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Analyst: 4K streaming media adapters to become ubiquitous

The arrival of linear 24×7 streaming video services, such as DirecTV Now and YouTube TV, is increasing the relevance and uptake of streaming media devices. ABI Research identifies that worldwide streaming media adapters will reach nearly 56 million shipments in 2022 and forecasts all those devices shipping in North America and western Europe will be 4K in 2022.

“4K streaming devices are just entering the market in the highest end products,” says Sam Rosen, Managing Director and Vice President at ABI Research. “4K streaming devices represent about 35 per cent and 24 per cent of streaming device shipments in North America and Western Europe, respectively, in 2017. However, as penetration of 4K TVs grows, so will the revenue opportunities from UltraHD definition purchases and rentals, as well as premium early release content. Pricing premium for these formats represents substantial revenue opportunity for studios and streaming service providers, and this will drive a faster shift to 4K streaming media adapters.”

“Video streaming services are increasingly becoming a replacement alternative for traditional pay-TV services as operators partner with third-party OTT players or start to offer standalone streaming services, such as Dish Network’s Sling TV and NOW TV by Sky in Europe,” says Khin Sandi Lynn, Industry Analyst at ABI Research. “This abundance of low-cost and no-contract video streaming services drives the adoption of media streaming devices, which can be given freely or heavily subsidized for subscriber acquisition.”

Select service providers who prefer more controller ecosystems are bringing to market dedicated streaming devices to target consumers who plan to ‘cut the cord’ and/or never subscribed to a traditional pay-TV service. While the boxes provide the pay-TV operators with supreme security and flexibility, the struggle for many pay-TV operators lies in convincing consumers to install a new box that does not handle other popular video services. As such, ABI Research predicts that retail video streaming devices that support multiple streaming devices and smart TVs will likely continue to hold the market majority over operator-branded boxes.

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