Apple TV’s Estimated Market Share Declines as Customers Await Highly-Anticipated 4K Model

Apple TV was the fourth most popular streaming media player in the United States in the first quarter, behind the Roku, Amazon's Fire TV, and Google's Chromecast, according to market research firm Parks Associates.


Parks Associates estimates Apple TV's market share fell to 15 percent in January through March this year among U.S. households with broadband. MacRumors confirmed the survey size was 10,306 households.

By comparison, Roku increased its lead in the category to an estimated 37 percent market share in the first quarter, trailed by the Fire TV and Chromecast at an estimated 24 percent and 18 percent respectively.

At $149, the Apple TV is also more expensive than any of its major competitors. Roku starts at $40, Chromecast starts at $35, and Fire TV starts at $90, with even cheaper prices often available from resellers.

"Higher-priced devices, such as the Apple TV, have not been able to keep up with low-priced and readily available Roku devices, which can be found at Walmart for as low as $29.99," said Glenn Hower, Senior Analyst at Parks Associates.

In January, following Apple's first quarter earnings results, financial chief Luca Maestri said Apple TV sales had declined on a year-over-year basis. Exact sales are unknown, as Apple groups the device under its "Other Products" category.

4K on Horizon


The current Apple TV launched in October 2015, ushering in significant changes such as a brand new tvOS operating system, App Store, and a Siri Remote. But, nearly two years have passed, and customers are anxiously awaiting what's next.

One of the most desired features is 4K support, and rumors suggest Apple TV fans may soon have that wish granted.

In February, Bloomberg reported that Apple was testing a new Apple TV with 4K and more vivid colors that could be released as early as later this year. The report said the fifth-generation model is codenamed J105.


The codename, and references to 4K and HDR, have since been found in both the accidentally released HomePod firmware and the seventh tvOS 11 beta. 4K HDR references have also appeared in iTunes.

Additionally, in March, developer Firi Games provided MacRumors with evidence of a device identified as "AppleTV6,2" and running "tvOS 11.0" connecting to its arcade game Phoenix HD for Apple TV in its logs. The IP address fell within a range linked to Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California.

The current Apple TV has a model identifier of AppleTV5,3, and Apple TV6,2 does not correspond with any released model.

It's conceivable that Apple could launch 4K content in iTunes alongside a new Apple TV with support for up to 4K video output and HDR, or high dynamic range, which allows for sharper colors and lighting. The current, fourth-generation Apple TV has a maximum 1080p video output, and no support for HDR.

The high-end iMac models with 4K and 5K Retina displays are currently Apple's only devices that can display 4K content properly. The latest Apple TV lacks the hardware required for 4K and HDR video output.

Apple is widely expected to unveil new iPhones at a September event, which it could also use to unveil a new Apple TV.

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Tag: Parks Associates
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VUDU App Officially Launches on Apple TV

Streaming movie and TV service VUDU has officially launched as an app on the fourth-generation Apple TV, allowing users to stream their collection of UltraViolet movies, as well as over 4,000 free "Movies on Us" titles, natively on Apple TV.

As expected, the VUDU Player app on Apple TV is limited in one respect -- users can't rent or buy any movie or TV show directly from Apple TV, so they'll first have to add content to their collection elsewhere before navigating to Apple TV in order to view it.

The Vudu Player for Apple TV lets you play over 4,000 free Movies On Us titles, as well as your existing Vudu collection, natively on 4th generation Apple TVs with tvOS 10. And the Vudu Player is the first (and only – just want to reiterate that) player that gives you access to your UltraViolet digital locker on Apple TV (#humblebrag).
Additional features include Siri voice search to find content within your VUDU collection, and a wishlist where users can add any title to save for later, and view on any platform that VUDU is available on. Users on Reddit noted that there is no integration with Apple's TV app.

The official launch of the VUDU Player app for Apple TV comes after rumblings about the app began in March, and then last week a report by Variety confirmed its release date of August 22.

