Apple has been considering to launch a low-cost TV dongle similar to devices from Roku, Amazon and Google, The Information reported Wednesday. Such a cheaper device could help the company find a wider audience for its still-unannounced streaming service, which is expected to launch next year.
Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday afternoon.
The iPhone maker’s living room entertainment efforts are currently focused on its Apple TV, which retails for $149 and up. Consumers who want 4K video even have to pay $179 or more.
That makes Apple TV far more expensive than most competing products; Google sells its Chromecast streaming adapter for just $35, while Roku even sells a 4K-capable streaming adapter for $40. Prices are even lower during the holiday season, with streaming adapters selling for as little as $20 for this week’s Black Friday shopping event.
Cheaper prices have helped competitors like Roku and Amazon to easily outsell Apple in the TV space. Market research company Parks Associates reported earlier this year that Roku’s market share for streaming devices was 37%, with Amazon coming in second at 28%. Apple ranked third with just around 15%.
There’s no word on how far advanced Apple’s plans for a TV dongle are, and whether the company has made any decision to actually release such a device. However, the mere fact that it is looking at the possibility of a budget-priced TV streamer shows that Apple may be willing to sacrifice some of its beliefs around high-end hardware to continue to grow its services business.
The company has been busy in recent months signing up content creators, striking deals with Oprah and others to produce shows for its upcoming streaming service. The company has yet to reveal key details about the service, including pricing and whether it will be bundled with any of Apple’s existing offerings.