A new report compiled by Parker Associates and discovered by Gigaom revealed that the Apple TV has lost some U.S. market share to competitors like the Roku and Chromecast last year, causing it to become only the third most popular device in the category.

According to the report, Google’s Chromecast and the Roku streaming device each sold around 3.8 million units in 2013—though the figure is more impressive in the case of the Chromecast, which was only introduced in the second half of the year. Apple, on the other hand, reportedly moved 2 million devices, putting it just below the others.

The report also covers data for the first quarter of 2014, which indicates that the Roku is beating the Apple TV not only in growth, but also in usage. Chromecast usage, on the other hand, has seen a decrease since the device launched last year.

Eddy Cue noted earlier this year that the device is currently a billion-dollar business for the company and is expected to grow beyond that. Apple only recently decided to take the Apple TV out of the “hobby” category and is rumored to be working on a new version of the device.

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31 Responses to “Apple TV loses ground to Roku and Chromecast, drops to 3rd most popular set-top box in U.S.”

  1. good, perhaps this will serve as a warning for Tim Cook to stop bragging about how much money apple makes off of a “hobby”.

    • Jassi Sikand says:

      A warning to stop bragging? Why? It WAS only a hobby – Apple never (publicly) declared a serious market of interest until recently. Even Jobs didn’t think of it as such until near the end. When all you do is release a version of iOS to the TV screen and it becomes a billion-dollar business, that’s impressive. What it is, I’ll grant you, is a warning that now that Apple has decided to seriously push Apple TV, it will have to make the product as beloved as its others. I don’t have an Apple TV because a) I still have cable and b) Apple has made it a complement piece of the ecosystem, not an essential one. Until it is essential, it won’t be a hit. However, I am excited for the future.

      • Air Burt says:

        It’s not a big deal at all when you remember that the Chromecast costs a third of what the Apple TV does and the Apple TV actually has more uses than the Chromecast does. None of these devices is an essential.

  2. Time to turn it into an app machine already. The interface is getting tired and unless you’re AirPlaying from a more capable device, it feels so limited now.

    • Jassi Sikand says:

      That’s what I hope they do. But I think they’re trying to make a whole experience out of it (App Store, games, controllers, etc), and that takes time. If you’re going to do it, do it right.

      • Apple can take its sweet time. Seems like google will “do it right” before apple does. just like many products recently.

      • @johnson first of all, please list the products google is ‘doing it right’ before Apple. Secondly, while android TV looks good, it’s nothing new, it’s not at all revolutionizing and making the TV experience futuristic. It’s simply doing what’s already been done. Granted it’s something that at the present time or maybe forever, will be hard to solve, due to content providers. I think Apple should release something that takes over the UI for all TV functionality including wherever your content may be coming from. Make something that transforms any TV you plug it into something with the same beautiful and fluid UI.

      • Jassi Sikand says:

        What is Google ‘doing right’? Android TV is nothing new. Chromecast I agree is a success, but there is a caveat. It relies on Chrome. Chrome is an excellent browser (let’s not pretend that people don’t use it), but it’s a battery hog. I’d never use it to stream anything because my battery (and don’t get me started on a Windows PC battery – yes, I’ve used a Windows machine) would die fairly quickly, for a Mac. On a Windows PC it’s pretty much guaranteed that one would have to use a charger while streaming, which would sometimes defeat the purpose of Chromecast. I like the concept. I don’t even mind using Chrome, but I’d possibly use it a whole lot more if it became a whole lot more energy-efficient.

        Apple will more than likely try to revolutionize the TV-watching experience – probably by trying to get channels directly from content producers (rumors suggested this, then said that Apple abandoned the strategy) or from getting cable companies to partner with Apple. Opening an App Store would do a whole lot of good. Hell making an actual TV would be something, while maybe not likely, I could see Apple doing.

        So no, Google hasn’t done everything right

    • @o0smoothies0o,

      Pretty much any and all web services

      • Like what exactly? iCloud destroys every other cloud based service for 1 reason: it’s invisible to the user (until now since you can add and remove documents).

      • “iCloud destroys every other cloud based service for 1 reason: it’s invisible to the user”

        That comment, right there, tells me (and plenty other people I’m sure) you really don’t know what you’re talking about.

      • Nope, I know exactly what I’m talking about, and what I said is exactly why it destroys all the others. The overwhelming vast majority of smartphone users only need what icloud does right this very second. It is not perfect but it destroys the others because it is invisible, the best part is that you don’t think about it like a cloud, everything is just on all of your devices whenever you change them, it just works.

