Media Streaming Best of 2014
This last year brought media streamers quite a few winners and also some losers. Here are some more memorable highlights from the past year and what to expect for 2015.
2014 was an exciting year for media streaming
In 2014 we saw record numbers of subscribers cutting their cable and satellite TV providers in favor of lower cost broadband streaming. While industry experts are predicting the death of cable TV, they think this is still ten years away.
Customers still continue leaving their cable television and satellite providers at an unprecedented pace in favor of online streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Instant.
Laws and Regulations That Affect Streamers
One of the biggest losses to the streaming community this past year was Aereo TV. They closed their business when they lost their Supreme Court case. Aereo TV rebroadcast free over the air signals to customers over an internet stream by assigning each subscriber their own antenna.
Mainstream network television providers had a conniption fit and some even threatened to stop broadcasting their content over the air if Aereo was allowed to continue. Sadly the highest Court of the land ruled against Aereo.
With the loss of Aereo, streamers lost another great service especially those that could not receive free over the air TV signals from an HD Antenna. They had to resort to other methods to receive live TV content like USTVNow or Nimble TV, or continue to pay higher prices for cable or satellite TV.
Meanwhile the FCC is getting ready to change old outdated laws that were designed to favor the satellite and cable industry after getting a flood of consumers comments when they floated the idea of doing away with Net Neutrality.
With their latest proposal, they want to open up streaming television to an entire new industry of startups and companies. These companies would be able to act as streaming content providers giving consumers access to much of the same content that is available to the cable and satellite industry.
We are still waiting to see if the two largest U.S. cable TV providers are given the green light by the FCC to merge. This will create even less competition in the narrow field of broadband internet service and cable TV providers.
Popular Roku Channels and Roku 4 Nowhere In SightThis last year we have seen Roku move away from not only providing table top and streaming stick media players. They also put their platform inside large screen LED televisions. Several HD LED Smart TVs manufactured by Hisense and TCL are now powered by Roku. These range in sizes from 32" to 55".
Roku also brought us a lower cost HDMI Streaming stick which was designed to compete with Google's Chromecast streaming stick. It gives streamers on a tight budget a way to purchase an affordable streamer for less than $50.
We have seen many more Roku channels added to the list. There are now more than 1800 Roku Channels available in the Roku channel store and also on our 2015 Roku Private Channels list. Roku by far still has the most content offered by any media player manufacturer.
Some of the more popular Roku Channels this past year were, Playon, Plex along with the Unsupported App Store, USTVNow, and Put.io which offers secure cloud based BitTorrents on Roku. Our Adult Roku channels continue to be popular since these channels are not found in the Roku Channel store.
Missing this year were any new stand alone streamers from Roku. The company still has not yet released a new Quad core model that supports 4K Ultra HD.
Fortunately their flagship model the Roku 3 still works very well and is faster and smoother than any other model they currently sell.
Android TV Boxes Exploded in 2014Android TV boxes have been a very hot seller this past year and we have seen many new models released.
Some of the top rated models are those from Minix like their new top of the line Neo X8-H Plus Quad core and the SkystreamX 4 Quad Core streamer loaded with many of the best XBMC/Kodi Add-ons.
The new G-Box Quad Core Q was also recently released which is a successor to the highly popular Dual Core Midnight MX2.
Android TV boxes are popular because they allow users to choose and install a wide range of software apps and also XBMC. This gives owners easy access to many free TV shows and Movies.
Unlike Apple TV and to a lesser extent Roku which keep much tighter control over what individuals can watch with their boxes.
Sales have been very good for this little streamer unlike their Fire phone which was a complete flop this past year.
While the regular price of $99 was set to compete with the Roku 3, they often offer discounts of $20 off on their website. Click here for current price.
Amazon also recently released an update that bricked rooted Fire TV boxes.
Sideloaded apps and XBMC on the Fire TV still all continue to work fine. The new Fire TV Side Loader App makes it very easy to add third party Apps to the Fire TV and Fire Stick.
Amazon also released their Fire TV Streaming Stick which is very reasonably priced and also a top seller for the company.
Be sure to see the Top 10 Best selling Media Streamers for 2015 located on our Top 10 list which is updated daily by Amazon.
What The Media Steaming Industry has in store for 2015
This next year we will continue to see continued growth in the Android TV platform.
Google will begin offering live TV streaming on their platform. We expect to see many new and even faster Android TV boxes released.
Gigabit Ethernet will become common on these boxes and we may also see memory capacity increased along with even faster processors.
While there are already a great many Android apps for watching TV shows and Movies. We expect to see even more added in 2015.
More content providers will begin offering channels to streamers for a monthly fee. We have seen CBS already launched their stand alone 24/7 streaming news channel and HBO announce they will begin offering a stand alone channel in 2015 that does not require a subscription to cable or satellite.
What may seem like a small trickle at first, will soon turn into a raging stream as other channel content owners begin offering their channels to streamers as well. Lost revenue from subscribers leaving conventional cable TV providers in favor of streaming TV may well force their hand.
Sony recently released their controversial movie "The Interview" at the same to time to streamers as they did to independent theater owners after receiving threats to movie goers by hackers. Much to their surprise they raked in massive online profits from streamers.
Streamers may no longer need to wait months before new movies are available to be purchased from online streaming providers. This could be a big shift for the movie industry and most likely a profitable one as it gives more people access to new movies while they are first released and still getting the most publicity.
Thank You For Your Support - Next Year Will Be Awesome!
We wish you all a very happy New Year full of streaming joy!