Apple TV and Roku are the most popular digital media streaming devices, and these giants do not show any signs of sliding down the popularity pole. After all, streaming devices offer an opportunity for people to watch whatever they want whenever they want. Roku and Apple TV offer numerous features and content, making them well worth the price to be paid. Therefore, it is natural to want to know which one to purchase.
Apple TVs will make heads turn for sure. They are stylish, efficient, and a symbol of status like all other Apple products (who does not covet one secretly?). However, their cost puts off people, as they seem too expensive. The price makes sense to people using other Apple devices, as it offers them a single device to access all other Apple devices and apps (from Apple Music to Apple Fitness +).
Roku offers almost everything Apple TV offers (though the latter does outshine the former in certain categories) at a much more reasonable price. Each Roku model offers a feature better than the other models. For example, the Roku Streambar offers high audio quality, and Roku Ultra offers high streaming quality. People have to do their research to pick one that best fulfills their needs.
Apple TV vs. Roku
Apple TVs are almost twice as expensive as Rokus due to their sleeker design and seamless integration with other Apple devices. Rokus offers the same streaming experience that Apple TVs offer, albeit without direct Bluetooth connectivity.
Difference Between Apple TV And Roku In Tabular Form
|Parameters of Comparison||Apple TV||Roku|
|Streaming services available||Though both streaming devices provide access to major streaming services, such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO Go, and Disney Plus, Apple TV provides access to YouTube Apple TV +, and iTunes, too.||Roku devices cannot stream iTunes content. Unlike Apple TV, which provides limited access to Netflix (progress tracking is not available) Roku provides full access, as it was created in collaboration with Netflix.|
|Affordability||Apple TVs are expensive, and the 4K version costs around $179 - $199.||Roku streaming devices are much more affordable than Apple TVs. The least expensive model costs $30.|
|Weight||It weighs around 9.6 oz.||It is lighter than Apple TV and weighs around 5 oz.|
|Dimensions||3.5 × 3.5 × 1.0 inches.||Roku is slightly larger with a 3.9 × 3.9 × 0.9 dimension.|
|Connectivity||Apple TVs offer HDMI, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth connectivity.||Roku, in addition to HDMI and Wi-Fi, offers a USB disc, Micro SD slot, and Ethernet connectivity.|
|Content||It has only around 25 – 30 entertainment channels, and the streaming content is less compared to Roku. However, it has several excellent original content (notably Oscar and Emmy winners).||It has more than 750 channels and offers more content to stream. However, Apple TV outshines it when it comes to quality content.|
|Virtual Assistant||Apple TVs are compatible with Siri.||Roku devices are compatible with Google Assistant and Alexa.|
What Is Apple TV?
Apple TV is a streaming device with a clean and simple user interface that makes navigation much smoother. People do not experience any frustration, as there is no lag while navigating. (The experience is similar to driving a car that changes direction with a barely-there twist to the steering wheel – smooth, effortless, and pleasant.) Apple TV’s Siri remote has advanced functions like fast-forward or rewind (requires only a circular swipe on the outer ring) and an excellent voice control system. Apple TV is one of the best-performing streaming devices due to its high video quality and advanced features. Integration with the users’ other Apple devices and apps is a huge bonus.
Apple TV Models
Apple TVs have been around since 2007. The following are the several models made commercially available since then:
The first generation TV was originally intended to be named iTV but was named Apple TV due to trademark disputes. It was launched in March 2007 and upgraded in January and July 2008. As of September 2015, first-generation Apple TVs no longer support iTunes.
Second-generation Apple TVs have 8 GB flash drives instead of the hard disk drives of first-generation TVs. Moreover, they are three-quarters smaller than the previous generation models.
In March 2012, Apple announced the Third generation TVs that resembled the previous generation’s appearance but had an A5 chip. In 2017, these TVs were upgraded to provide support for Amazon Prime Video.
The fourth generation TV (launched in October 2015), rebranded as Apple TV HD (in March 2019), comes with an app store, allowing people to third-party apps for more content. They have 64-bit Apple A8 chips. These TVs’ touch remotes have a swipe-to-select feature and built-in microphone; moreover, they support Siri. Apple TV HD model was discontinued after 4K models were launched.
4K – First Generation
Apple TV 4K supports 2160p (the dominant 4K resolution standard) output and Dolby vision. It uses the Apple A10X chip. It resembles the HD version but does not have a USB-C port. 4K models have vents at their base, and their Siri Remote has a white ring around the menu button. Apple discontinued this model after the announcement of an upgraded 4K version.
4K – Second Generation
This model comes with a redesigned Siri Remote, which is thicker and has a circular touchpad. However, this remote does not have an accelerometer or a gyroscope, making it impossible to play certain games on the Apple TV (hmm, did Apple think those games were not popular enough?). The 4K second-generation models use the A12 Bionic chips.
4K – Third Generation
Apple announced this model in October 2022. This model uses the A15 Bionic chip. The third generation 4K models have two configurations. One is a Wi-Fi-only model with 64 GB storage, and the other has Wi-Fi, Ethernet, thread radio, and 128 GB storage. The Siri remotes of this model charge via USB-C.
