Apple CEO Steve Jobs' characterisation that the Apple TV is a company "hobby" may emerge as one of his most classic misdirections, new information suggests.

Fresh teardown analysis of the device by the researchers at iSuppli indicate that Apple is selling the product with very little profit attached.

According to the analysts, the device costs $237 to manufacture, but sells at $299. This leaves the company with $62 per unit to cover marketing and other associated costs.

Apple's other non-computer products have been known to carry profit margins of 50 per cent or more, Business Week reports.

Some industry watchers speculate that Apple's decision to make the device available at as low a price as possible suggests a wider strategy for the firm.