Smart TV adoption outpacing streaming devices like Apple TV, Roku

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in General Discussion
Streaming devices and set-top boxes like Roku or the Apple TV are increasingly losing ground to internet-connected smart TVs with the shift amplified by the coronavirus pandemic, new data shows.

Credit: Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider
Credit: Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider


Smart TVs that connect to broadband, which have streaming apps built right in, can bypass the need for dedicated streaming hardware such as Apple's tvOS devices. And thanks for a steady reduction in price, many consumers seem to be opting for the all-in-one solution.

Earlier in 2020, the percentage of U.S. households with broadband that had a smart TV reached 54%, according to data cited by The Information. That's a 47% year-over-year increase and well above the 42% share held by all streaming devices and set-top boxes combined.

The gap between the markets is likely to keep growing, since the Consumer Technology Association that estimates that consumers will buy 35 million smart TVs in 2020, compared to 22 million streaming devices.

Although roughly half of smart TV owners also use a streaming device, but new generations of smart TVs are making it easier to skip set-top boxes or streaming sticks entirely.

Among streaming devices, Roku still commands the largest share of the market with 38%. Its followed closely by Fire TV, in second place with 32%, and Apple TV, which has 13%.

According to The Information, some entertainment companies are discussing ways to bypass set-top boxes by working directly with smart TV manufacturers.

But while the increasing popularity of smart TVs is likely to impact the sales of physical hardware like Roku streaming sticks and Apple TVs, Apple's services arm is positioned to take advantage of the growth.

The Apple TV app, which lets users watch Apple TV+ and other content, is available on a number of third-party smart TVs and streaming devices.

A rumored upcoming version of the Apple TV, which may debut later in 2020, could feature bumps to memory and performance. Apple also appears to be shifting its Apple TV strategy to incorporate gaming and home automation, too.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 45
    ITGUYINSDITGUYINSD Posts: 523member
    Don't TV manufacturers use the crappiest, cheapest "brains" in their lower-end TV's?  How do those TV's perform with regards to apps compared to something like the Apple TV box?  I have smart tv's everywhere (almost all are 3+ years old) and also have Apple TV or FireTV boxes on all of them.  Last time I tried using our smart tv, it sucked compared to the shiny finish of tvOS.
    Beatsrob53jahbladelolliverpscooter63redgeminipallamajony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 45
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    When 99% of TVs include "smart" features I'm not sure Apple can beat that. Apple dragging it's feet and treating Apple TV like their adopted child doesn't help.
    ITGUYINSDbsnjontokyojimuanantksundaramgilly33lkruppllamachemengin1
  • Reply 3 of 45
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    It sounds like both AppleTV and AppleTV+ are languishing.

    I think Apple could change that by bringing out an AppleTV and an associated service tied to AppleTV+ and maybe even AppleMusic  that incorporated high end gaming -- with lots of support for game developers.

    That would be a win-win-win (Apple customers, Apple and game developers)!

    (If you think about it, it would be appropriate because, in a way, Apple got its start at Atari when an 18 year old kid got himself hired -- which he paid back years later when he hired the guy who had hired him!)
    edited August 2020 robin huber
  • Reply 4 of 45
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,267member
    Every “smart” TV is android based so no thanks. My Sony has android built in and it’s a pain. Give me a monitor and let me decide what to connect to it. 
    Fidonet127jahbladeDogpersonn2macslolliverpscooter63GeorgeBMacsuperklotonredgeminipawilliamlondon
  • Reply 5 of 45
    tieboytieboy Posts: 5member
    rob53 said:
    Every “smart” TV is android based so no thanks. My Sony has android built in and it’s a pain. Give me a monitor and let me decide what to connect to it. 
    Not entirely true. Many...possibly even most smart TVs-yes. But, for example, LG makes some fantastic smart TVs and they're webOS based.

