iTunes usage has overtaken that of RealPlayer for the first time in the US, new research claims.

In a report that reveals US broadband penetration has increased to 86.79 per cent among active internet users, it has also been confirmed that iTunes usage surpassed that of RealPlayer from April 2007.

Further, the report adds: "Among the four major streaming media players, only iTunes had a positive growth rate over the past year." Usage grew 26.8 per cent between December 2006 and December 2007.

QuickTime usage fell 8.6 per cent, RealPlayer fell 17.5 per cent, and Windows Media Player was essentially flat.

iTunes ended 2007 with 35,664,000 US users. RealPlayer had 27,565,000 (down from 33,408,00 the preceeding year) while Windows Media Player accounted for 75,865,000 users in the US, the report reveals.

As a signal of growth, iTunes held 669,000 users in December 2003, the report informs.