Apple Leads With Its “Hobby” Apple TV

Still calling it a “hobby,” Apple is leading the market for connected TV players with its Apple TV, according to a report from Strategy Analytics. While not yet a mainstream market, the firm believes that sales will double in the upcoming year.

Apple TV

Research from the company’s Connected Home Devices service shows Apple leading in sales of connected TV players, such as Apple TV or Roku Box. Sales of these devices are predicted to double in 2011 when compared with 2010. And it is expected that total units sold will reach 12 million with Apple accounting for 4 million of those units.

These set-top boxes have not gained widespread acceptance yet, however. Only 8% of US households and only 7% of European households own one. But they provide an easy way to get Internet content onto big-screen TVs and the lower price points of the latest models have made them more attractive.

These devices also enable purchasing of content to be viewed and Apple TV users are doing that more than users of other devices. Nearly a third (30%) of Apple TV users rent movies or TV shows, while on 20% of users of other devices do so.

Jia Wu, Senior Analyst at the Connected Home Devices service said “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.”