By Jared Newman | Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 9:09 am
Curious how that whole streaming video set-top box business is working out? Apple and Roku are happy to brag.
On Monday, Roku chief executive Anthony Wood told Business Insider’s Dan Frommer that the company expects to sell its millionth Roku box by the end of this year, two and a half years after the first devices launched. He also said that when Apple TV arrived, Roku sales doubled thanks to heightened awareness of streaming set-top boxes. (Preemptive price cuts couldn’t have hurt.)
On Tuesday, Apple put out a press release crowing about sales of Apple TV. The company expects new Apple TV sales to hit 1 million later this week, and noted that iTunes users are renting and purchasing more than 400,000 TV shows and 150,000 movies per day. For comparison, the original iPhone took 74 days to hit 1 million sales, while Apple TV will take, at most, 86 days to reach the same milestone this week.
Obviously, Apple TV is beating Roku. That was to be expected given Apple’s reputation and retail presence. Still, the 1 million sales mark is a good sign for any gadget, and both boxes are getting there.
I don’t know how many of those set-top boxes are being used to replace subscription TV outright — probably not many — but if Apple TV and Roku get into more homes, the odds of cable-cutting are only going to increase.
For now, content owners and cable companies maintain that cord-cutting is a minor phenomenon, limited mostly to middle-aged, middle-class people who don’t stream a lot of media, not the tech-savvy geeks you might expect. This observation will lose validity if set-top boxes go mainstream.