SmartTV Competition Heats Up: Roku, Amazon & Others in Focus

The battle for domination of the smartTV market is heating up between Roku ROKU, Amazon AMZN, Alphabet GOOGL division Google and Samsung.

Roku recently announced expansion of Roku TV licensing program in Europe. This move will allow TV manufacturers to license Roku TV reference designs and use Roku OS.

The company stated that Hisense will begin selling Roku TV models in the United Kingdom beginning fourth quarter. The new Hisense Roku TV models are expected to come with 4K Ultra HD resolutions and HDR, and in sizes ranging up to 65 inches.

Roku’s European expansion plan follows Amazon’s announcement to launch more than 15 new Fire TV Edition products across North America and Europe in partnership with Grundig, JVC and Toshiba.

Notably, Roku shares have returned a massive 454.4% on a year-to-date basis compared with Amazon’s rally of 22.1% and S&P 500’s rise of 17.4%.

Year-to-date Price Performance

Roku, Amazon Rivalry Heating Up

Per Parks Associates report, Roku and Amazon controlled 69% of the U.S. streaming device market in the first quarter of 2019. Between the first quarters of 2017 and 2019, Roku's share rose from 37% to 39%, while Amazon's share climbed from 24% to 30%.

According to a Strategy Analytics report, Roku’s streaming TV platform accounted for 30% of U.S. sales in first-quarter 2019, beating Amazon, Samsung and Google’s 12%, 11% and 9%, respectively.

Moreover, Roku had a 36% lead over Sony’s SNE PlayStation in terms of devices in use.

Notably, Roku is leading player in the smartTV market, courtesy of its partnerships with the likes of TCL, JVC, Sharp and other leading TV-makers.

Amazon Ramps Up Efforts to Contain Roku's Growth

Amazon’s partnership with Grundig, JVC and Toshiba will certainly strengthen its competitive position in the streaming space. The products will include Toshiba’s 65-inch Fire TV Edition smart TV with Dolby Vision and Dixons Carphone’s JVC – Fire TV Edition Smart 4K Ultra HD HDR LED TVs (the first Fire TV Edition devices in the UK).

Additionally, Amazon’s launch lineup includes Fire TV Edition smart TVs in Germany and Austria from IMTROM (a subsidiary of MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group) and 11 Fire TV Edition smart TVs with far-field voice control in partnership with Grundig, also in Germany and Austria.

Amazon claims that its Fire TV devices have over 37 million users worldwide compared with 30.5 million global users for Roku in the last reported quarter.

Per a Bloomberg report, Amazon also extended partnerships globally with television manufacturers like Arcelik, Compal, Skyworth, TPV, and others to build more Fire TV Edition products around the world.

Although Roku leads Amazon in the United States, it is expected to face stiff competition from the latter in terms of expansion of the Fire TV hardware line and integrations in the European market.

Currently, both Roku and Amazon carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here

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