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Comparing Apple TV vs Roku TV – What’s the Difference?

Published On July 5th, 2024 2940Media & Monetization
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Smart TVs have revolutionized how we access entertainment, conveniently placing spectacular shows and movies just a click away. As streaming subscriptions multiply, a comparison of platforms like Apple TV and Roku TV is crucial for deciphering the ever-changing landscape of online video.

Apple TV, the innovative creation of tech powerhouse Apple, has attracted a devoted following of millions. With an estimated 25 million paid Apple TV+ subscribers as of February 2024, and around 50 million global users indulging in Apple’s premium streaming selection, it undoubtedly wields influence.

Meanwhile, Amazon’s competing contender Roku TV maintains a strong foothold. By the first quarter of 2024, Roku had accumulated a staggering 80 million active accounts worldwide, experiencing a jaw-dropping increase of nearly 20 million users just within the past two years alone.

Both options arrive equipped with their unique features aimed at attracting different audiences. So when choosing between Apple TV and Roku TV, which is superior? Let’s dive deeper into contrasting Apple TV vs Roku TV over the next 5 minutes to find out.

By the conclusion of this blog, you will possess your perfect streaming companion.

What is Apple TV?

apple tv vs roku

Apple TV emerges as a sleek device designed by Apple, serving as a gateway to turning your ordinary television into an entertainment powerhouse. You can even assume it as a sophisticated gadget that connects to your TV in seconds, thereby taking up your viewing experience.

With Apple TV app, you are thrust into boundless entertainment possibilities across diverse genres. Consider streaming movies, TV shows, music, or getting on thrilling gaming adventures – it’s your on-the-go entertainment hub. True to Apple’s ethos, it comes with a user-friendly interface, effortlessly guiding you through the endless entertainment choices.

Additionally, it seamlessly meshes with several widely beloved streaming platforms, including Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu, granting effortless access to your cherished shows with a mere tap of the remote.

Since its debut in 2007, Apple has triumphantly marketed an astounding 25 million Apple TV devices across the globe, a clear indicator of its resonance with end users.

So, what is Apple TV+?

Apple TV+ emerges as Apple’s exclusive streaming service. Here, users gain access to a curated collection of TV shows, movies, gripping series, and live events, carefully created by Apple and its esteemed partners. It’s akin to possessing a VIP pass to a number of engaging content, awaiting discovery and enjoyment at your own leisure.

What is Roku?

roku tv vs apple tv

When we see Apple TV vs Roku — Roku emerges as an ultra-compact multimedia streaming device that makes the experience on your TV fuller. It can take the shape of a slim box or stick, connecting to your television — Essentially transforming it into a video game console.

Unlike game consoles, Roku sets the stage more broadly in bringing other kinds of content to the bigger screen for users to enjoy.

Your beloved movies, TV shows and music are all available at your fingertips with Roku. Even gaming adventures await. In short, a Roku device opens the TV to anything that happens outdoors and closes it back up again when you are through.

With a friendly interface, Roku brings ease of navigation and operation, just as if you were using a smartphone. Roku also gives you access to many popular streaming services such as Netflix, YouTube and Disney+ among others — Giving a wide range of entertainment options with something for everyone in its selection.

In the end, all we can say in this comparison of Roku vs Apple TV is that Roku shifts the whole premise of how streaming works by sending so much variety to your TV screen quietly in one shot.

Read More: How to Develop Roku TV App: A Full Guide


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Differences Between Apple TV vs Roku

When comparing Apple TV vs Roku, it is vital to recognize their disparate traits tailored to assorted audiences. Let us delve profoundly into some principal aspects of these two platforms.

1. Features

Upon examining the attributes of Apple TV vs Roku, the two platforms both offer a bounty of streaming alternatives, confirming a diverse variety of content to suit every preference. Furthermore, they furnish various connectivity options, counting HDMI and WiFi, to incorporate with your TV establishment.

Resolution:

Both Apple TV and Roku endorse 1080p FHD resolution, ascertaining top-notch optics for an all-encompassing streaming experience.

Notable Online Streaming Services:

Apple TV offers access to the following — YouTube, iTunes, Netflix, Hulu Plus, and HBO GO. Meanwhile, Roku offers diverse access to well-known streaming services such as Amazon, VUDU, Netflix, Hulu Plus, and HBO GO.

