Apple TV Could Be Fourth in Streaming Set-Top-Box Sales ➝

Parks Associates:

A new Parks Associates report on streaming media devices reports four brands – Amazon, Apple, Google, and Roku – accounted for 86% of all units sold to U.S. broadband households in 2014. […]

“Roku continues to lead streaming media device sales in the U.S. with 34% of units sold in 2014. Google is second with 23%, and new entrant Amazon overtook Apple for third place,” said Barbara Kraus, Director of Research, Parks Associates.

It’s not clear how they sourced their data, since Apple and Amazon don’t report sales numbers for their set-top-boxes. But I wouldn’t be surprised if they were fairly close to the mark. Roku seems to have built incredible brand recognition and every Android owner I know has asked me about the Chromecast. A few of my friends have Apple TVs, but it’s not the dominate device amongst my circle.

The Apple TV has been the centerpiece of my living room setup for nearly eight years, so I have an attachment to it. But there’s been a tremendous amount of competition in this space over the past several years from dedicated streaming boxes and game consoles alike. If Apple wants to start gaining market share again, they need to hit this upcoming hardware announcement out of the park.

Not having their television streaming service ready at launch is a bit of a disappointment, but it’s not like they can wait forever to release new hardware — eventually they have to ship. However, the existence of third-party software will certainly help bolster the announcement. Games and streaming apps could be intriguing enough to win-over users who had previously written-off the Apple TV, especially if developers are able to easily port their existing applications. That would allow for a large software library at launch that could quickly outpace the number of Apple Watch-compatible apps.