Apple's quiet infiltration of the living room

Apple's quiet infiltration of the living room

Summary: Apple's "hobby" project has captured over 56 percent of the IP streaming devices market, pushing big names such as Roku and TiVo into a distance second and third place.

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TOPICS: Apple
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Apple, it seems, has managed to sneak its tanks into living rooms under the noses of other set-top box makers, according to market researchers at Frost & Sullivan.

The company crunched the numbers of sales of what it calls 'IP streaming devices' and came to the conclusion that "Apple accounts for the majority of sales by far, despite offering relatively narrow content access."

The Apple TV is winning the war for the living room.

(Source: Frost & Sullivan)

Grabbing a 50+ percent market share with a device that, back in August 2010, then COO – and now CEO – Tim Cook called "a hobby" is not bad at all.

So what's the secret? According to Frost & Sullivan, it has little to do with content, and everything to do with ease of use.

"Apple TV's AirPlay feature was strategically crafted to simplify the process of transferring laptop and tablet displays to a TV screen, and it is AirPlaying – not OTT streaming – that is the primary reason for purchase of Apple TV devices."

But the future is hazy. As noted by Frost & Sullivan, "the long-term potential for this segment does remain uncertain," because " while current growth rates are high, the total installed base of $99 streaming boxes is quite low."

As far as competition goes, Roku is far behind Apple with a 21.5 percent market share, and TiVo even further behind, with a 6.5 percent share.

Topic: Apple

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104 comments
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  • Yup

    We have one, when friends come over with their iPhones they can shows us pics and videos with AirPlay, nothing is needed, it just works, don't even have to enter any codes etc... and it all sync with iTunes, so music you see on your phone, shows up on TV... Works wonders with iPad too.... trust me I've tried all this with Android, you just can't get the same experience.
    Hasam1991
    • DLNA

      Meanwhile, the rest of the world is doing it WITHOUT Apple TV.
      It's called DLNA and nearly every TV/set top box/PVR/DVD player made in the last few years is DLNA compatible.
      No codes if you don't want to.
      Just turn on media server on your phone/PS3/Windows PC/DLNA whatever and it just works.
      You can even stream via DLNA from your iOS device to your TV without an Apple TV box (yeah, there's an app for that)
      Airplay is just Apple creating their own proprietary protocol so they don't have to license an existing protocol that everybody else is using and thus vendor lock-in.
      warboat
      • Apple's way is easier.

        And that's the secret sauce. It's also something tech head will never, ever understand.
        baggins_z
        • Actually

          my Sony streaming box recognizes my Android tablet; it sees all the pictures, movies, music, etc. I just select and play. I can also "Play to" from my Android tablet. All I had to do, was plug it in.
          roteague
        • Apple Sauce

          I really don't know how much easier it can get than "scan for media servers" and select file to play. uPnP takes care of the rest. no codes required if that's the way you want it.
          Airplay is just a push protocol that works with limited formats and that's all it is.
          warboat
      • Another advantage of DLNA over apple's airplay

        DLNA is way easier. That's the secret sauce. It's also something tech head will never, ever understand.
        toddbottom3
      • Re: DLNA

        DLNA, unfortunately is junk. There are no two devices that are completely compatible and often features are crippled.

        Keep It Simple, Stupid.
        danbi
        • @danbi

          You know not of what you speak. While there are devices (Samsung TVs for example) that don't support some of the spec, my WD devices do a great job. Unlike AppleTV, I get full surround (AC3 and DTS) and full 1080p video. I've got a house full of Apple gear, but I can't imagine why I'd replace my DLNA with an inferior device.
          MC_z
          • @MC_z - I think you’ve missed something

            The Apple TV does 1080p.

            Also, it (and the lowly ninety-odd dollar Apple Express WiFi router) have headphone out plugs that double as optical connectors with TOSlink. If you have a home theatre system with optical inputs, you can stream AC3 and DTS from many systems.

            This is why the Mac Mini + Apple TV + dual tuner USB stick combinations are quite popular as home theatre/PVR systems.

            I don’t know what prices are like now, but when I was shopping around just after the release of the latest Mac Mini, this combination was one of the cheapest combinations that offered full 1080p multi-channel recording in lossless HD-broadcast format and which would play through a decent HiFi system (two NAD amps with Wharfdales).
            StandardPerson
          • lossless HD broadcast?

