Tim Cook spoke at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference and explained why Apple considers Apple TV a “hobby.”
In terms of existing product, we sold just shy of 3 million Apple TVs in the past year. It's very cool product and I can't live without it. We sold 1.4 million last quarter. It's clearly ramping, but the reality -- the reason we call it a hobby -- we don't want to send a message to our shareholders that we think the market for it is the size of our other businesses. The Mac, the iPad, the iPod, the iPhone. We don't want to send a signal that we think the length of that stool is equal to the others. That's why we call it a hobby.— Cook
Cook’s most telling words for the future of Apple TV and a possible Apple HDTV come after espousing about the barriers facing the Apple TV.
So, with Apple TV however, despite the barriers in that market, for those of us who use it, we've always thought there was something there. If we kept following our intuition and kept pulling the string, we might find something that was larger. For those people that have it right now, the customer satisfaction is off the chart. We need something that could go more main-market for it to be a serious category. — Cook