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Apple (s AAPL) didn’t announce the number of Apple TVs sold as part of its earnings release, but Steve Jobs was on the company’s investor call today and gave the first official numbers for how many of the brand new set-top box have seen purchased. So far, the sales are pretty good: Jobs reported that the company has sold more than 250,000 Apple TVs since the company first made the product available in early September.
Apple first announced the new Apple TV broadband set-top box on September 1, pricing it at $99 and announcing a new business model for streaming rentals of TV episodes and movie files. With the new streaming model, Apple rents TV episodes from Fox (s NWS) and ABC (s DIS) for 99 cents, compared to the $1.99 price for standard definition episode downloads and HD downloads for $2.99.
To put that into perspective: Roku reported at the beginning of this year that it had sold 500,000 of its set-top devices after about a year-and-a-half on the market, and hopes to have sold more than a million of its box by the end of the year. So Apple is tracking well ahead of other, similar devices already in the market.
That said, Apple TV is still very much a hobby when compared to the other products it makes. Apple sold 4.2 million iPads and 3.9 million Macs in the third quarter, as well as 9 million iPods and 14 million iPhones. While those products were available all quarter, compared to just the last several weeks like the Apple TV, it’s clear that it could be some time before Apple’s video set-top box becomes a significant portion of Apple’s business.
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