  3. The pricing it too high for what it does. Add in apps (games) now that ios supports controllers and you’ve instantly created the machine Microsoft and Sony have been fearing all these years.

    • Microsoft and Sony have absolutely nothing to fear from any of them as they are all for casual gaming only. If Apple releases one with gaming, it would only hurt them if hardcore games by AAA developers started to be put on the store, it had the power and graphics capabilities to be at least on par with the 360/ps3, and they designed their own controller or allowed the pairing of dualshock controllers, specifically the dualshock 4.

      The iOS third party controllers couldn’t be worse, or more expensive. It’s sad when the best controllers ever made (ps4 and xbox one) are cheaper or the same price as some of the worst controllers ever made, for iOS. Sorry, but gaming is all about the controller. Physical, tactile feedback with absolutely perfect ergonomics is essential and the number one priority for gaming.

      P.S. Casual games are good for your mobile device, but not sitting on your couch on the TV screen. Yes, some people would love to do that, but GTA V is a trillion times more fun than angry birds.

      • You are overlooking some important things.

        1) The hardware/ specifically the Processor on an ATV was never able to offer that kind of experience. All that has changed with the A7 and soon to be released A8 64bit chips and number of transistors. Combine that with Metal and as shown at WWDC, you now have the real possibility of a hardcore gaming system. Yes the controllers aren’t anything great at this point, but then again I don’t think you had the number of players in the market since they weren’t sure of the real potential. Its possible Apple itself would release a controller of their own if there was a new ATV.

        Release new ATV hardware, revamp the interface like done this year of iOS8 and Yosemite, add in handoff/continuity, adhoc wifi, etc and you totally up’d the ante. The add an appstore (Apples moves in iOS7 and beyond as well as OSX towards resolution independence in apps layout and design will help this become a reality) , homekit (always on hub for your connected home), and possibly iCloud Drive (where you can store ANY content you want). Also, could possibly be TouchId integration where personalized content and settings is simply displayed on your ATV using your iDevice.

        I have a feeling this will be a banner year for developers and they have more to be excited about later this year and the start of 2015.

      • Jassi Sikand says:

        Metal is not going to do anything for AAA games. Developers are excited because they can now produce mobile versions of AAA games to play with high fidelity. Metal and A7/8 help with that. But even those do not allow for a) storage and b) graphics of AAA games (the quality and quantity) to be replicated with an A-series processor.

        People like to believe that iOS and Android are causing the death of the traditional console. This is not true. iOS and Android devices, even with controllers, are complementary devices, not replacement ones. All they do is remove some of the casual gaming done on consoles and move it to mobile. However, indie developers, now more than ever, are developing for traditional consoles and it is the hard-core gamer that is making money this generation of consoles, not the casual gamer. Remember that casual gamers are band-wagoners. They didn’t help with sales even last generation until the hardcore gamer made the Xbox 360 popular (I am a PS fan, but I’ll admit that the PS3 did not become a success until prices were cut and storage was increased). Most of the money still comes from hardcore gamers

        Mobile games and mobile gamers are here to stay – but not at the expense of the traditional console.

  4. veryvito says:

    It’s starting to feel too late for Apple TV now. I’ve been a fan for years, and I stay glued to each keynote in the hope that something might turn up, but even I’m resigned to looking at Roku or Amazon Fire TV for my next update in the coming months. If I’m going to buy a new TV device, I want it to do more than my four-year-old Apple TV already does — and the new ones are no better. Give me an App Store and a non-hacky way to access a real media server on my network, and perhaps we’ll see. Otherwise, Amazon Fire’s integration w/ Plex and Prime Video is looking pretty tempting (Gary Busey and all).

  5. This is wrong. Apple sold at least 5M Apple TVs in 2013.

  6. cjt3007 says:

    Probably because everyone is waiting to see what Apple does with the next generation of Apple TV.

  7. mpias3785 says:

    It’s time Apple focussed its energies on the Apple TV. They’ve been cruising along with simple OS updates and haven’t updated the hardware in years.

    There’s a massive amount of potential there and if Apple lets this market slip through its fingers then it only has itself to blame.

  8. bensawyer says:

    How no one looking to compete in this space hasn’t managed to purchase Roku is really mind boggling in some respects. Everyone trying to get in is an also-ran and unlike many upstarts in similar situations Roku has more than held it’s own against Google and Apple. I love my AppleTVs but hats off to Roku for executing so well so far. Amazon reportedly tried to buy them but Roku turned them down, FireTV doesn’t seem to be much of a threat so far. That all said, at some point can they really survive independently as well as they have so far?

