Apple TV is in desperate need of an update. Photo: Apple
It’s been over two and a half years since Apple TV was updated, and while Apple’s been happy resting on its laurels, its biggest competitors are passing it by.
Google’s Chromecast is now more popular than Apple TV, reports Parks Associates, which says streaming media players become more popular than ever in the first three quarters of 2014, as 10 percent of U.S. households bought at least one new streaming device.
Tim Cook swears Apple TV isn’t just a hobby for the mothership anymore, but according to the latest estimates, it might be time for Apple unleashed some new non-hobby Apple TV features if it wants to catch up to Roku and Chromecast.
New data from Parks Associates reveals that while the Apple TV streaming box has been available for over seven years, Chromecast has already surged past Apple TV in 2013, making Google’s tiny stick the most popular streaming device in the U.S.
Since the release of the Apple TV back in 2007, it’s evolved into an essential gadget for all media streamers, and with that, Apple has invented some competition with the likes of Amazon Fire and the Roku. This week Cult of Mac puts the $99 Apple TV against the entry-level $49 Roku 1.
Apple TV may have scored sales of $1 billion in 2013, but that hasn’t stopped Roku CEO and founder Anthony Wood from branding the device a “a money loser” and questioning why Apple would want to keep selling it.
The comments were made at the inaugural Code/Media event on Thursday, hosted by technology site Re/code. They arrive at a time when Apple is reportedly preparing a new version of the Apple TV that will integrate with Comcast’s network to provide users with a streaming TV.
“That’s right, actual TVs, designed to give consumers a simple and powerful entertainment experience in today’s connected world,” Roku CEO Anthony Wood noted in his company’s announcement. “We’ve applied the same principles that have made Roku the most popular streaming players in America to TVs.”
Amazon is gearing up to launch a new set-top box that hopes to compete with the Apple TV and other video streaming devices this holiday, The Wall Street Journal reports. It’s understood the device is small and resembles a Roku, and it will run apps and provide content from a variety of sources, including Amazon’s own Prime service.
At an event in Japan today, Sony unveiled the new PS Vita TV, a tiny set-top box that will sell for around $95 and look to compete with devices like the Apple TV. Not only will it let you stream content from services like Hulu and Sony’s own Video Unlimited service, but if you connect a DualShock 3 controller, it will also allow you to play PSP and PS Vita games on your TV.
Apple TV manages to grab most of the spotlight for streaming set-top boxes, but when it comes time to actually view content, Americans are using Roku far more frequently than Apple’s little hobby.
A new study from Parks Associates found that while the Apple TV is used by 24% of U.S. consumers with a streaming video device, Roku has managed to best that with a 37% usage rate among households with such devices.
Although it was a great idea, this notion of a cheap Android game console, the Ouya left a lot to be desired at launch. The hardware had some obvious deficiencies, like controller dead spots, but more importantly, the game library at launch was practically non-existent.
Right now, it looks like the Ouya is a dud: a great idea that just didn’t have a chance because it couldn’t get a push. But you know who might be able to take that same idea and get developers to treat it more seriously? Amazon. And they’re working to do just that.
The Roku iOS app got another update today. In addition to the previous “Play on Roku” feature which let users stream music and static images to the set top media box, the company has now added the ability to stream video directly from the iOS app as well.
In a market that includes Apple TV and Google’s nascent Chromecast technology, Roku is making some positive steps to stay relevant.