Dongle Bells: The Holiday Stream Of Streaming Devices

You have the right to disagree, of course, but stores that open for Black Friday mania on Thanksgiving help further debase two holidays and should be avoided throughout the entire holiday season. Greed is the one thing we ought not be celebrating on Thanksgiving. Give it a rest.

After Thanksgiving, go for it.

If predictions from Parks Associates are correct, this should be a good season for connected devices like Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV and Roku. That's mainly because they’re cheap and small and, if you ask me, because they represent the holiday tradition of giving family members gizmos that are, in some vague way, futuristic.

The streaming sticks and similar dongle devices have that allure. They can be given to “the man who has everything” because they’re something that man may not yet had time to get, or to older people giving to younger people as a plastic indication they’re at least trying to “get it.” Or from younger people to parents because those dongles are pretty darned simple to work. (It will also be a good season for smartwatches, Parks says.)

The Christmas shopping tip sheet from Parks says these OTT helpers should be big again this year, as they were last. Barbara Kraus, director of research for Parks, says that last year, 46% of Google Chromecasts and 37% of streaming media players, such as the Roku 3 and Apple TV, were purchased as gifts.”

This year, the firm notes, the Roku HDMI Streaming Stick should benefit the same way, probably more than the new Amazon Fire TV Stick because the Amazon product won’t ship until January. (The regular, slick looking Amazon Fire set-top version is around, but sometimes I wonder if Jeff Bezos really is such a smart marketer.)

One thing the Parks prediction notes is that even with gift givers (though, apparently not the ones in my family) price is not always the bottom line. When shopping for a streaming device, this report says, consumers will opt for more features over a lower price.

We can only wait to see if any of the major makers will be advertising their streamers this season. For a hot category, it seems like a kind of closed market, and I’d bet a little consumer education would improve sales.

I’ve seen some Chromecast ads so far, but nothing at all from Roku and fortunately, no reprise from Amazon Fire TV’s launch campaign that featured Gary Busey in unsuccessful conversations with his lamp and surfboard, which didn’t respond. That was Amazon’s way to point out that its voice recognition system for movie titles and such—like an actor saying, “Gary Busey”-- really, really produces results, in this case, video links to Gary Busey movies. It’s such a bad ad, it seems to deserve another watch, or for those of you really needing something to do to get through a Thanksgiving Eve workday, the excruciating 15-minute version.

Have a Thanksgiving full of appreciation for people and things big and little. I’m especially thankful to you, my readers. See you soon.
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