    • Probably cause Roku is simply a streaming device, like Chromecast. ATV has that functionality plus airplay and a store to back it up. They just lack in the streaming content dept, but we see they keep adding stuff constantly now. I think Apple’s vision for the ATV is more then that of a streaming device and probably goes way beyond what Amazon is trying to do. This required not only software but the hardware that could support it as well. Based on both hardware and software developments, over the past 12 months, we may have now reached the point where Apple can leapfrog the ATV (more so a new ATV) out of just a streaming device and into an important fixture in your home. I see the 3rd generation working but may rely more on the powerhouse of a connected device (i.e. iPhone 5S and up as well as last generations of iPads/Mini’s and up)

  9. Laughing_Boy48 says:

    Roku is doing an excellent job in streaming box category for such a small company. I use my Roku 3 all the time mainly because it has PLEX support but I also use it for Pandora, Youtube, Amazon Prime Video and a few other channels. It’s as stable as a rock and the interface is snappy and perfect for me. I’ve never used any games on it because I’m not interested in them.

  10. As long as it doesn’t have a app store it will keep declining. Apple TV is very limited. Especially outside the US. I’m from Holland and we have a handful of apps that are mostly quite useless and some weird ones like KorTV which is Korean. Maybe nice for the 12 people in Holland that are Korean and have a Apple TV but otherwise it’s a space filler. There are no Dutch apps available and apps like Vevo are very, very poorly translated. As long as there is no app store with Dutch content and decent apps I will not upgrade to a new one.

  11. Mark Carabin says:

    Apple could turn that around easily by opening up Apps and game compatibility. I have two Apple TVs in my house, and use both regularly. Half the time it’s just a Netflix machine though and since I’m fairly certain my toaster gets Netflix now, it’s really just a matter of convenience/choice. I love Apple TV, but even I’ll admit it needs a big overhaul.

  12. Wow, it is amazing to me how many people here don’t seem to see what Apple is doing. The “TV” experience is all about content. Apple knows this, it is basically what they did with the iPod, but this is much harder since they are dealing with more entities and unlike the music industry of the time the video industry is more aware of online content.

    However, look at all of the deals that Apple has been making lately with content companies. That is the future. That is how and where Apple will beat Roku and Google. In fact, I would wager that five years from now Roku will be a niche if not completely gone, Google will be scrambling to bribe the content companies with loads of money to please allow them content for their ecosystem, Apple and Amazon will be duking it out for first, and Microsoft, and Sony will be vying for third.


    The simple facts are that Roku simply doesn’t have the money or clout to broker deals with the myriad factors in this arena. Google is as unfocused as ever in what they are doing. Amazon has a strong tie to the media companies already and Bezos has exhibited a deep knowledge that content is king. Apple also knows this. The race between Amazon and Apple will come down to Amazon figuring out the hardware and UI before Apple can catch up in content agreements/creation. Microsoft and Sony both have shown signs that they know about the content importance, but to date haven’t shown that they know exactly how best to deal with it.

    Right now the set-top box category is entering its awkward teenage years. But it will soon move into its prime and Apple is taking the long term winning strategy right now. It is spending its time and energy on securing access to the content that will be necessary to come out strong. So, to me, the question isn’t about current market share as much as what steps are each of these companies taking to secure the market for the future, and I am not seeing anything impressive from either Google or Roku.

    • Jassi Sikand says:

      Except for saying that Google is unfocused (contrary to belief, many products does not equate unfocused, just stretched. They’re focused, just in a different way than Apple is), I agree with you. Well done

      • I agree with Mike personally. Unfocused is the word I’d use from GoogleIO that run for 2.5+ hours in a keynote.

        The car stuff is old, the TV stuff is so so, the watch is a kinda dumb unless it offers something more than weather, time and directions. 3D in my phone UI?

        Apple came out with a graphics API that increased performance 5-10x, and google came out with one that’s 3D in nature. Which do you think is the focused decision?

        I like google, but they keep missing the mark… ChromeBook sigh. Didn’t they realize that went out of style with the Netbook?

  13. I love my AppleTV. The UI is getting a little long in the tooth. One thing that no one has mentioned here is how awesome the AppleTV is in the office and classroom. Easily connect devices to a large monitor or projection system.

    • That setup currently can be complicated as well. But, if ATV incorporates the same Bluetooth LE/Wifi Adhoc connections as shown in Yosemite, then that will make it an awesome and dead simple experience.

  14. Of course it’s losing ground, because all of us who WANT to buy it know the next version of AppleTV is around the corner in October :)