updated 02:48 pm EST, Tue December 17, 2013
NPD sees Apple TV, Roku far away in the lead
Apple TV and devices from Roku hold the vast majority of the third-party set-top box market, according to industry analysis firm NPD. Speaking with AppleInsider, an analyst from the firm said that the two systems dominate the third-party box market with roughly 80 percent share between the two of them. As the set-top market expands with a proliferation of devices, the share held by those two entities could make it difficult for other players to carve out a niche.
The market for streaming accessories grew by more than 30 percent on a unit basis, according to NPD. Over the same period, Apple TV has shown a 23 percent gain. Apple has continually updated its "hobby" set-top device, a fact that NPD says has kept it viable and thriving even though it has not seen a hardware update in some time.
At the same time, Roku's set-top boxes have seen continuing updates and hardware refreshes. In September, the Roku 3 launched in Canada, bringing 450 channels and a motion sensitive remote to that country.
The market the two devices currently dominate, though, is bound to expand. Intel has been developing its own set-top box and accompanying Internet TV service, though that might be sold to Verizon. Microsoft, too, is pushing in on the space, with its Xbox One console packing a number of features, including the ability to interface with live television. Google already has its Chromecast streaming dongle, and the company reportedly is working on a Nexus TV set-top box that would run Android.