• Apple TV Manages To Attract a Third of the Connected Home Device Market in 2011

    As the Apple TV continues to be branded as being a “hobby” for Apple, sales of its $99 set top box have recently made it the most popular device in its category. As of right now, predictions are claiming that the device is set to sell nearly 4 million units of the nearly 12 million TV boxes in the market.

    A report created by Strategy Analytics states that Apple is currently the leading set top box vendor, ahead of the dedicated TV box systems from Boxee, Iomega, Roku. Western Digital, Seagate, and Android-based Google TV licensees Logitech and Sony. “Apple is leading the nascent market, which it still considers a ‘hobby’,” says Senior Analyst of the Connected Home Devices (CHD) Jia Wu of Strategy Analytics.

    It was noted that only 8% of the U.S. households currently own a “connected TV” player, but of that population, 32% have chosen Apple’s model. Additionally, among connected TV users, more Apple users end up actually paying for movies and TV shows. The firm found that 30% of Apple TV owners have paid to rent movies or TV shows, compared to just 20% of users of other devices. “As Apple prepares for its expected launch of smart TVs in 2012, rival platforms must accelerate their development plans to keep Apple from running away with the connected TV business, as it has done in smartphones and digital music,” the analyst stated. This is all during the speculation that Apple is set to enter the HDTV market, rather than continuing to build a low cost, small external iOS device that can work with any TV set.

    The firm did acknowledge that Apple along with Roku has found success due to offering a TV device at a much lower price point than many other competitors. The company has managed to be “more affordable and compelling to consumers.” Apple slashed the prices of the Apple TV, which started out at $229 as an entry level device of the first generation unit to just $99 by focusing on streaming content from cloud services (such as iTunes and Netflix) from users’ own PC content libraries, rather than hard drive playback of locally stored content on the device itself.

    Speculation is pointing towards AirPlay as one of the key killer features offered by the Apple TV. AirPlay allows users to skip the much less convenient external HDMI cable connection to their HDTVs. Many other popular devices lack support for video output but Apple’s A5 based iOS devices such as the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S can easily stream content to the HDTV. That isn’t all either, standard devices can stream to Apple TV using third party apps such as doubleTwist while utilizing its AirSync feature as well.

    Ironically, despite the Apple TV being one of the most popular set top boxes in the market, there are many people who don’t quite know what it is or what it does. Are you one of those people? Are you one of the people who own a set top box? If so, is it an Apple TV?

    Source: Strategy Analytics
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