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Piper Jaffray: price the biggest challenge for an Apple TV set

Gene Munster, senior analyst at Piper Jaffray

Gene Munster, senior analyst at Piper Jaffray

A whopping 49% of US consumers would be interested in buying a new television set from Apple, although most would not be willing to pay premium prices, according to a new survey from Piper Jaffray.

Gene Munster, senior analyst at the US research house, commented: “We believe this suggests that customers would be willing to interrupt an estimated seven-year TV product cycle to purchase an Apple television. This is of course not surprising given the following of Apple products and widespread adoption of the iPhone and iPad.”

Even more hearteningly for Cupertino execs, 29% of those polled said that they weren’t looking for a new set, but that an Apple TV would convince them they needed one. However, only 12% said they would be willing to pay US$ 1,500 for such a unit.

“The hurdle Apple is going to face with winning consumers to Apple Television is price,” Munster said. “Over the past seven years, consumers have been conditioned to pay progressively less for TVs, with the average 32-inch TV price down 76 per cent since 2005.”

Rumours around a putative Apple television set have been intensifying in the past six months, with some analysts such as Forrester’s James McQuivey imagining the device as taking the form of an ‘iHub’ which is tightly integrated with the company’s software products to provide shared calendars, photo and video viewers, and FaceTime for video calls.

However, Apple CEO Tim Cook has remained tightlipped on his plans, giving away nothing more than repeating that TV is an area of “intense interest” for him – but also moved to dispel the idea that Apple’s existing digital media receiver is a “hobby device.

Apple sold 1.3mn units of these digital media receivers in the second quarter of this year – up 170% on an annual basis – meaning that over 4mn units have been shipped so far in its fiscal year which ends in September.

Most recently, US online video service Hulu Plus arrived on the Apple TV media receiver last week, enabling users to stream current and classic TV programming on-demand from hundreds of content partners, including broadcast networks ABC, NBC and Fox.

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