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Google Leads the Global Set-Top Device Market With 33.1%
Set-top devices offer a value-priced alternative to connected TVs, but the lack of unified search on both platforms has consumers frustrated.

Apple TV might grab the headlines and Roku was first to 4K, but Google's set-top devices have the largest global market share. According to the Global Smart TV and Streaming Media Devices Markets Forecast to 2021 report created by Frost and Sullivan, Google leads with 33.1 percent of the market, followed by Apple with 31.7 percent and Roku with 15.2 percent.

The connected TV market will grow at a rate of 5.1 percent between 2016 and 2021, Frost and Sullivan predicts, with prices dropping. That market included 190 million connected TVs in 2016.

While people are upgrading their TVs at a faster rate these days to benefit from new online features, many prefer using set-top boxes, which cost less to upgrade.

“High-efficiency video coding (HEVC), 4000 pixels (4K) and high dynamic range (HDR) will drive sales and shorten upgrade cycles, but competition will continue to intensify,” notes Avni Rambhia, a digital media research analyst with Frost and Sullivan. “Their agility and ease of replacement continue to provide streaming devices a distinct competitive edge over smart TVs.”

Search remains a problem for both connected TVs and set-top devices, the report notes. Consumers are satisfied with the usability and ease-of-viewership on both platforms, but are still put off by the lack of unified search. When consumers find a product difficult, it lowers their interest in the area.