Walmart Enters Streaming Hardware Market with Affordable ‘Onn’ Branded Devices
After months of not-so-secret item filings, leaks, and consumer speculation, big-box retailer Walmart has finally officially entered the streaming device market with a pair of aggressively affordable Android TV-powered streaming gadgets under the company’s “Onn” brand. Walmart has previously used the branding for its range of consumer electronics, from TVs to speakers and more.
Walmart debuted the devices last Thursday. While the product premieres may have flown under the radar, their price points surely will not.
The Onn “Android TV Device” is capable of supporting Dolby Audio, streams 4K content, and costs $29.98. While the box doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, it’s definitely aimed squarely at shoppers who might be interested in a Roku Express 4K, priced at $35. The price difference may be slim, but for two major companies who wear the affordability of their products as badges of honor, the heat is definitely on.
An additional device, an Onn-branded Android TV-powered HD streaming stick has also been revealed at $25. This particular gadget is a little questionable being that for a few dollars more you can grab the 4K version, but in a world of tight margins and even tighter budgets, one can assume that Walmart did their homework and determined that there is a market for this stick.
Both devices include Google Assistant voice control through their remotes, and both have access to the Google Play Store via Android TV, where viewers can find every major SVOD and AVOD streamer’s app.
In 2019, Roku stated that retail outlets Walmart, Amazon, and Best Buy made up almost three-quarters of its total sales. It remains to be seen if Roku, already the cheapest kid on the block, makes some changes to accommodate Walmart’s new products, especially since their own Roku Express 4K was already made exclusively for the retailer’s shelves. The brand may lower their prices even further to compete, or perhaps reframe their products as more fully-featured than Walmart’s bare-bones offerings.
Amazon’s Firestick, priced noticeably higher than either Roku or Walmart’s alternatives, is beginning to look pretty indulgent considering the new competition.
With Walmart’s brick-and-mortar stores still a go-to destination for consumers looking for affordable electronics and easy access to today’s myriad of streaming content, the company maintains tremendous influence over the market of streaming devices. Now that it also has its own line to sell against Roku and Amazon, 2021 could see a shakedown with regard to market share between the three companies.