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Amazon says Fire TV is bigger than Roku, but there are caveats

Amazon says Fire TV is bigger than Roku, but there are caveats
[Photo: courtesy of Amazon]

Amazon is notorious for keeping hard usage numbers secret, but it’s been making exceptions for Fire TV devices. The company says it now has 34 million active Fire TV users worldwide, up from “well over” 30 million users in January, and more than the 29.1 million active users Roku disclosed on its latest earnings report.

While it looks like Amazon is widening its lead over Roku, TechCrunch notes that Amazon also distributes Fire TV devices in more countries. Roku also points out that it typically counts a family with multiple users as a single active account; it’s unclear whether Amazon is doing the same. I’ll also add that Fire TV allows users to sideload Android apps like the Kodi media player from outside Amazon’s app store. Whereas Roku is more locked down, Fire TV’s open nature might result in more people using the device in illicit ways.

In any case, there’s plenty of room in the streaming TV wars for both Amazon Fire TV and Roku to thrive. The bigger losers here might be Apple and Google, which haven’t been as eager to share specific usage numbers.

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