Apple TV can’t match Amazon and Roku in popularity

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Apple's new Apple TV 4K with redesigned Siri Remote
It's ahead of Chromecast, though.
Photo: Apple

Apple TV (the hardware, not the streaming service) makes up around 12.5% of set-top boxes in a very fragmented marketplace, according to analysis from Parks Associates.

That lags behind Roku and Amazon’s Fire TV Box, which currently stand neck-and-neck. Nonetheless, Apple TV ranks a few percentage points ahead of Google’s Chromecast. Back in 2017, Chromecast came in ahead of Apple TV. And, as recently as 2018 and 2019, the two remained competitive.

Above Avalon analyst Neil Cybart shared the figures on Twitter on Wednesday. Cybart commented on the fragmentation in the set-top media box market, saying “it’s the Wild West out there folks.” That refers to the fact that there is no clear winner at present.

Compare that to smartwatches, where Apple Watch maintains a 20% lead over the next-closest rival. While there’s no current set-top box leader, however, Amazon’s upward trajectory suggests it will dominate.

Apple updated the Apple TV hardware in April. The sixth-gen set-top box runs on Apple’s A12 Bionic chip. And, thankfully, it comes with a redesigned Siri Remote, replacing the much-hated original.

The company debuted Apple TV in January 2007, famously describing it as a “hobby.” By contrast, Roku has been making media devices since 2008, Amazon since 2014 and Google since 2013. That makes Apple TV the most established name out of the leading players in this market. But that early lead did not translate to a dominant position. On the plus side, Apple TV adoption remained pretty consistent over time as the overall market grew dramatically. And there’s definitely something to be said for consistency.

Which, if any, set-top box do you have? Which do you think offers the best user experience? Let us know in the comments below.