For anyone without a VUDU account, the company encourages new users to head to its signup page to create a free account before launching the Apple TV app, since Apple's App Store guidelines prevent it from adding a sign up option within the app. On the web, users can browse, rent, and buy over 100,000 titles, link an existing UltraViolet and Disney Movies Anywhere account, and then sync everything with their Apple TV app to view their collection on Apple's fourth-generation set-top box.

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Tag: VUDU
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New tvOS 11 Beta References ‘J105a,’ Code Name for Upcoming Apple TV with 4K Support

Apple today released the seventh beta of an upcoming tvOS 11 update for the fourth-generation Apple TV, and within the beta, there appear to be assets for "J105a," previously revealed as the code name for an upcoming 4K Apple TV.

Developer Guilherme Rambo, who has made a name for himself delving into the HomePod firmware, shared a screenshot depicting HDR image assets with a file name that includes "J105a."


The "J105a" name was first shared by Bloomberg in February, in a report that suggested Apple was working on a fifth-generation Apple TV capable of streaming Ultra HD 4K video.

That report said Apple could release a new fifth-generation 4K Apple TV as early as this year, and since then, we've seen continued references to the new model, suggesting a release could actually happen in the near future.

Along with the "J105a" assets found in today's tvOS 11 beta, references to the code name were also discovered in the HomePod firmware. That information suggested the device could support Dolby Vision and HDR10 color formats.

In March, evidence of an Apple TV identified as AppleTV 6,2 was found in developer logs with a Cupertino IP, and AppleTV 6,2 does not correspond to an existing Apple TV model. The current fourth-generation Apple TV is known as AppleTV 5,2.

Apple has also started listing select movies as 4K and HDR in iTunes purchase history, leading to speculation that a new Apple TV is imminent.

Aside from Bloomberg's report earlier this year, there has been no concrete confirmation that Apple plans to introduce a new Apple TV soon, but the continued mentions of J105a both in the HomePod firmware and in the tvOS 11 beta suggest we could perhaps see a new Apple TV announced this fall alongside new iPhone models.

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Apple Seeds Seventh Beta of Upcoming tvOS 11 Update to Developers

Apple today seeded the seventh beta of an upcoming tvOS 11 update designed for the fourth-generation TV, one week after seeding the sixth beta and over two months after releasing the first beta during the 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference.

Registered developers can download the tvOS 11 update by connecting the Apple TV to a computer with a USB-C cable and installing the beta software using iTunes.


tvOS 11 didn't receive a lot of attention at the Worldwide Developers Conference because it's a modest update, but according to Apple's release notes, it does introduce a few new features to the operating system.

tvOS 11 brings automatic switching between light/dark mode based on local time, Home screen syncing options that keep multiple Apple TVs in a household in sync, new background modes and notification support, Focus API improvements, custom sound support, network-based pairing and development support, improvements to Mobile Device Management, and more.

The seventh beta of tvOS 11 most likely focuses primarily on bug fixes and other small refinements, as the first six betas did. Apple's new tvOS 11 update is available for both registered developers and public beta testers. It will see a public release later this year.

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Blurry Leaked Images Depict Alleged ‘Apple OLED TV’ in Testing Facility

Blurred images emerged online on Wednesday morning purporting to show what looks like an Apple-made standalone display in a specially prepared testing environment. The images were posted on Chinese microblogging site Weibo and later picked up by mobile leaker Benjamin Geskin and shared on Twitter.


A Google translation reveals that the original Weibo post refers to the pictures as "Apple OLED TV spy photos", and claims that the display is "about 60 inches" with a narrow frame design and a metal shell.


The first two photos show a closed-circuit TV screen outputting front and rear camera angles of the alleged Apple television mounted on a test bed in the center of an acoustically insulated room, with connecting cables running down a table into the floor. While the original Weibo post notes that two black spots at the bottom of the screen depict a camera, these aren't visible in the photos.


