So at first this sounds like, well duh more people are watching Netflix on their Apple TV than on their iPad. I mean, it’s obvious that people will prefer to watch a movie on their big screen than on their iPad.

Just a few weeks ago I bought my first TV. Before that, whenever Anna and I would stream a Netflix movie it would be in the living room watching on the 15-inch MacBook Pro, or in the office on the 23-inch Cinema Display. Never did we stream a Netflix movie using the iPad. Now, streaming to via our Apple TV is superb.

But what’s so intriguing about these iPad and Apple TV comparison numbers is that the iPad is almost a year old and has sold 15 million units. While the new Apple TV is 4 months old and has sold just over 1 million units. There are one-fifteenth the amount of Apple TVs, they’ve been available for one-third the time, and they’ve already surpassed the iPad.

Jason Snell says it’s (at least in part) because Netflix on the iPad is less than great.

I’m curious how many Apple TVs have led to new Netflix subscriptions. The Netflix Shareholder Report (PDF) states 3.08 million new subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2010. If every single Apple TV purchase also led to a new Netflix subscription there would still be an additional 2 million Netflix subscriptions coming from other channels. You can gather from the report that Netflix attributes a lot of their growth to the new streaming-only plan — one-third of all new accounts are the streaming only.

Apple TV Surpasses iPad in Netflix Streaming Popularity