For those of you who are into options like Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, and other to fulfil your entertainment needs, things could be shaking up yet again.
For the large part, the Apple TV remains the large favourite. Retailing at $99, the Apple TV gives users the option to access a plethora of different channels, including YouTube, Apple Trailers, and the entire iTunes Store. Roku is not very popular at all, or at least not as much as its competitor’s products, but it definitely should be.
In this comparison/review, we’ll be putting these against each other, and focusing on three main concepts: Design, Content, and Features.
First Up, Design
The Apple TV and Roku both feature all black boxes. The Roku is a glossy black with its signature fabric “Roku” tag, whereas the Apple TV is a matte black with a glossy band all around. They’re both black boxes, so it’s really a toss up.
Features Come Second in This Comparison
The Apple TV has a lot to offer. The box has an HDMI port, an option for an Optical Audio jack, as well as an Ethernet connection port, and a USB. In addition to playing perfectly with the Apple TV, it offers tons of channels, including WatchESPN, Netflix, HBOGO, YouTube, and tons more. The Screen below is a quick snapshot of the layout of the homepage. As you can see above, Apple really nails the simplistic look. This style carries over in to their remote design as well.
The remote is just a directional wheel with a menu button and select button. The major reason as to why many people have fallen in love with the Apple TV, however, is because of the aforementioned inclusion into Apple networks. For example, all Apple Device have the option of streaming their music library, videos, or in some cases they can even mirror their screen onto your HDTV or projector than you have your Apple TV set up on. This option is available to iPods, iPhones, iPads, and even laptops. The feature is truly a great thing to have, and cannot be stressed enough.
The Roku, on the other hand, has the same ports as the Apple TV, but with an SD card slot as well for additional storage. The USB port can even be used to attach hard drives that you may have additional content on as well, which is really a nice touch. The Roku home screen is a lot more like your conventional and usual screen. The remote also offers way more button and options than that of the Apple TV.
The most useful feature that the Roku has in our opinion is the ability to search through all of the libraries on the machine. For example, a search for “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” will automatically scan the entire Roku, including the external drives. It will check YouTube, your own files, and every channel on the Roku. The Apple TV has nothing like this, you’ll have to search each channel individually in order to find something. The Roku also offers an incredibly large amount of channels, over 1000, 30 times as many as the Apple TV. Oh, and the remote also serves as a controller for the games on the Roku, like Angry Birds. Yes, the Roku has downloadable gaming options.
Overall. both are great options in terms of raw entertainment. As an Apple user, you may feel inclined to purchase the Apple TV, and by all means, that is likely the best purchase in your scenario. The way it interacts and plays nicely with your other Apple devices, tablets, and laptops is truly something that other companies should look to imitate should they have the ability to do so.
You can not really blame Roku for not having this kind of option, as they are not currently a producer of devices and such, like Apple is. But given the opportunities and room that Roku had to work with, they have truly crafted an entertainment masterpiece. The ability to have hundreds of different channels, including the ones that Apple has and many more, including the O Network and even CNET, is honestly an amazing feature.
If you are not an Apple consumer, we would definitely recommend the Roku 3, as it has the capacity of working well with any kind of digital media infrastructure. If you are not willing to shell out a hundred bucks for either of these, look into purchasing a Chromecast, which is a lightweight, watered-down version of both. Personally, we’re leaning towards the Roku 3, as content remains triumphant in battles like these, but the usefulness of mirroring and the Apple TVs communication with other Apple devices is something special. It is truly dependent on what you need from your box, not what we would recommend.