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Apple TV: A 'Hobby' No More?

Jeff Baumgartner
12/21/2010

10:35 AM -- The holidays have apparently been kind to Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and its new, sleeker video streaming box.

Steve Jobs's infamous proclamation that Apple TV was merely a "hobby" may be history after the company announced today that it expects sales of its new video-streaming box to top 1 million units this week.

Apple released its new $99 wonder less than four months ago, offering a revision that focuses on streaming and rentals (versus downloads and direct purchases) while also offering access to content from the likes of Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) and YouTube Inc. . (See Will Smaller Apple TV Spell Big Trouble for VoD? and iSuppli’s AppleTV Teardown: $61.98 in Materials .)

So, is the new Apple TV akin to a freight train that's going to run over the cable industry? Probably not, at least not right now. However, it's sizing up as a nice complement that will steal away some video-on-demand revenues from MSOs, and could put the hurt on cable further if Apple decides to become a "virtual MSO" and stream linear TV. In the meantime, it's certainly giving over-the-top box newcomers like Boxee and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) a relatively high bar to shoot for. (See Roku, Boxee Don't Fear Apple TV's Bite .)

Still All Things D's Peter Kafka keeps things in perspective, noting that Apple sold 9 million iPods in the third quarter of 2010, and it took Apple a mere 28 days for the iPad to breach the 1 million sales mark.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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