Tag Archives | Apple TV

Apple TV and Roku: (Almost) a Million Sold

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.


Internet TV Boxes Galore

My new Technologizer column for TIME.com is up–it’s a look at the new wave of Internet-TV boxes for the living room that are arriving over the next couple of months, and it focuses on the new Roku, since that’s the only one I’ve personally kicked back with so far. I mention the new Apple TV too, of course–FOX News’s Clayton Morris has one in his possession, and he likes it and thinks it’ll become “a quiet hit” for Apple.

Now that Roku’s out and Apple TV is just about here, the next big questions for this category all rotate around Google TV and the Boxee Box–both of which aim for a more feature-packed, comprehensive approach to Internet TV than the keep-it-simple-and-cheap Roku and Apple TV. I hope to try ’em all before the holidays are here.


The Boxee Box: Nearly Here, Still a Contender

What a difference a year makes. When Boxee and D-Link unveiled the Boxee Box  in late 2009, things were pretty quiet on the Internet-TV-in-the-living-room front. Now, after a bit of a delay, the companies are getting ready to ship the Box in November. And it’ll compete against the all-new Apple TV, set-top boxes and TVs based on Google TV, the first devices that support Hulu Plus, and a bevy of other methods of getting video off the Internet and onto an HDTV. Little Boxee, in other words, will face daunting competition from some pretty formidable rivals.

I met with Boxee CEO Avner Ronen and D-Link Director of Consumer Marketing Brent Collins this weekend to get a sneak peek of a nearly-final Boxee Box. And you know what? Despite the avalanche of competition it’ll face, it still looks pretty cool.

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Ten Random Questions About Apple's Music Event

I’m sorry I wasn’t at Apple’s music event today to cover it live. I had fun watching it via Apple’s live video stream from the lobby bar here at the Grand Hyatt in Berlin, though. (I give the experience a B- from a technical standpoint: Eighty percent of the time, the stream worked well, fifteen percent I got audio but the picture froze, five percent it misbehaved in other ways. Then again, I was on iffy hotel Wi-Fi, so the glitchiness might have been on my end rather than Apple’s.)

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Apple TV to Become the App-Filled iTV?

It looks like Apple’s trying to put down the legacy of Apple TV as the company tries a new push into the living room.

Engadget’s got some more rumors on the project, which will reportedly be dubbed iTV when it’s revealed this fall. We previously heard that Apple was slimming down the television set-top with iPhone-like specs, including an A4 processor and 16 GB of flash memory. Now, Josh Topolsky’s unnamed tipster says iTV will definitely support apps. Whether they’ll be iTV originals or iPhone/iPad converts is unknown.

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Apple TV, iTunes Updated; World Remains Unchanged

Apple has dusted the cobwebs off of Apple TV with a new software upgrade that introduces a redesigned user interface, which is intended to make it easier to play favorites. iTunes 9.0.2 was released in conjunction with the update.

Apple TV 3.0 has a redesigned main menu that adds shortcuts to recently rented or purchased movies. TV shows, music, podcasts, photos and YouTube are also front and center.

In addition, iTunes extras and iTunes LP content can now be played on the Apple TV in full screen. Genius mixes and Internet radio can now be played through home theater systems. The iTunes upgrade adds HE-AAC playback and encoding.

I still wonder when Apple will start a subscription service. For the moment, my colleague Harry McCracken has largely forsaken his Apple TV for a Roku, because his Roku gives him unlimited content through Netflix.

Apple TV is a nice device, but it is not, as Harry has stated, “an iPod-like transcendent hit.” I’m sure it would work well paired with one of those snazzy new 27″ iMacs, but very little (other than iTunes synchronization) differentiates Apple TV from its competitors. How about it, Steve?

There has been rumors abound about Apple getting into the TV business, and selling an all-in-one unit. I would be happy to forsake a box for a TV that has Apple software built in. My tiny Manhattan living room doesn’t have much space for more stuff.

Apple TV 3.0 is a free download for existing customers; new 160GB units cost $229. Last month, Apple slashed the Apple TV’s price, and increased capacity.


More Apple TV for Your Money

Apple TVI can’t remember if anyone onstage at Apple’s press event last week even mentioned the words “Apple TV.” It certainly didn’t announce any major news associated with it. But the product which Apple loves to tell us is a mere hobby is now a better buy. Apple has discontinued the 40GB model (the one I own) and cut the price for the much more capacious 160GB version from $329 down to $229, the price it had been charging for 40GB.

Depending on how you use Apple TV, you might or might not find the 4X jump in capacity for your buck to be a boon–if all you do is rent the occasional movie, store a typical music collection, and stream stuff from other computers around your house, 40GB was plenty. 160GB starts to sound like enough space for a sizable movie collection (although it’s still teensy compared to the space offered by pricier media services such as HP’s MediaSmart Home Server.)

Apple TV is a fun and well-designed product, but it hasn’t turned out to be an iPod-like transcendent hit. Then again, neither has anything else involving bringing the Internet into the living room. I find myself using Roku’s $99 box more than Apple TV, mostly because its Netflix Watch Instantly integration lets it provide all-you-can-view access to a ton of content for one low price. Other than video podcasts, most of Apple TV’s content is priced per title, making it impractical to gorge on movies and TVs as you can do with Roku. I wonder if Apple has ever considered offering some sort of Netflix-like subscription plan, at least for a subset of stuff?

Time for a T-Poll: