Set-top Boxes Break Through: Apple TV and Roku Reach the 1M Mark

Online video is going way beyond the desktop, conquering mobile devices and living room set-top boxes. If your content isn’t available for TV streaming, you may want to rethink your distribution.

The Apple TV revamp appears to be a consumer success, if not quite a category-defining, breakaway hit like the iPad. Apple announced that later this week it expects sales top one million units.

Apple introduced the retooled Apple TV in September of this year. This model sells for a modest $99, making it more of an impulse purchase. It’s not much larger than a hockey puck, lacks a hard drive, and can stream movies, TV shows, audio, and podcasts from the iTunes Store. It also works with Netflix accounts.

Apple recently upgraded its iOS operating system to version 4.2, giving users the ability to wirelessly stream content stored on an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch to an Apple TV. Each device can also work as a remote for an Apple TV.

Surprisingly, Apple’s marketing has brought a windfall to competitor Roku. Roku’s CEO Anthony Wood told Business Insider than Apple’s efforts in marketing the Apple TV brought a lot of attention to the category, which turned into big sales gains for Roku. Woods said that sales doubled after the Apple TV was introduced, and that Roku will sell its one millionth set-top box by the end of the year.


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