Can the two-year-old Apple TV product still compete with the 2014 Amazon Fire TV? At Teardown.com, we priced it chip by chip in detail. Here's what we found out. Note that the costs are those at the time of their respective teardowns, and that in the two years since Apple released its TV, the bill of materials (BOM) for that unit is likely to have dropped.
The Apple TV (third-generation) model A1427 was released in March 2012, and a month later, the teardown team at TechInsights took one apart and estimated its BOM. At the time, we estimated the BOM at $70.30.
Roughly two years later, in April 2014, Amazon released its Fire TV, which TechInsights' Teardown.com team tore down in May 2014 with a cost estimate landing at $92.99.
Amazon Fire TV box and remote.
Apple TV third-generation model A1427.
Both units have a retail price of $99. From a cost-at-launch standpoint, as shown in the chart below, Apple appears to be making a better profit at nearly $30, compared to Amazon at $6. This ignores the channel margin, which is likely ~20%. An advantage of Amazon is that it sells the lion's share of its product, so it limits payments of additional reseller margins. But make no mistake -- neither company is looking for unit profits. Both are seeking to continually unleash the profits of streaming media services to the growing number of connected consoles worldwide.
Cost stackup between Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV.
It is not surprising to find that, being a 2014 product, the Fire TV comes with a faster processor, more SDRAM memory, MIMO dual-band WiFi, 5.1 surround sound, and a Bluetooth driven remote for non-line-of-sight control. The device also comes with a very interesting new IC from SiTime. (More about that company in a coming blog.)
Fire TV's key design wins include:
- Processor: Qualcomm gets the processor socket with a 1.7GHz Quad-core Snapdragon S4 incorporating an Adreno 320 graphics processor, along with the associated Qualcomm PMM8920 power management IC.
- WiFi/Bluetooth: Qualcomm also wins with the Qualcomm Atheros QCA6234 dual-band 2x2 MIMO WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 part.
- SDRAM memory: Micron provides the 2 Gigabytes of onboard DDR2 SDRAM memory that is stacked on top of the Qualcomm APQ8064T processor.
- NAND flash memory: For nonvolatile memory, Toshiba provides an 8 Gigabyte multi-chip memory part.
- The Bluetooth connected remote is powered by a Texas Instruments M430F5435A mixed-signal microcontroller.
- Also found on the remote is a Texas Instruments CC2560 single-chip Bluetooth IC, an Audience eS305 voice processor, and a Bosch Sensortec BMA150 three-axis accelerometer.