5 min read

How Apple is Quietly Winning the Fight for the Global Digital Living Room

Written by
Pavlo Fedykovych
Published on
May 2, 2023
May 29, 2024

In 2010 a low-key tech war was raging. The conquest was for the digital living room and the streaming was yet to become a global phenomenon. Flash forward to 2023, the battle is still ongoing but we have some victors too.

Apple has come a long way with its Apple TV device. September 2006 was the date of an announcement of a certain streaming box that allowed the Cupertino company to enter the internet-enabled TV game. It wasn’t particularly successful at the time. The reviews were so savage that at some point Forbes called a new device the “iFlop” and destroyed it in a review. The fact that Steve Jobs himself referred to the development of Apple TV as a “hobby” didn’t help either. 

But in 2023 the first generation of the device seems like a smart calculation. Jobs might have sensed the streaming revolution that was coming but Apple has simply been early to the party. The box wasn’t capable of providing anything qualitatively new not only because of the shortcomings of its design (and there were plenty). There was also a lack of streaming “meat” to serve. Back then the digital media box was just a cooler, more tech-heavy extension of traditional cable TV accessories. But Apple has seen the streaming potential early and banked on that a few years later. 

By comparison, the direct streaming box competitor of Apple TV the Roku device hasn’t entered the market until 2008. Today’s hits like Android TV and Amazon Fire Stick only came in 2014. So whatever flaws the first generation of Apple TV had, it felt like a step toward something much bigger.

The second generation of Apple TV did all the homework and introduced users to a whole new approach to streaming content. Also, what it did was laying the basis for the defining feature of all the subsequent digital media devices, the ecosystem was born. The iOS became the OS of a 2010 device and it bridged iTunes Store, personal computers, and iOS devices into one content management ecosystem with Apple TV serving as a controller of a tightly integrated system. 

That wasn’t as revolutionary as the iPod, iPhone, or iTunes, but for the so-called “global digital living room” concept it was everything. The introduction of an integrated digital TV experience where you can play your favorite music from iTunes, watch movies, and connect to the phone, was a great advancement. But most importantly, in 2010 Apple proved that their Apple TV device is no longer a “hobby”, it’s a flagman that drives the market forward. 

Since then Apple has released the third-generation Apple TV (that frankly didn’t add much to the table), and a game-changing HD device that came with tvOS and 1080p. The 4K edition that came in 2017 has laid the foundation of the current state of things in the streaming realm. Throughout the years, Apple was smart to adapt its device according to what’s coming next in digital media. That is essentially one of the reasons why it could successfully compete with Android TV, Amazon Fire Stick, and Roku when it came to acquiring users.

Digital Living Room with Digital Signage

What’s more impressive, though, is that Apple TV has expanded the borders of what digital media players can do. Integration with solutions like Jamf brought another great advantage, this time for businesses. Digital signage, a tool that has long been reserved for burdensome on-site networks, can be easily enabled by Apple TV using the software that can be found on App Store.

Whether you like it or not, Apple TV is still very much a leader of the streaming era. While Android TV and Roku may have a bigger number of users, the Cupertino company has the best ecosystem. It is more exclusive, more tight-knitted, and more nuanced in its design. The latest versions of Apple TV prove that the company puts a lot of effort into the product starting from the ever-improving look and the top-notch tech specifications. 

There’s a kind of marketing magic involved too. Simply put, when a person is an Apple fan, he’s an Apple fan towards the end. This devotion to the brand allows Apple TV to be a go-to choice for TV streaming for iPhone users and the connectivity features it offers for the other Apple devices and services are unmatched. No such phenomenon can be seen when it comes to Android TV or Roku. The success of the company’s own streaming leg Apple TV+ is another indication of the company’s quiet domination in the “global digital living room battle”.

Subscribe to newsletter

Subscribe to receive the latest blog posts to your inbox every week.

By subscribing you agree to with our Privacy Policy.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.