    aderutterlolliverGeorgeBMacsuperklotonllamachemengin1FileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 45
    aegeanaegean Posts: 164member
    Sorry, not interested in mostly Android based so called smart TV. Looking forward to the next gen of Apple TV. Hurry up, Apple, I can't wait any longer! No doubt Apple TV needs a lot of improvements. One of them is to fix their audio output . If they had to remove optical out, the should have fixed their wireless/bluetooth audio output first,  
    edited August 2020 BeatstokyojimuDogpersonredgeminipawilliamlondonlkruppwatto_cobrapmh
  • Reply 7 of 45
    This is really another Apple vs Android kind of thing. Market share is smart TVs, quality is Apple TV. Smart TVs are cheaper, bad UI, updates are questionable, often spy on you or are poor security, thus allowing others to spy on you. We love our Apple TV’s. 
    BeatsDogpersonlolliverGeorgeBMacsuperklotonjony0FileMakerFellerMacProwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 45
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    rob53 said:
    Every “smart” TV is android based so no thanks. My Sony has android built in and it’s a pain. Give me a monitor and let me decide what to connect to it. 

    Not even. A lot are WebOS, Roku, and a few other OSes.

    This is really another Apple vs Android kind of thing. Market share is smart TVs, quality is Apple TV. Smart TVs are cheaper, bad UI, updates are questionable, often spy on you or are poor security, thus allowing others to spy on you. We love our Apple TV’s. 

    I want Apple to go all the way and release an A14 Apple TV or even an Apple Silicon based one. If Apple wants to stay relevant and deepen us into their ecosystem they need to start doing something with Apple TV.

    Also maybe Apple can have contracts with certain TV manufacturers to run tvOS with A-chip hardware because everything else is garbage.
    tokyojimuDogpersonlolliversuperklotonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 45
    charlesncharlesn Posts: 940member
    Both my LG E7P and Apple TV 4K were introduced in 2017, so the same age of tech, but the Apple TV has always left LG's WebOS system, which is slow and clunky with a terrible UI, in the dust. And the performance/capabilities gap has only grown wider over time. 

    BUT... this is about the mass market, and as "good enough" smart TV comes to cheaper and cheaper sets, the mass market won't see a need to continue buying separate boxes, unless they can offer significant added value.  
    Dogpersonlolliverpscooter63GeorgeBMacllamawatto_cobrapmh
  • Reply 10 of 45
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,856member
    My SmartTV has a Roku inside it. Does everything my SO wants. 
  • Reply 11 of 45
    XedXed Posts: 2,703member
    DAalseth said:
    My SmartTV has a Roku inside it. Does everything my SO wants. 
    Hopefully you get the option for HBO MAX and Peacock TV some day. The days of Roku being a universal device for all content seems to be over. I hope other services won't be forced to pull away from Roku in the future.
    redgeminipawatto_cobrapmh
  • Reply 12 of 45
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    Xed said:
    DAalseth said:
    My SmartTV has a Roku inside it. Does everything my SO wants. 
    Hopefully you get the option for HBO MAX and Peacock TV some day. The days of Roku being a universal device for all content seems to be over. I hope other services won't be forced to pull away from Roku in the future.

    I do. So Apple's vision can come to fruition.
  • Reply 13 of 45
    Beats said:
    rob53 said:
    Every “smart” TV is android based so no thanks. My Sony has android built in and it’s a pain. Give me a monitor and let me decide what to connect to it. 

    Not even. A lot are WebOS, Roku, and a few other OSes.

    This is really another Apple vs Android kind of thing. Market share is smart TVs, quality is Apple TV. Smart TVs are cheaper, bad UI, updates are questionable, often spy on you or are poor security, thus allowing others to spy on you. We love our Apple TV’s. 

    I want Apple to go all the way and release an A14 Apple TV or even an Apple Silicon based one. If Apple wants to stay relevant and deepen us into their ecosystem they need to start doing something with Apple TV.

    Also maybe Apple can have contracts with certain TV manufacturers to run tvOS with A-chip hardware because everything else is garbage.
    AppleTV has been using Apple silicon for a long time. 
    XedaderutterBeatslolliverGeorgeBMacsuperklotonwilliamlondonllamawatto_cobrapmh
  • Reply 14 of 45
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    Beats said:
    rob53 said:
    Every “smart” TV is android based so no thanks. My Sony has android built in and it’s a pain. Give me a monitor and let me decide what to connect to it. 

    Not even. A lot are WebOS, Roku, and a few other OSes.

    This is really another Apple vs Android kind of thing. Market share is smart TVs, quality is Apple TV. Smart TVs are cheaper, bad UI, updates are questionable, often spy on you or are poor security, thus allowing others to spy on you. We love our Apple TV’s. 

