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Apple TV accounts for a third of set-top boxes sold in 2011

Apple TV accounts for almost a third of every set-top box sold this year. Not bad for something Apple describes as "a hobby".

Here's a surprising stat: Apple TV now accounts for almost a third of all set-top media streamers sold this year, according to a report. That's right, a third. Not too bad for something Apple describes as "a hobby".

That's compared to things like the Boxee Box and the Roku -- not cable or satellite PVRs such as Sky+ or TiVo -- but it's still impressive. It's also sure to fan flames about Apple's rumoured upcoming TV set.

Apple TV accounts for 32 per cent of all connected televisions sold, according to a report from Strategy Analytics, spotted by the Washington Post. Of the 12 million set-top boxes sold in 2011, nearly 4 million were Apple TVs, the report says. About 7 per cent of European households have a set-top box, compared to 8 per cent of US homes. But then, Americans are usually a lot fatter than us.

This is all the more surprising because Apple TV is a pretty lacklustre prospect on these shores, with fewer channels and services than the US equivalent, and no hard drive. Apple hasn't pushed it as a flagship product, instead preferring to dip its toe into home cinema offerings. But then, it is simple to use, and brand loyalty undoubtedly counts for a lot.

It also bodes well for Apple's rumoured standalone TV set: the great man himself Steve Jobs told his biographer Walter Isaacson he wanted to "create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use... It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it."

This prompted a flurry of rumours, top of the list being that it'll be controlled by Siri, Apple's voice recognition software. Other rumours include Sharp getting the nod to make the screen, and that it'll go on sale at the end of 2012 or in 2013.

Rest assured we'll be glued to this one. Apple making a TV? If it gets it right, it could be product of the year. Check out our full rumour rundown here.

Do you use Apple TV? And would you buy a standalone set made by Apple? Let us know below or over on our Facebook page, telly addicts.