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Roku vs Apple TV: Key Differences Explained

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When it comes to streaming products currently on the market, two names sit atop the others: Roku and Apple TV. Both of them are bestsellers that millions of people use every single day to watch YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu, play games, and stream their own home movies and photos.

In many ways, Roku was the first on the scene to entertain people. The company has been around for more than a decade, allowing people to stream content on their TVs. Apple was a little late to the party but they made up for lost time with their Apple TV product.

If you’re looking to stream at home with ease, both Roku and Apple provide a lot of great features. However, at the end of the day, only one is the better choice for your home.

Roku Vs. Apple TV at a Glance

Roku Advantages:

  • Gives access to many different apps, allowing you to use just about every streaming service
  • More affordable
  • Very attractive interface that is easy to use

Roku Disadvantages:

  • Doesn’t work with some TVs
  • Needs software updates often
  • Sometimes experience lag

Apple TV Advantages:

  • 4K support
  • Comes with Siri built into the remote
  • Much faster than previous Apple TV models

Apple TV Disadvantages:

  • Siri doesn’t always work smoothly
  • No optical audio out
  • Cannot record programming

Winner: It is tough to choose between Roku and Apple TV but because of its cheaper price and its wonderful functionality, Roku is the right route for you if you want to turn your TV into a wonderful streaming machine.

What’s the Difference Between Them?

Apple tv vs ROKU

The Price

Even with the most expensive versions of both streaming devices, there is a significant price difference. It is no secret that the most expensive streaming gadget on the market right now is the Apple TV, which costs $179 for the 4K 32 gig model and $199 for the 62 GB model.

Therefore, even the small memory selection for the Apple TV 4K will charge you roughly double that of the $100 Roku Ultra. Whilst Ultra offers a USB connector for local playback, Roku doesn’t disclose how much storage it contains.

The MicroSD slot that was included in earlier iterations of this device for expanded capacity has been removed in the current Ultra edition.

Apple TV devices trail Roku in terms of selection because there is just one additional model available: the Apple TV HD. This is $149 and is only available in 32 GB, making it more costly than Roku Ultra. Furthermore, as implied by the name, it doesn’t allow streaming in 4K.

In contrast, Roku offers you six extra choices in addition to the Roku Ultra. This contains a few models that are retailer-only and are no longer offered on the main Roku website. The Roku Express, which costs only $29.99, has HD streaming and a simple remote control, is the most basic variant.

The Roku Express+, which costs $39.99 and offers HD streaming and voice search, is a small boost. One of the cheapest 4K streaming devices, the Roku Premiere, is also available for the same price. Using this option, you may stream in 4K and HDR and get stunning picture quality.

The Roku Streaming Stick, which costs $49.99 and features seamless HD streaming and amazing voice search capabilities, is the next option. Due to its small size, this gadget is incredibly portable, making it ideal for travel. But despite some merchants still having it in stock, this model recently ceased manufacture.

You can get the Roku Streaming Stick+ for $49.99 as well. This has a few enhancements in addition to what the standard Streaming Stick delivers. For better streaming quality, it has long-range wifi, 4K, and HDR streaming capabilities.

The Roku Ultra LT is a great choice for anyone who wants the same functionality as the Roku Ultra but at a reduced cost. This option costs $79.99, which is a little less than the Ultra.

However, it still offers 4K, HDR streaming, and strong wifi. The main differences are that it doesn’t have a USB connector for local playback and that the voice remote isn’t quite as good.

Verdict: When you are judging both devices based solely on the amount of money you’ll spend, there is no doubt that Roku has Apple beat. Apple is the most expensive streaming product around, while Roku has multiple choices for you with varying agreeable price points.

The Interface

Apple TV and Roku products differ from the major amount of competitors in terms of user experience, interface, and usability. Both devices have a straightforward interface that is simple to use and comprehend, especially for new users.

That’s one of the reasons why they are both such popular items. They just work and function with such ease for anyone who picks them.

Additionally, customization is a total breeze. You can easily design your very own home screen that works perfectly for you.

You get a simple grid-based interface from Apple TV that highlights a few apps in the top row. You may use your preferred applications to personalize this row.

If you choose an app from this list, the backdrop will display a glimpse of its contents so you can see what it has to offer. To create a distinct atmosphere, you may even switch between bright and dark themes.

In addition, you may further customize your experience by organizing programs into specific folders. You might, for instance, make a folder only for music apps.

Or you might make an entertainment folder if you frequently stream movies and television shows. If you do have apps that your children often use, you may want to establish a kids folder.

