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Roku, Chromecast outselling Apple TV in US, says report

updated 02:53 am EDT, Thu July 10, 2014

Field expected to diversify with more entrants coming to market

Ahead of what is expected to be a significant revamp or re-invention of the Apple TV, rivals such as Roku and Google's Chromecast dongle are allegedly outselling Apple's entry in the streaming-settop-box wars, claims a new study. Though still more popular worldwide, the report from Parks Associates believes that Apple sold just over two million Apple TV units in the US last year, which if true would place it third behind Roku and the Chromecast, both of which sold about 3.8 million units in the US in the same period.

According to the latest statistics from both companies, Apple has sold over 20 million Apple TV units, half of them in 2013 alone, since introducing the device in 2007. The Roku, introduced a bit later, has sold a total of around eight million in its available markets (the US, Canada, the UK and Ireland). The Chromecast's total actual sales are unknown, as Google has not released those figures, but the company is thought to have shipped some 3.8 million units since it was introduced a year ago.

The report claims that at least in the US, Roku is beating Apple not just in rate of sales growth, but also in average amounts of usage. The same company also said that Chromecast usage, by contrast, has gone down -- which Google denied and rebutted by producing evidence showing that average usage is in fact going up. Parks Associates claimed that its data isn't contradictory, in that those who still use the Chromecast are using it more, whereas the larger pool of marginal users are using it less.

Earlier this year, Apple's Eddy Cue and Tim Cook both called the Apple TV "a billion dollar business" based on annual revenues. In order to have annual revenues of $1 billion, Apple would have to sell over 10 million units per year at retail pricing (15.4 million units per year at wholesale pricing). While this would represent worldwide sales, Park Associates' estimate of two million units in the US seems dubious, as America has long been known to the largest individual market for Apple TV.

However, buyers -- having been fed rumors of a revamped or reinvented Apple television product for at least the last four years -- could be holding off on expectations that the stories of such a device may finally ring true later this year as part of a number of expected new and revamped Apple products. Both Steve Jobs and Tim Cook have talked about a "grand plan" for "cracking" the unintuitive television interface, with little beyond that point to what might result from Apple's long consideration of how to improve the TV experience.

The rumors of Apple's move into either its own HDTV unit (presumably with Apple TV technology included) or a revamp of its existing set-top box comes even as interest in television generally is falling. While a number of individual programs are continuing to attract large mainstream audiences, Americans in particular are spending less and less time in front of their expensive TV sets -- and least when it comes to traditional consumption of programming.

Big-screen TVs today are as likely to be used for video games, streaming movie rentals and viewing photos or YouTube or web surfing as it is to watch network or cable television programming. Apple's plan -- if it is still pursuing it -- will need to address the changing use of big-screen devices as much as it will have to compete with further entrants in the space such as Google's latest attempt to re-re-launch its own set-top box, this time referred to as Android TV.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. Mr. Strat

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 01-23-02

    We have an Apple TV 2 that we used for a couple years, but it had frequent Netflix problems. So I bought a refurb'd Roku 3 off Woot, and it's been great. It's locked up a couple of times, but then reset itself and has had none of the problems of the Apple TV.

    I suspect that it's just our specific Apple TV unit that has the problem, but regardless, the Roku has so many options...love the wireless remote. Apple has the better interface though.

  1. Mike Wuerthele

    Managing Editor

    Joined: 07-19-12

    Yeah, was going to ask. This house is replete with second gens, and we haven't seen any problems. What happened?

  1. macgurunc

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 02-06-11

    Roku is a fair comparison but Chromecast cannot serve content without having it pushed from another device so I don't consider it as a peer to AppleTV.

  1. Atheist

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 09-15-06

    Originally Posted by NewsPosterView Post

    Earlier this year, Apple's Eddy Cue and Tim Cook both called the Apple TV "a billion dollar business" based on annual revenues. In order to have annual revenues of $1 billion, Apple would have to sell over 10 million units per year at retail pricing (15.4 million units per year at wholesale pricing). While this would represent worldwide sales, Park Associates' estimate of two million units in the US seems dubious, as America has long been known to the largest individual market for Apple TV.



    I would presume they count video sales/rentals in the "billion dollar business" figure. I'm sure they get a cut of the Netflix/Hulu fees as well as the other services that are sold through the Apple TV.

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    Atheist: it is possible you're correct (though Apple breaks that part out separately in its accounting), but unfortunately we can only take Cue and Cook at their word that they're referring to the Apple TV unit itself without some greater elaboration from them. As they sold 10M units in 2013 by their own admission, its entirely possible that the device could be on track to sell 15M units this year.

  1. Rapscallion

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 03-12-04

    Apple TV still needs a SDK for developers. Dual A7s would be nice too. It has huge potential as a game console, with jailbroken units able to connect with several devices and use many apps. This is years late already.

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