of that you get some generic list interface constructs and static splash pages. Just not very compelling for third party companies who wish to have significant control of the look and feel of their product.

The Roku Netflix UI beats the Apple TV UI hands down, both in performance and functionality (and one could argue, visually). The new Roku SDK will include access to the same grid UI for developers, and presumably the new Roku UI will use a derivative of it too. There's a screenshot on the Roku homepage that hints at what may be to come. Hopefully they'll come out with something that is a bit snazzier than the current...

"kelly.j.anderson" wrote:
I have developed for iOS my self and have many friends who develop for Android. I can create an application with equivalent complexity to a Roko channel in less than a day with the iOS SDK, but in a week I can create an iOS application with quite a lot more functionality than any Roku channel with richer custom interfaces, and many back end functions that are not even provided by the Roku SDK. Arguably you can make the Roku do some things that don’t come out of the box but they are very difficult to get to work and take a lot more time that equivalent functionality that comes out of the box with the iOS SDK. Those friends of mine that develop for Android seem to be able to build things even faster than similar applications using the iOS SDK.

Fair enough. Have you developed anything for the Roku, though? I'm still not sure how you can make the comparison unless you've actually worked with the SDK.

"kelly.j.anderson" wrote:
As for the million devices sold, that is not really a significant install base as far a platforms go.

I think it's pretty significant for a device that has only been available, primarily, from a single website until recently.
My Channels: http://roku.permanence.com - Twitter: @TheEndlessDev
Instant Watch Browser (NetflixIWB), Aquarium Screensaver (AQUARIUM), Clever Clocks Screensaver (CLEVERCLOCKS), iTunes Podcasts (ITPC), My Channels (MYCHANNELS)
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kelly_j_anderso
Level 7

Re: Roku market share

"TheEndless" wrote:

Unnecessary in that the OP didn't ask for opinions. While I would agree that one should look at the future to make decisions like this, it's their responsibility to evaluate it themselves, not be biased by another individuals opinions, valid or otherwise. I don't think it's very fair for you to come on to Roku's forums and try to discourage development based on where you think it may be in a year or so. By doing that, you're just helping along what you've decided is inevitable.


I did not come to the forums this afternoon with the intention of discouraging anyone from developing for the Roku, I actually came here looking for information on SDK updates to see if there were any recent or impending advancements in the SDK or the platform. This post inspired me to reply with my opinion. As for my opinion acting as self fulfilling prophecy, if the platform is strong and competitive my opinions here could not contribute significantly to the downfall of the platform.

"TheEndless" wrote:
I suspect that that's a much bigger hurdle than you may be giving it credit. Moving from a touch interface to a 7 button remote interface is going to require significant updates to existing applications.

You may be correct in your supposition here. Certainly the few applications that are exposed on Apple TV have a radically different interface that the majority of iOS applications. Unless apple creates some kind of interface layer that will allow, controls to have focus, have the focus moved from control to control and be selected with a button, porting would be a bit of a task. So my statement of this being "the biggest hurdle" may be too subjective and not give proper weight to the problem. That being said I still expect the app store for the apple TV to be announced right around January 27th-ish.

"TheEndless" wrote:

You're making my point for me. I agree that Google TV will fail at its current price point. There's nothing to suggest that will be different, yet you still claim that they will be part of the downfall of Roku. Apple TV is the only real competitor in this space at the moment, so comparisons to Google TV and what it can do are not valid... yet.


Google TV is not an end user product, it is a licensed OS/Platform, the device that you are referring to at the price of $299 is the Logitech Revue. Some of the reasons for the cost of the device is the wireless keyboard, drop that and you will drop the cost of the device by at least $60, the video hardware is pretty high end doing 1080p/60fps, but given the state of the market they should have introduced a device with 720p/30fps cutting at least another $60 (most likely closer to $100), it includes the $59 Logitech Harmony mini blaster.

All of that is a long way of saying they overbuilt their hardware and are including a bunch of junk the broad market is not going to consider when comparing to a $99 competitor, and it would not take much for someone to build hardware that would meet the $99 price point. Frankly you could make the Revue for under $99 if you downgraded the video hardware, ditched the keyboard for an IR remote, and ditched the mini blaster.


