Apple's 'hobby' could own 1/3 of streaming set-top market in 2011

By the end of this year, the streaming set-top box market will reach about 12 million units worldwide, according to a survey published Monday. And the company known mainly for phones, tablets and computers is set to own a third of that, according to Strategy Analytics. It says Apple's small $99 streaming Apple TV is on pace to hit 4 million units by the end of this year. For perspective, four million devices is what the iPhone 4S sold in a weekend. But Apple's somehow managed to reach this number in Apple TV without really trying. And by "trying" I mean doing things like running TV and billboard advertisements or making it the centerpiece of press events. Apple has for years since its introduction excused Apple TV as merely "a hobby." And while it's played with the concept and design and the price, doesn't talk much about it or how many it's sold. Breaking with tradition, Steve Jobs did say in October 2010 that after a month on sale, the new $99 Apple TV had sold 250,00 units.

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