Features Of Apple TV
People can stream videos, music, and photos and download apps and games.
Video Streaming – People can either buy or rent movies and TV shows from the iTunes store or stream videos from other streaming services available. Furthermore, people can view Apple’s original content only on Apple TVs (or other Apple devices). For example, the TV series Slow Horses (starring Gary Oldman) is available only on Apple TV Plus.
Music And Podcast Streaming – People can stream their iTunes music and podcast libraries or subscribe to other music streaming services to access their content (some prefer Spotify and Amazon Prime Music to iTunes).
Photos – Apple TV users can access photos in their iCloud photo library or download other apps to edit or share their photos.
Unique Apps And Games
Apps like Grubhub, Zillow, and NASA can easily be downloaded on Apple TVs. Grubhub allows people to order food from their Apple TV, Zillow allows them to search for homes, and NASA enables them to watch International Space Station missions (how cool are these features? One can do everything from the comfort of one’s couch. Wait, will people become like the humans in Wall-E movie?). Siri remote or external Bluetooth game controllers may be used to play the numerous versatile games available on Apple TVs.
Of course, the best Apple TV feature is Siri; it is built into all fourth-generation Apple TVs. People can use Siri to tune into live streams. Furthermore, Siri is good at finding movies, music, actors, or even directors the users like. It can open apps and answer questions about the weather, sports, and even stocks (Whoa, it may not be on par with Jarvis, but still, awesome!).
What Is Roku?
Roku is a media-streaming device that millions of people are using to stream music, films, and TV series from the internet and locally stored content. They come with advanced remotes that people can use to program shortcuts.
People get access to various apps like Netflix, Peacock TV, HBO Max, Spectrum TV, etc., apart from access to the Roku channels. Therefore, users have unlimited content to stream. People with diverse interests and multiple favorite genres will benefit from purchasing a Roku device.
Various Roku Devices
Ten generations of Roku devices have been launched. The following are some of the popular types:
People looking for a streaming device that does not empty their pockets will find this model suitable. It offers a decent streaming experience and is simple to use. The drawback is that they lack a power adapter. Nonetheless, it is the ideal choice for those unsure about whether they need a streaming device in their lives.
Roku Express 4K Plus
This model makes it possible to stream at 4K resolution, even for those with budget constraints. The problem with Roku Express 4K Plus models is that they do not support Dolby Vision. However, their remotes are user-friendly with an efficient voice control system.
Roku Ultra is the most expensive of Roku models and has an Ethernet port, a USB port, and dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity. This model comes with Voice Remote Pro, which processes voice commands and has customizable buttons. However, the streaming experience in Roku Ultra is not significantly better than in other models to justify the higher cost. Moreover, its remote is criticized for being a fancy remote with frills.
Roku Streambar is a sound bar with streaming technology, which means it elevates/enhances the audio and video experience simultaneously. Its clear sound and capacity to stream in 4K resolution make it one of the most sought-after Roku models. Moreover, these stream bars are compact and stylish and function as standalone speakers (have a friend that randomly breaks into an impromptu dance at home? Gift them a Roku Streambar).
Roku Streaming Stick
Roku streaming sticks are highly portable and only need to be plugged into a suitable device to start streaming. Though this model does not offer 4K resolution, it still does a stellar job delivering HD streaming. Roku streaming sticks are travel-friendly, but it is better to take along a power cord or HDMI extender with it (who knows, they might come in handy.).
Main Difference Between Apple TV And Roku (In Points)
- Apple TVs offer the Mirroring feature via Airplay, whereas mirroring is possible in Rokus only through third-party apps.
- Rokus and Apple TVs are renowned for their user-friendly interface and personalization. However, Apple TVs have an edge over Rokus, as they allow people to create folders (music, entertainment, kids folders, etc.).
- Apple TVs leave Rokus in the dust when it comes to gaming. Apple Arcade offers a fantastic gaming experience. Roku does not offer the same level of support that Apple TVs offer.
- Roku remotes are functional with a minimalistic design. They have shortcut buttons that allow people to open an app without having to waste time searching for them. On the other hand, Apple TV remotes are incredibly stylish and have a touchpad (which makes one feel like the world is at one’s fingertips!).
- Apple TV remotes have a better voice command system (Siri never lets Apple users down, does it?) than Roku remotes.
- Over 63 million people use Roku, whereas only 26 million people use Apple TVs (as of 2022). Therefore, it is clear Roku enjoys a wider customer base compared to Apple TVs.
- Roku offers numerous models at different prices; therefore, people are bound to find one that best suits their budget. On the other hand, Apple TV has only two major types: the Apple TV 4K and the Apple TV HD.
There is no right and wrong choice when choosing between Apple TVs and Rokus. Both are highly popular because they provide exactly what they promise – a great streaming experience with additional bells and whistles. Those who are already part of the Apple family will benefit a great deal more than those who are not part of it if they choose to purchase Apple TVs. However, people whose rational thinking strongly advises them to consider their budget will be better off with Rokus. After all, people can use Roku to stream more content from various streaming services at a much more affordable price.