Roku has announced that it has reached 51.2 million active accounts. It gained over 14 million accounts in 2020, up from 36.9 million at the end of 2019. Roku says these figures are “preliminary estimated data for the fourth quarter ending Dec. 31, 2020” which, to me, sounds like it couldn’t wait to one-up Amazon’s announcement last month of reaching 50 million Fire TV users.
Roku has also shared that their viewers have streamed a total of 58.7 billion hours in 2020. That’s an increase of 55% over last year’s figures. Amazon does not typically comment on the number of hours streamed on Fire TV devices, apart from the occasional tidbit on the popularity of certain app categories.
While Roku technically takes the crown back from Amazon for having more active accounts, according to publicly announced figures, both Roku and Fire TV are pretty much neck and neck in popularity. Apple and Google don’t release figures for active Apple TV and Android/Google TV users, but estimates put them well below the number of Roku and Fire TV users.
For all the users on Roku’s support forum that spent May to December of last year declaring that Roku would pay dearly with lost customers because of the HBO Max and Peacock disputes, I guess 14 million people didn’t care much about that.
I have a Roku device, but use it only when an app isn’t available on Fire TV devices. The average Joe has no idea about the differences between the competing products. I’ve had folks ask me about a web browser on Roku. Last time I looked, there wasn’t one. My antenna setup with HDHomeRun was also not possible for Roku users. Of course, Roku is a one trick pony, where Fire devices are more of a system. I can’t get Roku to listen for break-ins or smoke detectors. The general public doesn’t do much research before purchasing and rarely seek out expert advice until it’s too late.
Right. I need a browser to keep up with all the censored programming that has been banned from mainstream apps.
Yes! I was happy last May when the HDHomerun channel came to the Roku, but the app is terrible and awkward and Silicondust just abandoned it. I fired up my Ultra the other day for a change of pace from Cubes and Shield and opened the channel and it still sucked. It’s not fully functional and options it has don’t work well at all. My HDHomerun apps are very important to me and so I almost never pick up the Roku remote. I’m encouraging Roku to drop the channel.
The workaround is to just access your HDHomeRun via the Plex app, which works great on Roku.
This really bums me out. I have both a FireTV edition TV and a Roku TV. The Roku TV is an objectively worse experience, so it makes me a little sad that 51M people are getting a pretty bad user experience. I know this sounds biased, but I encourage people to try both.
I use both in my home and it really depends on who is using it as to which is the best user experience. For myself, the FireTV interface is mostly the better experience as it’s tied to my larger ecosystem.
But for my aunt, a senior, the FireTV is basically unusable, the UI changes too much, you can’t just have a simple layout that is pinned in place so she can quickly find what she wants to watch. Roku is the only solution I’ve found for her and other seniors I know for whom the ‘discovery’ approach is less than ideal.
Well, I don’t think this comparison is fair since Roku is available in more countries than Fire TV.