"TheEndless" wrote:

http://www.engadget.com/2010/10/13/netg ... retail-ev/


This is encouraging, being on the shelves in the television section and getting marketing in the big box stores will definitely help them compete and quite significantly enhances my outlook for the Roku. Roku really should update their website's buy section and F.A.Q. to indicate that we can buy Roku devices in stores. I do find it interesting that Roku managed to keep them selves from being contractually obligated to match the Netgear Roku suggested retail price, it is not like a company like that to allow the OEM to undercut their deal. That could even turn out to be detrimental, if the product does not sell well in stores because people are buying it online for $20 cheaper it could be dropped from retail and loose them the advantages of being in the retail channel.

"TheEndless" wrote:

The Roku Netflix UI beats the Apple TV UI hands down, both in performance and functionality (and one could argue, visually). The new Roku SDK will include access to the same grid UI for developers, and presumably the new Roku UI will use a derivative of it too. There's a screenshot on the Roku homepage that hints at what may be to come. Hopefully they'll come out with something that is a bit snazzier than the current...


I have to say I simply cannot agree here, the 3-5 second delay I get every time I go into a movie/show and then come back to the menu is terrible, I get a flash of the interface, then it goes blank for a second then I get spinners and then the thumbnails draw. Perhaps it is because I have a first generation Roku and maybe first generation Rokus are not as fast as newer ones. I get the same screen blanking if I scroll through my queue too fast.

If the long horizontal lists get replaced with fast stable grids that will make me happier with a browsing and selecting.

"TheEndless" wrote:

Fair enough. Have you developed anything for the Roku, though? I'm still not sure how you can make the comparison unless you've actually worked with the SDK.


I did create the shell of a channel once. I was able to download and get up and running with the SDK quickly. The problem was that I wanted to create an internet connected data display, with rich graphics and animations, that were dynamic based on the data being retrieved from the internet. I was looking at the first SDK and it did not even have the 2D image surface so I abandoned the project. I periodically review the SDK to see if the features I am interested in have been added but they have yet to be delivered.

"TheEndless" wrote:
I think it's pretty significant for a device that has only been available, primarily, from a single website until recently.


I agree that 1 million devices sold through just roku.com and amazon.com is impressive, but when looking to produce a product that you are looking to make money on by either purchase, subscription or advertisement you are really looking for an install base in the 10s of millions.
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mike_ryan
Level 7

Re: Roku market share

Frankly you could make the Revue for under $99 if you downgraded the video hardware, ditched the keyboard for an IR remote, and ditched the mini blaster.


Then you don't have a GoogleTV device. Those are 3 of the main distinguishing characteristics.
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kelly_j_anderso
Level 7

Re: Roku market share

"mike.ryan" wrote:
Then you don't have a GoogleTV device. Those are 3 of the main distinguishing characteristics.


Actually the disguising feature of Google TV is that it is a licensed OS for delivering internet connected applications and web access on a television or other device intended to be connected to a television creating a standardized application platform across all Television hardware. Hardware manufacturers can embed the Google TV OS in devices from televisions to set-top boxes to DVD players and more and the broad and deep Android development community can quickly deliver new applications for Google TV. An IR repeater, keyboard and 1080P are certainly not a core component of Google TV as they are hardware and Google TV is just software. Certainly 1080p is not a distinguisher as Roku provides that for $99. Most people I talk to don't want a keyboard running around their living room and don't even know what the IR repeater is even for.

The only thing a Google TV set-top box needs right now to distinguish its self is the App store and the set of Apps that are already available for Google TV. Just look at what google TV offers
http://www.google.com/tv/ and you will see a rather large feature set.

The Google TV set-top box is merely a bridge between peoples current Television and their next Television purchase with Google TV embedded. This is another reason that a Google TV set-top box should target the $99 price point, people are going to be seeing all of these TVs with Google TV in them at the same price that they payed for their TV originally and are not going to want to pay $300 for what comes with other TVs for free, but they may be OK with $99 to get them by until they buy their next TV.
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mike_ryan
Level 7

Re: Roku market share

I disagree, I think you are wrongly conflating Android OS with GoogleTV. There are already Android based Set Top Boxes and they're something else missing the features of GoogleTV. Anyone can already put Android on a box (and several have) but they're not GoogleTV boxes.

