Apple TV top OTT device in a market expected to double in 2012

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) TV was a bomb. Roku, Boxee and any number of other connected TV player devices have met with moderate success. But, a new report out this week from Strategy Analytics said Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s over-the-top streaming device, Apple TV, which the computer maker itself generally has dismissed as only a "hobby," is the most dominant device in the market.

apple tv

Strategy Analytics said the Apple TV is the dominant device in the market.

And, the report said, it's likely to maintain its lead as the segment develops.

Currently, 8 percent of U.S. households own a connected TV player, about 12 million devices in all. Strategy Analytics, in its report, Connected TV Players: Another Battlefield in the Smart TV War, said that Apple will own about 32 percent of the market in 2011.

With the likelihood of Apple coming to market in 2012 with a connected HDTV of its own, the report's author, analyst Jia Wu, is warning that competitors in the space had better get their game on before the company runs away with the segment entirely.

The market is relatively small, but Wu said he expects it to double in 2012.

Although the devices have yet to become mainstream, Wu said an increasing number of consumers are buying them. As manufacturers like Roku continue to drop the price of their devices and other companies introduce second-generation devices at lower cost, they've become more affordable and compelling to consumers.

That, Wu said, will be good news for content providers, because Apple TV users spend more money on movies and TV shows, renting movies and TV shows more often than users of other devices.

"Apple is leading this nascent market, which it still considers a ‘hobby,'" said Wu.

And, he warns, he doesn't expect Apple's lead, once it launches a connected TV as expected in 2012, to do anything but grow.

"Rival platforms must accelerate their development plans to keep Apple from running away with the connected TV business, as it has done in smartphones and digital music," he said.

For more:
- see this release
- read FierceIPTV's take

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Does a 55-inch Apple TV make a Hulu deal more likely? Fox's new paywall makes Hulu even more attractive
Rumor mill: Apple to team with Sharp for connected TV
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