            Digital TV broadcasts are lossy streams.
            When you record it, you are recording the stream WITHOUT conversion. Converting it while recording would actually take a lot of processing power.
            As an example, I have an old Topfield SD PVR that can't view/play HD channels but if I set it to record a HD channel, it will record the HD stream. I won't be able to playback the HD recording on the Topfield but I can upload the recording to my PC and play back the HD recording or stream/transcode it over the network for media sharing.
            As for the Mac Mini/Apple TV/TV tuner setup, for every one of those, you will find at least a thousand Windows Media Centre setups doing the same like a champion since Vista.
            Add the PS3/Xbox360 into the mix and there is no reason to have Apple TV except to use it for mirroring which it doesn't do very well anyway.
            I've been doing HTPCs since the 90's and the cheapest, and probably most powerful systems, is a Myth TV Linux box with as many tuners as you like. Windows Media Centre is also just as cheap, even easier, but slightly less powerful.
            Lastly, why would it matter what DAC setup you were using for the output? nearly any PC motherboard can output digital via coax/optical/HDMI and there is no loss in quality as it's a digital stream.
            warboat
          • Re: lossless HD broadcast?

            Yes, lossless HD broadcast. Since the broadcast format is - by definition - the reference for broadcast HDTV *reception*, and since the Mac receiver and recorder (like most PVRs) saves this data without further compression, the result is clearly “lossless.”

            war boat: "As for the Mac Mini/Apple TV/TV tuner setup, for every one of those, you will find at least a thousand Windows Media Centre setups doing the same like a champion since Vista.”

            I don’t recall saying otherwise. I will say that that I wasn’t able to find Windows hardware that was as suitable. (Continued below.)

            I’m sure you could cook something up with Linux or a PS3 or an XBox that does the job, and there may be a decent recorder on Windows 7 that I haven't seen, but in all these cases you come back to the problem of the hardware. The Mac Mini is the only decent-quality hardware that I have seen that’s totally silent, compact and unobtrusive enough for *my* living room.

            Regarding Windows Media Center, a Windows 7 64-bit Professional License, with the media extensions, can set you back somewhere between $100-180, which is a hell of a lot on $600 hardware! A Wintel box that was competitive with a Mac Mini would have to be $450-$500 with HDMI and optical out and which was about the same size (8”x8”x1.5”): if hardware like this exists, I haven’t seen it.

            “Lastly, why would it matter what DAC setup you were using for the output?”

            I didn’t mention DACs, but since you ask, a DAC is one of the most critical parts of any audio system: the ladders used in most PC motherboards have horrible non-linerities. You can’t get good quality sound out of a cheap DAC on a cheap motherboard, which is why it makes sense to keep the signal in digital form until the very last moment possible.

            Regardless of the AV system that I was using, I’d keep the signal digital for as long as possible. For a Mac Mini, this means using TOSlink, which happily is the standard used on most good pre-amps (if you want) and amplifiers. Given that I don’t want a noisy, honking-big, grey box PC in my living room, this is a good thing.

            warboat: "oh yeh, what good is TOSlink with Apple TV when it doesn't pass thru DTS or AC3 streams? It doesn't JUST WORK.”

            It does. iTunes HD recordings typically have 5.1 Dolby sound and an Apple TV can play these when it’s connected to compliant TVs/home theatre systems. It’s not Apple’s fault if some companies are skimping on their DTS/AC3 streams.

            And none of this has anything to do with the fact that Apple TVs do have 1080p output, which was my point!
            StandardPerson
          • Apple fanboy

            MC_z original point was about passing DTS thru to his AV gear, but you took it as a 1080p argument. Yes, you can get a version of Apple TV that does 1080p (not all of them did) but none of them can output DTS. Of course it can play anything from the itunes store since Apple limits all media in the itunes store to minimalistic surround sound as that is not an important element since most of their usage profile is with portable devices in 2 channel audio.
            DTS is not skimping, it is SUPERIOR to DD5.1 with higher sampe resolution, greater dynamic range.
            I'm bashing my head against the wall with you as you seem to want to bend the argument especially with things like your definition of lossless. By your definition all digital broadcasts are "lossless" which is just plain idiocy.
            warboat
          • warboat - man-boy of the sheeple

            Lovelock Davidson commented that some people confuse popularity (market share) with quality, and used this to justify the sobriquet “sheep” or “sheeple.” I defer to LD on all questions of bias and misrepresentation: he is a master - verily, he is infallible - when it comes to these subjects. Since you’ve chosen to descend into LD territory, I’ll reply in kind. In an iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma, tit-for-tat is the best, currently-known strategy.