    I want Apple to go all the way and release an A14 Apple TV or even an Apple Silicon based one. If Apple wants to stay relevant and deepen us into their ecosystem they need to start doing something with Apple TV.

    Also maybe Apple can have contracts with certain TV manufacturers to run tvOS with A-chip hardware because everything else is garbage.
    AppleTV has been using Apple silicon for a long time. 


    Thought "Apple Silicon" branding was for Mac SOCs? This family of chips will be faster than the A-series found in Apple TV.

    Unless you're being sarcastic, which is technically correct!
    edited August 2020
  • Reply 15 of 45
    My TV has Tiizen OS. The apps on it are kind of ok but not great most of the time, about as good as the UK iPad apps such as the ghastly 4OD and ITV apps. The BBC iPlayer app is marginally better but still frustrating. I have an old non4k ATV that sits unused. I think we’d use a 4k ATV if I bought one, but really don’t see any need except my intrigue for Apple Arcade that I haven’t scratched yet. That leads me to think Apple should up their ATV game, release a new one with an A14 chip and shipped with a decent Apple gaming controller, i.e. get serious about games on TV. It needs to land before the PS5 though in my opinion.
  • Reply 16 of 45
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    aderutter said:
    My TV has Tiizen OS. The apps on it are kind of ok but not great most of the time, about as good as the UK iPad apps such as the ghastly 4OD and ITV apps. The BBC iPlayer app is marginally better but still frustrating. I have an old non4k ATV that sits unused. I think we’d use a 4k ATV if I bought one, but really don’t see any need except my intrigue for Apple Arcade that I haven’t scratched yet. That leads me to think Apple should up their ATV game, release a new one with an A14 chip and shipped with a decent Apple gaming controller, i.e. get serious about games on TV. It needs to land before the PS5 though in my opinion.

    Their Apple TV game is garbage. They treat tvOS like an adopted child.

    I'd hope for A14 or even Mac Apple Silicon for gaming. But Apple is hung up on supporting the most devices possible for Arcade such as iPhone 6s so I can see this hurting graphics performance. I think Apple should allow developers to support A14 exclusively for larger titles. Otherwise it's mobile gaming on the big screen at best.
  • Reply 17 of 45
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,267member
    Beats said:
    Beats said:
    rob53 said:
    Every “smart” TV is android based so no thanks. My Sony has android built in and it’s a pain. Give me a monitor and let me decide what to connect to it. 

    Not even. A lot are WebOS, Roku, and a few other OSes.

    This is really another Apple vs Android kind of thing. Market share is smart TVs, quality is Apple TV. Smart TVs are cheaper, bad UI, updates are questionable, often spy on you or are poor security, thus allowing others to spy on you. We love our Apple TV’s. 

    I want Apple to go all the way and release an A14 Apple TV or even an Apple Silicon based one. If Apple wants to stay relevant and deepen us into their ecosystem they need to start doing something with Apple TV.

    Also maybe Apple can have contracts with certain TV manufacturers to run tvOS with A-chip hardware because everything else is garbage.
    AppleTV has been using Apple silicon for a long time. 


    Thought "Apple Silicon" branding was for Mac SOCs? This family of chips will be faster than the A-series found in Apple TV.

    Unless you're being sarcastic, which is technically correct!
    I don't remember Apple using the term "Apple Silicon" before this year's WWDC but their A-series SoC's have been Apple Silicon since the iPhone 4 (I believe this is right). Before that they used Intel chips. The developer kit is an A12Z from an iPad Pro. I can see Apple continuing to use the same SoC designs they've used in iOS devices in Macs. There will be differences in what they include in each device but at the heart of every Apple device will be a CPU or SoC using Apple Silicon.
    Fidonet127superklotonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 45
    davendaven Posts: 707member
    I have a smart TV that is six years old. The apps on it are no longer supported by the manufacturer but that doesn’t matter to me as I’m an Apple fanboy and gladly use an Apple TV to keep the experience modern. That is the benefit of Apple. They support their hardware for a long time. 
    lolliverwatto_cobrapmh
  • Reply 19 of 45
    A lot of misinformation here.