A third image appears to be taken from the door shown in the previous two images, while a fourth photo, below, shows what looks like the same display from a different angle, connected by orange cables to large unidentified testing equipment.


It's virtually impossible to say anything definitive about the contents of the photos, and Apple is known to regularly test devices most of which never see the light of day as consumer products.

As for as Apple-branded television rumors go, these had been circulating for years before a Wall Street Journal report from two years ago essentially confirmed that Apple had shelved its TV set plans back in 2014. The company reportedly spent more than a decade researching the possibility of releasing an ultra high-definition television set before deciding to cancel the project because it couldn't find untapped features that would give it an edge in the television market.

Apple is rumored to be working on a fifth-generation Apple TV box that's able to stream ultra high-definition 4K video and it may well launch this year, so whether or not this could see Cupertino revive its plans for an accompanying or integrated television set remains to be seen.

Discounting the "60 inches" reference in the Weibo post, that leaves the possibility of an Apple-branded external computer monitor. Apple discontinued its nearly five-year-old Thunderbolt Display in 2016, but the company is said to be working on a "pro" display to accompany a future Mac Pro machine due next year. 4K and 5K LG Displays are already available from Apple, but these don't fit with Apple's usual aesthetic and have been prone to issues.

Whatever the origin of these photos, it's best to take them with a grain of salt, for now at least.

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Walmart Streaming Movie Service VUDU Coming to Apple TV on August 22

Walmart's streaming movie service VUDU will be available on Apple TV starting on Tuesday, August 22, following the official launch of the new VUDU app, reports Variety.

With the launch of a dedicated Apple TV app, VUDU users will no longer need to AirPlay content from an iOS device in order to watch VUDU content on the Apple TV.


VUDU first confirmed work on an app for the fourth-generation Apple TV in March, so the app has been in development for some time. Prior to the announcement of an Apple TV app, a VUDU engineer said the company had not been able to develop an app because of Apple's policies preventing third party services from selling movies within their apps.

The current VUDU iOS app adapts to those restrictions by allowing users to download movies and TV shows that have been previously purchased on the VUDU website, and the Apple TV app presumably works in the same way.

VUDU allows customers to rent and purchase a wide range of movies and television shows, including new releases, and it offers services like a disc to digital conversion, digital copies of Blu-rays and DVDs purchased within stores, and free ad-supported movies. VUDU is already available on a range of other platforms, like Roku, Chromecast, consoles, and more.

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Tag: VUDU
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Apple Seeds Sixth Beta of Upcoming tvOS 11 Update to Developers

Apple today seeded the sixth beta of an upcoming tvOS 11 update designed for the fourth-generation TV, one week after seeding the fifth beta and more than two months after releasing the first beta during the 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference.

Registered developers can download tvOS 11 by connecting the Apple TV to a computer with a USB-C cable and installing the beta software using iTunes.


tvOS 11 didn't receive much attention at the Worldwide Developers Conference because of time constraints, but according to Apple's release notes, it introduces a few new features to the operating system.

tvOS 11 brings automatic switching between light/dark mode based on local time, Home screen syncing options that keep multiple Apple TVs in a household in sync, new background modes and notification support, Focus API improvements, custom sound support, network-based pairing and development support, improvements to Mobile Device Management, and more.

The sixth beta of tvOS 11 most likely focuses primarily on bug fixes and other small refinements, as the first five betas did. Apple's new tvOS 11 update is available for both registered developers and public beta testers. It will see a public release later this year.

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Apple Seeds Fourth Public Beta of tvOS 11 to Public Beta Testers

Apple today seeded the fourth beta of an upcoming tvOS 11 update to its public beta testing group, two weeks after providing testers with the third beta. The tvOS 11 public beta marks the first time public beta testers have had access to pre-release tvOS software, and this fourth beta corresponds to the fifth developer beta released earlier this week.