            On desktops, Windows has a massive majority of seats. Given LD’s definitions, Windows desktop users, and Apple haters, are the sheeple and you are no more rational than the rest.

            After reading MC_z’s remark:

            MC_z: “@danbi You know not of what you speak... Unlike AppleTV, [my WD device gives] full surround (AC3 and DTS) and full 1080p video.”

            I pointed out that he was wrong about this point and that Apple TVs do provide full 1080p. While earlier generation of ATVs did not offer 1080p, iTunes did not sell or rent HD video material before the introduction of the third generation ATV in March 2012. For comparison, look at the many Roku models described in Wikipedia.

            With the exception of a few top-of-the-line Roku units, the Apple TV’s output resolution (i.e. 720p or 1080p) of the time either matched or bettered the resolution of a similarly-priced Roku unit.

            warboat: “MC_z original point was about passing DTS thru to his AV gear, but you took it as a 1080p argument.”

            I’ve quoted MC_z’s original point above and it clearly implies that an Apple TV cannot output 1080p video. That is not true. Given original point could not reasonably be “taken” as anything other than a “1080p argument.”

            warboat: “Yes, you can get a version of Apple TV that does 1080p (not all of them did) but none of them can output DTS.”

            In fact, Herr Sheeple, you *cannot* get “a version” of Apple TV (ATV) that does *not* do 1080p. Apple only makes one model of ATV: it’s not like you can flip through the catalog of (say) Rokus looking for a device with or without some feature. If you absolutely must have composite output in an Apple device, the best you can do is get on eBay and buy a three-odd year old, second generation Apple TV, with 720p composite outputs.

            DTS is irrelevant in the context of MC_z’s quote above: “Unike ATV, [my WD device gives] full surround (AC3 and DTS) and full 1080p video.”

            This is logically equivalent to
            “Unike ATV, [my WD device gives] full surround (Dolby Digital AC3 and DTS multichannel sound)”
            AND
            “Unike ATV, [my WD device gives] full 1080p video.”
            For the compound statement to be true, both parts of it must be true. In particular it must be true that
            “Unike ATV, [my WD device gives] full 1080p video.”
            I’ll happily assume that MC_z’s WD device *does* do 1080p, but then the truth of the component statement (hence of the whole statement) hinges on whether ATVs do *not* do 1080p. Since all available Apple TVs do 1080p, there are none that do not!

            I’m going to leave things there. You have made yourself look a bit of a prat with your unnecessary commentary about compression in broadcast TV – a commentary containing trivial information that did nothing to further your claim that I was wrong to write of the lossless *recording* of an HD broadcast.

            Your latest reply hasn’t helped. Switching from half-baked reasonableness to abuse s never a good sign.
            StandardPerson
          • LOGIC FAIL snd fanboy RDF

            What you have done there is RDFed conditional arguments

            Condition A AND Condition B (original point)
            is NOT the same as
            Conditon A OR Condition B (your strawman argument)

            You obviously do not write any code if you can actually interpret 2 non-exclusive conditions as equivalent to independent conditions.
            sort this bug out before you proceed to compile any more replies

            Most of your posts are ignorant Reality Distortion Field stuff like the cost of Windows Media Centre software and lossless definitions.
            warboat
          • That’s simple Sheeple stupidity - review your web-coding book

            | Condition A AND Condition B (original point)
            | is NOT the same as
            | Conditon A OR Condition B

            It’s just as well that I did NOT use anything remotely like that in my argument.

            (If I did, where is it? Come on, spell it out, because I can’t be bothered committing the variables and operators to the screen for you.)

            "Most of your posts are ignorant Reality Distortion Field stuff like the cost of Windows Media Centre software”

            I got the prices straight from Google. If there’s a cheaper version of WMC out there, that’s not OEM, then by all means quote it.

            "and lossless definitions.”

            I’ve already explained why the *recording* of HDTV signals is lossless. The *transmission* of HDTV signals is also lossless. The only lossy compression is introduced by the broadcaster.
            StandardPerson
          • Logic Comprehension

            my WD devices do a great job. Unlike AppleTV, I get full surround (AC3 and DTS) and full 1080p video

            This statement is represented as

            WD = (DTS+AC3) AND (1080p)
            ATV = 1080p (unimplied)
            ATV != WD

            Your assertion is that the statement is equivalent to:
            WD = (DTS+AC3) OR (1080p)
            ATV = 1080p
            therefore ATV = WD
            thus you use this to prove his multiple conditions are false if only one of his conditions is not true.
            This is called the strawman argument when you pick and choose a point and ignore the rest of what is stated.

            If you read what you wrote a few times, you might see the error in your logic
            warboat
          • Warboats’s Sheepish contribution to (il)logic ...

            warboat: “This statement is represented as
            WD = (DTS+AC3) AND (1080p)
            ATV = 1080p (unimplied)
            ATV != WD”

            This is a horribly confused description that betrays a disturbing ignorance of logic, but I’ll do my best to work with it.

            *Assuming* the following
            DTS(WD) = True (i.e. the predicate DTS(.) is true for the WD device etc.)
            ACS(WD) = True
            1080p(WD) = True

            i.e. assuming these *axioms*, and doing my best to wade through this crude parody of a formal system (Zeroth-order logic) then why have you not included
            1080p(ATV) = True
            among the axioms as well? If by “unimplied” you mean that 1080p(ATV) does not follow logically from any other axiom or conclusion, then 1080p(ATV) should logically be treated like DTS(WD) and the other axioms.

            Since "ATV = 1080p” appears in what you think is true *and* in your representation of what you think I was arguing, perhaps I should just announce “FAILED!” and leave things there. However, I’ll press on so you can see more clearly how you’ve misrepresented my prior posts.

            waboat: “Your assertion is that the statement is equivalent to:
            WD = (DTS+AC3) OR (1080p)
            ATV = 1080p
            therefore ATV = WD”

            So you seem to believe my “assertion” is equivalent to:

            “a(WD) = [ DTS(WD) AND SC3(WD) ] OR 1080p(WD)
            b(ATV) = 1080p(ATV)
            ==> a(WD) = b(ATV)”

            This is a complete misrepresentation of my argument.

            Worse, even if it were an accurate representation of what I claimed, since (according to you) we don’t have any value for 1080p(ATV) we cannot logically reach any conclusion at all. That’s what happens when you gloss over your axioms.

            You don’t seem to understand what the point of formal logic really is, let alone how to use it to present a chain of reasoning. As wrote before, your level of understanding of formal logic seems at about the JS web page scripting evel, so you have a lot of gall accusing me of making a logical error. Didn’t you do Euclid in year nine maths?

            Back to the books, Mr. Wintel Sheeple!
            StandardPerson
          • LOL bulldust

            What you wrote there is basically strawman logic
            compound logic requires that all conditions be met which was the original point
            your strawman logic tries to debase it by fulfilling a subset of the conditions.
            read the following quote of your logical assumption and realise that you are simply logically wrong:
            ------
            This is logically equivalent to
            “Unike ATV, [my WD device gives] full surround (Dolby Digital AC3 and DTS multichannel sound)”
            AND
            “Unike ATV, [my WD device gives] full 1080p video.”
            For the compound statement to be true, both parts of it must be true. In particular it must be true that
            “Unike ATV, [my WD device gives] full 1080p video.”
            -----
            He said that his WD does DTS, AC3 and 1080p unlike ATV
            you broke his compound conditions into independent subsets which is a logical fail.
            You're trying a lot of logical RDF to try and sweep your fail under the carpet.
            warboat
          • ATV 1080p

            you, of course, want to assume that ATV does 1080p which I have already pointed out is only true for a subset of ATV as not all ATV can output 1080p.
            but hey, you ignore the facts and want to fudge the dataset to suit your futile argument
            warboat
          • lossless

            I’ve already explained why the *recording* of HDTV signals is lossless. The *transmission* of HDTV signals is also lossless. The only lossy compression is introduced by the broadcaster.

            So by your definition, MP3 is lossless because as long as you don't re-encode it, you have a lossless copy of it.
            Lossless and Lossy is NOT about the transmission/storage/duplication/etc of the signal but whether the output signal is exactly like the source or not.
            The source is the video signal as recorded by the video camera or production output in the case of animated films. If the broadcaster compresses the HD broadcast using a lossy compression as they transmit it, it doesn't matter if you don't alter it and record that lossy signal faithfully, it is still a lossy HD broadcast. Lossless HD broadcasts implies that the broadcaster uses a Lossless compression which is not the case.
            You got caught out and you are back peddling.
            warboat