Connectivity:

Apple TV highlights HDMI, WiFi, and Bluetooth connectivity, whereas Roku boasts HDMI, WiFi, USB drive, Micro SD slot, and ethernet choices. Hence, the two platforms offer users multiple ways to connect to their TV.

HDMI-capable TV Required:

While Apple TV demands an HDMI-capable TV for seamless operation, most Roku boxes can perform on nearly any TV, with only Roku 3 necessitating an HDMI-capable TV.

difference between apple tv and roku

Mirroring:

Apple TV supports mirroring via Airplay, offering convenient content sharing from compatible Apple devices. Intriguingly, Roku also allows mirroring through third-party apps, delivering a similar functionality to users.

Smartphone Remote Control App:

Apple TV offers a remote control app compatible with iOS and watchOS devices, heightening convenience for users. Similarly, Roku provides a smartphone remote control app for both iOS and Android users, offering an alternative control option.

– All in all, in this battle between Apple TV vs Roku TV, each platform brings its unique set of attributes to the table. Yes, indeed. Thus, when weighing Roku TV vs Apple TV, it is crucial to consider which features align best with your requirements.

2. User Interface:

Apple TV provides an elegant and user-friendly interface with classic Apple simplicity. It is highly intuitive and visually appealing, making navigation easy and pleasant. Nevertheless, on the other side of the comparison between Apple TV vs Roku — Roku offers a simple and convenient interface that is highly accessible to users of any level, including beginners. 

Therefore, Roku  being somewhat less stylish, it is highly practical and efficient, allowing users to get to their content immediately.

3. Software & Ecosystem:

Apple TV runs on tvOS, which is Apple’s own Operating System, implying integration with other Apple devices and services as well, such as AirPlay and HomeKit. In addition, Apple comes with a highly extensive and well-rounded ecosystem allowing ease of access to apps and services of all kinds. 

On the other hand, Roku uses an OS of its own and features a highly diverse ecosystem extending to thousands of apps and channels, illustrating an open, well-rounded approach allowing for the inclusion of popular online video streaming services.

4. Apps & Ecosystem:

While both devices have their strengths, the choice between Apple TV and Roku depends mostly on the user’s previous selection of devices and services. 

On the one hand, Apple TV, as it is based on tvOS, integrates neatly with other Apple devices and services and offers numerous advantages related to that specific ecosystem, such as AirPlay and HomeKit. Since it provides a unified experience across devices, it is the best pick for users who are already dedicated to the Apple ecosystem.

On the other side of the argument of Apple TV vs Roku, Roku has its own OS, Roku OS, and its approach is somewhat more open and allows for a great number of apps and channels, including the most popular video streaming services. 

As such, it appeals to users who wish for access to a wide range of content and their preferred third-party services. Thus, while on its own, it seems the best choice due to content availability and service friendliness. The availability of content and services on Apple TV vs Roku are still considerable, and Apple TV remains the superior option for Apple users.

what is the difference between apple tv and roku

5. Specifications:

Regarding specifications, both have their strong points and gray areas. The Apple’s boosted 4k Apple TV embeds the powerful A15 Bionic processor, 64GB or 128GB of storage, and HDR10+ support. So, it is perfect for gaming and demanding tasks. Plus, it has more storage , allowing you to download and store content locally. 

On the other hand, Roku devices have various hardware capabilities, targeting a wider user base. Apart from that, they are more budget-friendly, but still deliver a smooth streaming experience. 
Check detailed Roku specifications here.

Device NameroDeviceInfo.GetModel()CPUAccelerated Graphics APIRAMMax UI ResolutionMaximum Playback ResolutionHDR Support
Roku Express3960XARM Cortex A55OpenGL ES 2.0512 MB720p1080pNo
Roku Express+3931XARM Cortex A53OpenGL ES 2.0512 MB720p1080pNo
Roku Express 4K3940X2ARM Cortex A55OpenGL ES 2.01 GB1080p/60fps4K60fps, HDRHDR10/10+, HLG
Roku Express 4K+3941X2ARM Cortex A55OpenGL ES 2.01 GB1080p/60fps4K60fps, HDRHDR10/10+, HLG
Roku Streaming Stick 4K3820X2ARM Cortex A55OpenGL ES 2.01 GB1080p4K60fps, HDRHDR10/10+, HLG, and DolbyVision

6. Storage and Pricing:

If you are thinking about a 64GB Apple TV, you will find it starting with $130. However, the cheapest option is a Roku Express which is around $30. In addition, Google and Amazon also offer fairly similar prices for streaming devices. 