The tvOS 11 public beta can be obtained by going to the Settings app on the Apple TV and navigating to the Software Updates section under "System." "Get Public Beta Updates" will need to be toggled on, and once it is, the Apple TV will download the beta software.


Compared to iOS 11, macOS High Sierra, and watchOS 4, tvOS 11 is a minor update that brings few changes to the tvOS operating system. It's minor enough that it received no time on stage at the Worldwide Developers Conference aside from a mention of an Amazon Prime Video app coming to the Apple TV this fall.

According to Apple's release notes, tvOS 11 introduces automatic light/dark appearance switching based on local time, Home screen syncing options for syncing content between two or more Apple TVs in a household, new background modes and notification support, plus new tools for developers and improvements to Mobile Device Management.

Additional tvOS 11 features may be unveiled ahead of the operating system's public release, which is expected to be in the fall alongside other software updates.

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Apple TV tvOS Simulator Shown Running in 4K Resolution

Developer Steve Troughton-Smith today shared the spoils of his latest hacking efforts by tweeting screenshots of Apple's tvOS Simulator running in 4K – the screen resolution said to be supported in a rumored fifth-generation Apple TV.

tvOS is officially made to run in the standard 1920x1080 HD resolution, but what Troughton-Smith's hack shows is that the Apple TV operating system is perfectly suited to running at double the pixel density (3840x2160), commonly referred to as 4K resolution, thanks to user interface assets like text and icons that are made to scale cleanly given the same aspect ratio.


The simple scale doubling is reminiscent of the 2x iOS asset resolution requirement that Apple introduced back in 2010 with the arrival of Retina displays, and comes at a time when Apple is rumored to be readying a new, fifth-generation Apple TV capable of streaming 4K video.

Just last weekend iOS developer Guilherme Rambo discovered a reference to a 4K HDR display mode in the HomePod's firmware, which has proved a trove of hints related to Apple's upcoming hardware releases. MacRumors subsequently discovered the string J105a in the HomePod firmware, consistent with the fifth-generation Apple TV's internal codename first revealed by Bloomberg in February. Additional strings unearthed in the code also suggest a forthcoming Apple TV could support both the Dolby Vision and HDR10 color formats for high-dynamic range video.

tvOS Simulator scaled to 2x resolution for 3840x2160

Adding further fuel to rumors of an imminent 4K-capable Apple TV, Apple recently listed selected movies as 4K and HDR in iTunes purchase history. While the content is still only playable in standard definition or HD, the change suggests Apple is preparing to offer the higher definition formats for a new TV box.

The launch date is unclear for a possible new Apple TV, which has been rumored since December 2015, but given the recent uptick in references to 4K resolution by Apple, it's not unreasonable to suggest the company could be readying a release for the new TV box before the end of the year.

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Tag: 4K
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Apple Provides Fifth Beta of Upcoming tvOS 11 Update to Developers

Apple today seeded the fifth beta of an upcoming tvOS 11 update designed for the fourth-generation TV, two weeks after seeding the fourth beta and two months after releasing the first beta during the 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference.

Registered developers can download tvOS 11 by connecting the Apple TV to a computer with a USB-C cable and installing the beta software using iTunes.


tvOS 11 didn't receive a lot of attention at the Worldwide Developers Conference due to time constraints, but according to Apple's release notes, it introduces a few new features to the operating system.

tvOS 11 offers automatic switching between light/dark mode based on local time, Home screen syncing options that keep multiple Apple TVs in a household in sync, new background modes and notification support, Focus API improvements, custom sound support, network-based pairing and development support, improvements to Mobile Device Management, and more.

The fifth beta of tvOS 11 most likely focuses primarily on bug fixes and other small refinements, as the first four betas did. Apple's new tvOS 11 update is available for both registered developers and public beta testers. It will see a public release later this year.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)

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