The Roku line of products also features a clutter-free interface that is simple to use and intuitive right away. Your apps are prominently displayed on the home screen in a grid-style arrangement. On one side of the interface, among the tabs for your feed, settings, and search, you may easily move between various parts.

Regarding customization, Roku enables you to reorder the applications on your home screen in order of preference. The range of themes is the standout feature. The Roku Channel Store offers a wide range of visual themes, frequently including seasonal patterns as well.

Although Roku does not allow you to organize your applications into folders, it does have a special customizing function called “My Feed.” With this function, it’s simple to put together a customized feed of your favorite media figures and TV shows.

You may use it to get information on the newest episodes of the shows you watch as well as any upcoming endeavors that your favorite actors and directors may be involved in.

Verdict: When it comes to interface, you don’t get a lot of freedom with either Apple TV or Roku, but Roku does feature a lot of cool, colorful backgrounds while Apple lets you create folders. In the end, Roku is a bit better, easier, and more intuitive with the interface.

Streaming Quality

Streaming Quality

Obviously, if you are buying either the Roku or Apple TV, you want high-quality streaming. Without effective and smooth streaming, neither product is worth your time.

The good news is that both Roku and Apple TV have the best streaming performances of any product on the market. Both of these devices let you watch your programs in 4K and HDR streaming, which means that your picture quality is going to be second to none and sublime, especially on a modern television.

They also have Dolby Vision support, which makes colors more vivid and makes the experience of watching stuff even better and crisper.

The truth is that Roku has Apple beat in this department because each of the models that it sells provides a great high-quality picture.

It doesn’t matter if you buy the cheapest model or the most expensive, you’ll still get amazing picture. Meanwhile, Apple will charge you much more for something that looks very comparable.

Apple will tell you that it always provides a better-quality image. But the truth is that unless you are using the most expensive, cutting-edge television, you aren’t going to be able to tell that it’s only slightly better than Roku.

Therefore, you can save money and still get superior performance by choosing Roky for streaming quality.

Verdict: Both products are great when it comes to the quality of the stream but Roku makes more sense because it can more than compete with Apple and does so for a much fairer, easier-to-manage price point.

The Remote

Obviously, the remote control is an essential part of your streaming device. Without it, your device is just a box that will sit by your TV without really offering you anything.

Creating a great, functional, pretty remote can be a hard task, but companies are getting better and better at doing just that. Apple, in particular, has done a fine job at making something that looks easy on the eyes and also works supremely well.

The best thing about the Apple TV remote is that it comes with Siri built into it. That’s right, there is a button on the remote that immediately brings up Siri and allows her to answer your questions, do tasks for you, or anything else you need from the patented Apple assistant.

Additionally, the buttons on the Apple TV remote are wonderful. They respond well, they feel great, you can find them without looking, and they are not too close together or too sensitive.

The overall design of the remote is the exact thing you would expect from Apple. It’s sleek, it feels great and durable, and it gets the job done.

But the Roku remote is no slouch either. Of course, you cannot use Siri with it but you can use Alex or Google Assistant, which basically serve the same purpose. So if you get the Roku or Apple TV, you will still be able to quickly call upon your virtual assistant to help you get through the day.

Roku has created a remote that is also well-weighted and feels great in the hand, not too light and not too heavy either. It’s all black, however, which means it can sometimes get lost, especially if you place it on a black piece of furniture.

The remote feels like something that won’t break and will withstand years of use. It runs on regular batteries, unlike the Apple TV remote and doesn’t look as downright sleek and cool but it does work very, very well.

When everything is measured together, this is a category that Apple wins in. It’s not that Roku’s remote is bad — not by a long shot — but Apple just put a bit more energy into making their remote look great and work great. It feels like a little iPod in your hand. And it works just as well as one too.

Verdict: Apple has always been an expert at creating components for its devices that look wonderful and are supremely functional. The Apple remote is very intuitive and, consequently, better than the Roku remote.

Conclusion

When you’re deciding between streaming services, it’s hard to choose between Apple TV and Roku. Both are probably the best of the best and easily leave the competition in their dust. Both work smoothly, portray great visuals, work well on most TVs, and have excellent remotes that are easy to use.

However, they are neck-and-neck in most instances. That means the bottom line comes down to a matter of price and, well, Roku has Apple beat in that department. All Roku models are cheaper than Apple TV and they will give you just as great a picture and will work just as well, if not better, on most TVs.

If you are trying to decide between these two products, you should save yourself some money, make the right choice, and go with Roku. Not only will you have more money in your bank account, but you will also easily have one of the best streaming devices ever created.