However, you will need to look for a Roku Streaming Stick+ or a Roku Ultra to enjoy 4K and HDR. These will cost between $50 to $99.99. Therefore, it depends on the customer’s choice to buy a high-end product of Apple TV or a much affordable Roku streaming device.

Features and pricing comparisonApple TV 4KRoku Ultra
Price$179-$199$99.99
4K supportYesYes
Dolby Vision supportYesYes
Expandable storageNoNo
Remote controlYesYes
Google Assistant compatibleNoYes
Alexa compatibleNoYes
Siri compatible YesNo
Dimensions3.9 X 3.9 X 1.4 inches4.9 X 5.0 X 1.0 inches

7. Voice Control:

Apple TV and Roku both use a voice control feature. When we see it as a comparison — Apple TV vs Roku. Apple TV utilizes Siri (voice assistant), allowing users to operate on voice commands. Roku also uses a voice assistant known as Roku Voice. With this feature, one can search for content and also give the device instructions, such as pause, play, etc.

8. Set up:

The setting up process for Apple TV is very easy if you already own an apple device. It can easily sync with your network device. Though Roku also has an easy set up process —  the fact that it has a universal remote only goes a long way in making the already relatively simple process even smoother.

Conclusion:

Both Apple TV and Roku can be classified as excellent streaming devices, considering their sets of strengths and available features. At the same time, choosing one of them can be challenging. 

On the one hand, Apple TV is a perfect option for you if you are an enthusiastic supporter of Apple’s devices. In such a case, you will not find a better alternative due to the device’s excellent usability with other options from Apple. 

However, When considering Roku vs Apple TV — Roku can be a better option based on other circumstances. It combines affordability with the availability of a wide range of apps, and the support of a sizable number of TV models. Therefore, if you are a budget consumer who looks for as many alternatives as possible, Roku can be a perfect choice for you.

In conclusion, whether you should buy Apple TV or Roku depends on the set of your needs and already existing devices. Apple TV will be a better option if you look for an aesthetically appealing device with an excellent gaming experience and usability with other similar Apple’s products. 

At the same time, Roku will be better for you in any other case. Or, if you are still searching for something else apart from Apple TV and Roku, then checking Amazon Fire Stick could also be a great choice. So, that’s it for the comparison of Apple TV vs Roku TV. 

Hope you found some value out of this blog!

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Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

1. What is Apple TV? 

Apple TV is a hardware device designed for streaming content to your TV. Over time, it has undergone multiple iterations, each enhancing the digital media player’s functionality and utility for its users. Nowadays, customers have an opportunity to use Apple TV for streaming from different applications. For example, they may watch content stored in their iTune library.

2. What is Roku TV?

Roku TV refers to a line of smart TVs developed and marketed by Roku — a California-based company. Since the Roku operating system is likely to operate on any TV, Roku offers its users relatively the same functionality as the Apple TV platform. This implies that the collection of channels and TV shows is as extended and can be accessed through the Roku channel store.

3. What are the advantages of Apple TV? 

Apple TV provides many great benefits compared to its rivals. It offers access to lots of different streaming services, simple menus to navigate, and works well with other Apple devices. You can also use it to play and organize your iTunes stuff, and enjoy games and apps from the App Store. It can show 4K and HDR content, and you can control it using Siri voice commands.

4. What are the advantages of Roku TV? 

Roku TV is an Operating System that works on TVs of various different brands such as Samsung, LG, Sony and many more. It has many advantages like having a great number of streaming apps, simple interface and not much costly to the pockets. These benefits indicate that Roku is a more viable and cost-effective solution for people who use Apple TV.

5. What is the difference between Apple TV and Roku TV?

The key distinction between Apple TV and Roku TV are as follows: Apple TV is a Streaming device and Roku TV is the system that operates on smart TVs. Apple TV is more related to the Apple ecosystem. On the other hand, Roku is flexible and can run with a number of TV brands — many apps are available as well. Apple TV has generally higher cost and more top-quality options, and Roku TV is a cheaper option with more streaming services. 

Vijay Amirtham

Blogger & OTT Expert at VPlayed. Interested in digging deep into video streaming media tools, and Love to blog, discuss and share views on the legal OTT app development' & latest technologies tips, and tricks. He's also passionate about photography loves to capture the pure essence of life.

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