The GoogleTV is a feature set of apps built on top of Android and likely has a minimum device profile attached (I'd have to believe). Most of the features you are touting (search) virtually require a keyboard, IR blaster and the "mouse" functionality that you're proposing getting rid of 1080 is relatively minor but I haven't seen a device maker able to make a $100 box that has full flash 10.1 which is a big selling point for GoogleTV. Otherwise if they do as you propose they're coming out of the gate with a fragmented market which already makes Android a more difficult platform to develop for then iOS. If Google starts allowing reduced feature set boxes to be run as GoogleTV they create a developer nightmare and one their CE makers will not enjoy.
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kelly_j_anderso
Level 7

Re: Roku market share

"mike.ryan" wrote:
I disagree, I think you are wrongly conflating Android OS with GoogleTV. There are already Android based Set Top Boxes and they're something else missing the features of GoogleTV. Anyone can already put Android on a box (and several have) but they're not GoogleTV boxes.


Actually I was under the impression that Google TV was an OS based on Android, rather than some form of chrome on top of Android. I did a little research and now realize that the partnership with Intel and Sony go far beyond what I had though it would be. Hopefully this can prevent the segmentation that we are seeing in the Android mobile world with every device mucking with the presentation and limiting the version of the OS that can be installed, which I have heard described as a development nightmare from the Android developer friends I have.

I still believe that extensive text entry on the Television is simply something people are really not going to be interest in doing. As for internet access we have smart phones and tablets that provide a superior couch based internet experience than browsing on a TV, I have used many devices to access the internet on my TV and after a few minutes I am pulling out my laptop at letting the TV play some video. So I think the physical keyboard is about as essential as the physical keyboard on the smart phone. Beyond that, I have a smart phone and I can just use the keyboard in the remote app for text entry, I am not likely to be entering so much text as to make that cumbersome.

If the GoogleTV platform does indeed specify hardware requirements that would push all set-top boxes into the $200 plus range I think Google TV adoption will be rather slow and it will be many years before we see the install base of 10s of millions of devices which would be the golden number for content producers. In the long haul I think Google could win by positioning its self as "the" embedded internet television platform. Of course it's price and probably, slow adoption rate laves a gap that Roku could sneak into, by also offering their product as an embedded solution. If the next version of the Roku OS and SDK do give us a significant enhancement and Roku works aggressively at advancing their platform and partnering with other electronics manufacturers there is opportunity; they will need to execute a massive land grab to be ready to compete when the Google TV comes down to meet Roku at its price point.

As for Apple, I still believe that they will win the set-top box war, but I just don't see them playing in the embedded platform space. Apple needs to control the whole device or none of it; if anything, within 2 years (if they wait that long) we will see Apple selling actual televisions with iOS on them.
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kelly_j_anderso
Level 7

Re: Roku market share

still believe that extensive text entry on the Television is simply something people are really not going to be interest in doing. As for internet access we have smart phones and tablets that provide a superior couch based internet experience than browsing on a TV, I have used many devices to access the internet on my TV and after a few minutes I am pulling out my laptop at letting the TV play some video.


By internet I actually mean Web Browsing. I believe internet delivered content is going to be key to the future television experience but browsing the web was designed for a computer based experience and just not compatible with the television experience. Even with web access I believe that people will prefer apps and an app store designed to be accessed with a simple remote to find their apps.
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kbenson
Level 7

Re: Roku market share

"kelly.j.anderson" wrote:
still believe that extensive text entry on the Television is simply something people are really not going to be interest in doing. As for internet access we have smart phones and tablets that provide a superior couch based internet experience than browsing on a TV, I have used many devices to access the internet on my TV and after a few minutes I am pulling out my laptop at letting the TV play some video.


By internet I actually mean Web Browsing. I believe internet delivered content is going to be key to the future television experience but browsing the web was designed for a computer based experience and just not compatible with the television experience. Even with web access I believe that people will prefer apps and an app store designed to be accessed with a simple remote to find their apps.


I think Google has made it fairly obvious that they want a pretty comprehensive internet experience through Google TV, one that includes full text entry on a regular basis. Personally, I think that if you are going to bring the internet to a device, you need that text entry, and in a way that's not obtrusive. How often do you sit down to browse the internet and NOT use any sort of search? The internet without search is annoying and slow. Search without easy text entry is stunted and frustrating.
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