Apple TV Fans Would Pay Premium to Purchase the Device

A Morgan Stanley Research survey found consumers would be willing to pay a hefty 20 percent premium to purchase an Apple television set--if and when one ever reaches the market.

Although there is no hard evidence that consumer electronics giant Apple is anywhere close to releasing a television, that hasn’t stopped interest in the supposed device from increasing, and a survey by Morgan Stanley Research suggests consumers would be willing to pay a 20 percent price premium over competitors to get their hands on one.

Interest in the device is high, with 11 percent of respondents “extremely interested” in an Apple TV, while 36 percent said they were “somewhat interested,” indicating almost half (47 percent) of those surveyed at least curious about the device.

“With 11 percent ‘extremely interested’ in an Apple television, that would translate to over 13 million potential units sold in the U.S,” the report noted. “And another 36 percent ‘somewhat interested’ would be an incremental 43 million units.”

A similar number of respondents--46 percent--interested in buying an Apple-built TV said they would be willing to pay more than $1,00 for the unit, while 10 percent said they would go as high as $2,000. Overall, the average price interested consumers are willing to pay is $1,060--a 20 percent increase over today’s average cost ($884) of a smart television.

The study, conducted by AlphaWise and Morgan Stanley, polled 1,568 American consumers on the "smart TV" market, and the results suggested those who do own a smart TV find the experience underwhelming. While 18 percent of homes have a smart TV, 13 percent didn’t know whether the device was a smart TV, and those who own smart TVs connected to the Internet actually spend less time accessing Internet content through their TV than those who do not own a smart TV.

Fresh rumors of an Apple television surfaced after the publication of a Wall Street Journal article, which claimed the company is working with component suppliers in Asia to test a variety of set designs. Quoting “people familiar with the matter,” Apple testing a few designs for a large-screen high-resolution TV—something it has been rumored to do for years. "It isn't a formal project yet. It is still in the early stage of testing," one of the sources told the paper.

In a recent interview with NBC News, Apple CEO Tim Cook also had some choice words for the current makers of television sets, leading to a flurry of speculation online that he was dropping hints about Apple's long-rumored television project. “When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years," Cook said. "It's an area of intense interest. I can't say more than that."

An Apple TV is no longer a matter of "if," but "when," Piper Jaffray analysts Gene Munster and Douglas J. Clinton wrote in a June 1 research note. The pair forecast a retail price between $1,500 and $2,000 for a TV with a display between 42 and 55 inches, for the new device to add between 4 and 8 percent to Apple's 2013 revenue and for it to accomplish nothing short of revolutionizing how people consume content in their living rooms.