Apple may view its set-top box as little more than a hobby at this point -- or so they claim -- but apparently it's popular enough to attract more buyers than any of its direct rivals. According to a report by market research firm Frost & Sullivan, the Apple TV commanded a 56.1% share of the market for dedicated streaming devices in 2012, with the Roku a distant second at 21.5% and TiVo bringing up the rear at 6.5%.
That’s despite offering relatively narrow lineup of channels -- though major services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO Go and YouTube are all there. The company also offers content a la carte through iTunes and has grown its sports offerings by adding WatchESPN alongside existing MLB.tv, NBA and NHL channels.
Curiously, while the slowly growing catalog goes some way into making the Apple TV a worthwhile purchase, Frost & Sullivan claims AirPlay is actually the primary reason for getting the $99 device. The feature makes it dead simple to mirror video and audio from OS X, an iPhone or iPad onto a TV screen or stereo system.
Google is notably missing from the chart, lumped into the ‘Others’ category with the rest of streaming boxes struggling to gain a wider audience. Of them, Frost & Sullivan estimates the discontinued Logitech Revue has the lion’s share of Google based devices, and notes that the company is still committed to this segment despite its limited success so far. Recent Google TV devices include Vizio’s C0-Star device and Asus’ Qube.
It should be noted that this only covers dedicated streaming boxes. The full report available to paying F&S subscribers breaks out market share and sales numbers for streaming devices including tablets, phones, smart TVs, game consoles and IP streaming devices as well, which easily eclipse Apple TV sales figures. Dedicated streaming boxes make up for less than 1% of the market when accounting for all others.