updated 03:10 pm EST, Mon December 12, 2011
Apple poised to dominate smart TVs, says analyst
The Apple TV is on track take 32 percent of the Internet-ready TV set-top market in 2011, claims research firm Strategy Analytics. Both Apple and Roku set-tops are said to be doing well as a result of their makers lowering prices. Globally, the market for such devices is forecast to reach just under 12 million units by the end of the year.
Strategy Analytics adds that as a rule, Apple TV owners tend to spend more money on movies and TV shows. Roughly 30 percent of them are said to pay for rentals, versus 20 percent in the rest of the market. The Apple TV does however have access to just a small set of Internet services -- the main options being iTunes, Netflix and YouTube -- and restricted file format support, potentially pushing some users into renting from iTunes.
"Apple is leading this nascent market, which it still considers a 'hobby'," writes a senior analyst with Strategy Analytics, Jia Wu. "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."
In part because of comments by former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Apple is believed to be working on a full-scale TV set for launch within the next year or two. Its primary features are predicted to include things like integration with iCloud, and a simple user interface. That interface might potentially involve Siri, the voice command system currently tied to the iPhone 4S.