Apple TV sales continued their sad decline over the holidays


Apple TV hasn't been the winner that Apple was hoping for.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Remember when we all got excited about Apple TV and how it had the potential to change TV as we know it?

It seems that fewer and fewer people do. New data from eMarketer suggest Apple is currently “at the bottom of the U.S. connected TV market, behind Google Chromecast and Roku, with its share shrinking.”

As per eMarketer’s data, Apple is currently used by only 11.9 percent of connected TV consumers. That’s down from the 12.5 percent of users who were using Apple TV in September, the 12.6 percent who were using it in 2015, and the 13.5 percent in 2014.

On the other end of the spectrum, Google’s Chromecast rose from 18.4 percent in September to 19.9 percent over the holiday season. Both of these were up from the 16.2 percent Chromecast represented in 2015. Roku, meanwhile, made a big leap from 15.2 percent in September to 18.2 percent this quarter, according to the data analytics firm.

Given that Apple TV is considerably more expensive than both Roku and Chromecast, it’s quite possibly making more money than both, although there has been a decided lack of excitement around Apple TV.

It hasn’t become the game platform many of us were optimistic about, and most notably Apple has failed to deliver the subscription TV package that was rumored while Apple TV was in development.

Most tellingly, while Apple is reportedly planning to debut some Netflix-style original TV programming this year, those shows are apparently being made available as Apple Music add-ons, rather than as something designed to sell the Apple TV.

Recently, Apple has taken steps like increasing the size of tvOS apps from 200MB to 4GB. According to Apple, this decision allows developers to “provide a complete, rich user experience upon installation.”

Will small additions like this do enough, though? Right now it seems that something isn’t clicking about Apple’s TV strategy. What improvements would you like to see the company make? Leave your comments below.

Source: VentureBeat

  • dandy1117

    I am going to assume that most readers on this site probably know this, but just for clarification, I think it best to restate. Market share numbers don’t necessarily mean a decline in sales or interest. In fact, if the entire connected TV streaming box market has grown significantly, then Apple’s declining market share may still represent significant sales growth.

    Can this post be updated with actual estimated sales figure for better context?

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  • Hal Grimley

    I’ve tried most of the available streaming hardware and I think Apple TV has the best app implementation and the most stable hardware. What it does not have is 4K HDR capabilities nor an Amazon Video app. Apple can fix the first problem and Amazon could fix the second.

  • Ian Weir

    I use Apple TV for one reason only. To run movies to the bigger screen. I didn’t buy it to view Netflix or any other subscription based app or channel, so why would anyone waste money on the newer version

    • DrMuggg

      I think the ATV IV is the best since presliced bread :-) Use it everyday. And a bunch of apps.
      As a iphone/ipad-screen, netflix, HBO, Youtube, Flickr….

  • Daniel

    We recently got the latest AppleTV and enjoy it. Gave up cable and have Netflix and SlingTV App. It works great. Should have done this sooner!

  • Jack

    The problem is this: the apps bundled on my Smart TV are just much easier to access. I simply press the ‘smart’ button on my remote which brings up Netflix, HBO GO, Amazon, etc…

    Apple TV i have to switch to that source input, get my Apple TV remote, etc..

    • DrMuggg

      Yes, and When youtube update their API you are (often) toasted…
      Update for your TV? But that tv is over 18months old..sorry sir…..

      • Mike

        So pay $120 for an Apple TV that’ll do the same thing as a $35 Roku or Fire stick? Personally I think the Roku interface is smoother and offers many more channels.

      • DrMuggg

        I payed for a gaffel that works right out of the box with the rest of my stuff. I never stop wondering about all you people who always says that a 35 dollars gadget must be better than a 120 dollars because its cheaper…
        I got all the channels I never have time to watch :-) on my ATV4

      • Mike

        I’ve never said it’s better, I personally think it’s the same but it’s value difference makes the choice for me. It’s not like the Roku has a 10 page set up menu, you make an account and add the channels you want (netflix, hulu, HBO Go, etc) and that’s it.

      • DrMuggg

        Don’t think the Roku even sels in sweden. But thanks for the tip.

    • Karl Childers

      Whenever I press any button on my Apple TV remote it automatically switches inputs when the deice wakes up. How often does your Smart TV update its OS and how often are new apps added? Can you install Playstation Vue, Directv Now, or Sling?

  • Tommy Peters

    This little gem never stood tall at home but stands alone in the boardroom. On that score set aside the Mac, but ask a Windows user how Air Parrot enables his wireless presentation over cable

  • Rd 89

    I love my apple TV, got it since January 2016 and i have never regretted the money that i paid for it, got Plex and Netflix on it and have been using it as my entertainment hub, it mostly does everything i want out of a streaming/entertainment box, and it has some really cool screensavers, you wont know that until you plug one into your TV, hopefully apple releases a 4K version and push content makers into making more 4K content.

  • Mars Jackson

    The big problem is that there is nothing to differentiate the Apple TV from other boxes. I was a Roku user before buying an Apple TV last year, and the Roku was fine for what I used it for. The only real difference I see is that the Apple TV is snappier and the picture quality seems somewhat better. But that was expected given the difference between my (older) Roku hardware and Apple’s.

    Like others have said, it needs 4K. It have also been nice if they had made a bigger games push, getting some major developers to sign on and make games. Speaking of games, they should have also bundled a controller with it so that people would be more willing to buy and play a game or 2. (I’m not a gamer and do not own a console, but I do like to play the occasional video game) Make it easy to hook up a hard drive to it, also. I don’t really need a media server, but it would be nice to be able to play movies I have on a drive easily over the Apple TV. Yes, that is very un-Apple like, but it would be a nice feature.

  • Captain Nick

    The main reason I bought Apple TV was for boardroom-like wireless viewing of my Mac…and also /PC/iPad/iPhone on the large screen TV. This alone gives Apple TV more value. I watch Netflix and occasionally some of other the channels. I can also use mobile devices (Apple Watch and iPhone) as the remote control and/or mouse. If you just want to watch streaming movies/channels on your TV, you should go with Google Chrome or the Roku device since they have more wider channel selections and lineups.

  • WilloSF

    I know that I am not alone in loving the old AppleTVs and hating the new ones. Deal killers: No audio out, no Flickr screensaver, no search of connected libraries, and the remote app is terrible. And still no 4k?

  • DeathWarmedOver

    Gaming on an Apple product? LOL.

  • MrLightRail

    Screw the hype. Apple TV is the worst damn streaming device out there. Roku beats it hands down. DirecTV Now should have skipped Apple TV, and supported Roku from the start.