    Samsung smart TV = Tizen.
    LG smart TV = lgOS.
    Sony smart TV = Android.

    As for the rest, it varies. Some older smart TVs basically run a browser on top of Linux, which is what the "smart" DVD/Blu-Ray players did and what the Nintendo Wii/Wii U consoles did too. Newer smart TVs are Roku (#1 by far) with the rest split between Android TV and Fire TV. Android TV may have a slight advantage because they have more manufacturers thanks to Google's rules that if you manufacture an AOSP device you can't manufacture a Google Android device. Lots of the companies that make smart TVs also make Android phones or tablets - TCL, Xiaomi, Motorola, OnePlus, Nokia, Foxconn and Sharp being huge examples but also Haier, Philips and Hisense in some overseas markets - or want to reserve the option to be able to in the future. That limits the Fire TV manufacturers to Insignia and Toshiba (who both gave up on Android tablets years ago).

    As for the cheap low end hardware ... that is also a bit outdated. Thanks to Amazon Fire products, the standard smart TV uses the same turnkey stack: an ARM SOC by either Amlogic, Allwinner or MediaTEK that includes the CPU, 2GB of RAM, 8 GB of storage and a gigabit NIC on the same board. The attempts by Amazon and Google to turn their smart TV boxes into mini-gaming consoles flopped - Google is giving it another go with Stadia - but they don't need much horsepower to begin with. Smart TV apps are increasingly migrating to PWAs - which is all they were on the original smart TVs anyway - so the only "performance" required will be the networking stuff. What is very cheap for a tablet or phone is different for a smart TV. In addition to not having to rely on a battery which makes the power design way different, in a smartphone or tablet the mobile SOC actually drives the display. Meanwhile with a smart TV, the SOC is just another input to the TV display. It takes the same, say, Amazon Fire Stick or Roku hardware, puts it inside the TV and assigns it to, say "HDMI 0". So the smart TV CPU isn't actually driving a 70 inch 8K TV the way that a Qualcomm CPU inside a Samsung Galaxy is actually driving the 4K display. Instead, the TV's hardware is. Take the ARM SOC out of the smart TV and you will still have a 1080P/4K/8K TV, which isn't the case with a smartphone or tablet.

    The curious thing with smart TVs is when down the line they become hosts for web services like Stadia and PWAs. Especially since the difference in cost between smart TVs and regular TVs keeps diminishing. Right now 40' 1080p smart TVs start at $200 at most retailers, while their traditional counterparts start at $180. And that is the normal price, which means that they will frequently be on sale for LESS than their non-smart counterparts. And app developers have every incentive to do PWAs. Right now mobile is easy: you only have to support iOS, Android and maybe KaiOS (what became of Firefox OS and has gotten quite a bit of traction in developing countries on phones that cost $35-$60 ... and incidentally its apps are all PWAs). But streaming? There are at least 8 major platforms all with tens of millions of devices: Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, Tizen, lgOS, Android TV, XBox, PlayStation. (Nintento has no plans to continue offering streaming channels on their consoles.) Doing a "write once run anywhere" PWA is going to become much preferable, especially when it comes to updates.
    mark fearingwilliamlondonllamachemengin1MacPro
  • Reply 20 of 45
    Beats said:

    Thought "Apple Silicon" branding was for Mac SOCs? This family of chips will be faster than the A-series found in Apple TV.

    Unless you're being sarcastic, which is technically correct!
    Ummm ... no. Apple Silicon is ... Apple Silicon. It is inclusive of every chip that Apple designed. (Aren't there several "Intel-based Macs already run Apple Silicon" articles on this site referring to theT1 and T2 chips?) 

    Apple Silicon is merely a BRAND and it is the brand name that is new. But the brand includes everything from the special purpose security and TouchBar/TouchID controller type chips in Macs to the S series chips in the Apple Watch to the A series chips in Apple TVs, iPads, iPhones and soon Macs. The branding is brilliant too because it tells people that every CPU in every Apple device is designed by Apple exclusively to be integrated with the hardware and operating systems in Apple products. 

    Come on, this is your brand so you should know this stuff already. I can get you being wrong about Android, Linux and Windows - which you pretty much always are - but at least get your own brand right.
    muthuk_vanalingamsuperklotonwilliamlondonllamaMacPropmh
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