Difference between Apple TV vs Roku TV

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

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Smart TVs have revolutionized content consumption thanks to the unparalleled convenience they offer. With more people turning to platforms like Apple TV vs Roku to access their favorite shows, studying the dynamics of the streaming market becomes imperative. 

Apple TV, a renowned product by tech-giant Apple, boasts many Apple TV+ paid subscribers, reaching an estimated 25 million as of March 2022, as per Statista. Furthermore, around 50 million users globally enjoy Apple’s premium SVOD.

In the same league, Amazon’s rival, Roku, is equally popular and competes directly with the Apple TV ecosystem. As of the first quarter of 2023, Roku reported a staggering 71.6 million active accounts worldwide, marking a substantial increase of nearly 20 million users in just two years.

Both platforms offer unique functionalities tailored to different customer segments. The question then arises – which one is the better choice for you?
Let’s compare Apple TV and Roku for the next 5 minutes.
And, by the end, you will find the ideal streaming companion that aligns perfectly with your needs.

What is Apple TV?

roku vs apple tv

Apple TV is a device made by Apple that connects to your TV. It’s like a small box or stick that lets you consume all genres of content on your TV screen.
You can stream movies, TV shows, and music and play games with it. Like other Apple stuff, it’s easy to use and helps you find new things to watch.

The cool part is that it works with popular streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu. So, you can watch all your favorite shows just by clicking a button on your remote.

Since it came out in 2007, Apple has sold 25 million Apple TVs, so it’s pretty popular.

So, what is Apple TV+?

It’s a streaming service by Apple TV App where you pay to watch exclusive TV shows and movies made by Apple and its famous partners. It’s like having a special collection of engaging content — films, TV shows, series, and live events — to watch at your own pace.

What is Roku?

roku tv vs apple tv

Roku is a compact multimedia streaming device that enhances the entertainment experience on your TV.
It is a compact box or stick that connects to your television, akin to setting up a video game console. 

However, instead of playing games, Roku enables users to access a wide array of engaging content on their larger screens.

With Roku, users can stream their favorite movies, TV shows, listen to music, and even indulge in gaming. So, a Roku device effectively transforms your TV into a universal entertainment hub.
The device features a user-friendly interface. It offers simplified navigation and usage, similar to operating a smartphone.

Roku offers access to numerous popular streaming services, including Netflix, Disney+, YouTube, etc. So, it offers an extensive selection of entertainment options tailored to individual preferences.

In summary, Roku elevates the streaming landscape by providing seamless access to diverse content on users’ television screens.


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


Differences Between Apple TV vs Roku

difference between apple tv and roku

Apple TV and Roku are streaming platforms catering to differing audiences. We have listed some of the significant features of the two platforms.

1. Features

Resolution:

Both Apple TV and Roku support 1080p FHD resolution, ensuring high-quality visuals for a remarkable streaming experience.

Major Internet Streaming Services:

Apple TV offers access to YouTube, iTunes, Netflix, Hulu Plus, and HBO GO.
On the other hand, Roku provides access to Amazon, VUDU, Netflix, Hulu Plus, and HBO GO, offering a diverse selection of popular streaming services.

Connectivity:

Apple TV features HDMI, WiFi, and Bluetooth connectivity, whereas Roku includes HDMI, WiFi, USB disc, Micro SD slot, and ethernet options. So, both devices provide users with various ways to connect to their TV.

HDMI-capable TV Required:

Apple TV requires an HDMI-capable TV for seamless operation. Whereas most Roku boxes can run on almost any TV, with only Roku 3 needing an HDMI-capable TV.

Mirroring:

Apple TV supports mirroring via Airplay. So, it is more convenient to share content from compatible Apple devices.
In fact, Roku also allows mirroring through third-party apps, offering users a similar functionality.

Smartphone Remote Control App:

Apple TV offers a remote control app compatible with iOS and watchOS devices, enhancing convenience. Roku also has a smartphone remote control app available for both iOS and Android users, providing an alternate control option.

2. User Interface:

Apple TV boasts an elegant and user-friendly interface, reflecting the classic Apple simplicity. It’s intuitive and visually appealing, making navigation a breeze.
On the other hand, Roku offers a straightforward and easy-to-use interface that caters to all users, including beginners.
It may not have the same sleekness as Apple TV. However, Roku is practical, efficient, and allows users to access content effortlessly.

3. Software & Ecosystem:

Apple TV runs on tvOS, Apple’s proprietary operating system. It ensures seamless integration with other Apple devices and services like AirPlay and HomeKit.
On the other hand, Roku uses its own operating system, offering a diverse ecosystem with thousands of apps and channels to choose from, including popular streaming services.

4. Apps & Ecosystem:

Both have their strengths when comparing Apple TV and Roku in terms of software and ecosystem. Apple TV runs on tvOS and seamlessly integrates with other Apple devices and services, like AirPlay and HomeKit. This makes it an excellent choice for those already invested in the Apple ecosystem and looking for a unified experience across their devices.

On the other hand, Roku has its own operating system. The Roku OS offers a diverse ecosystem with thousands of apps and channels to choose from, including popular streaming services. It provides a more open and versatile platform, appealing to users who prioritize a wide range of content options and compatibility with various services.

Having said that, the best choice depends on your existing device ecosystem and preferences. Apple TV excels for Apple users seeking a unified experience, while Roku offers a broader content ecosystem and compatibility for users seeking more variety.

what is the difference between apple tv and roku

5. Specifications:

Regarding specifications, both have their strengths and grey areas.
Apple’s revamped 4k Apple TV packs the powerful A15 Bionic processor, 64GB or 128GB of storage, and HDR10+ support.

So, it is ideal for gaming and demanding tasks. It also offers higher storage options (64GB/128GB), ideal for those who want to download and store content locally.

On the other hand, Roku devices come in models with different hardware capabilities. It caters to a wider range of users and budgets than Apple TV.
While they may not be as powerful as Apple TV, they are budget-friendly and still provide 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’re eyeing the 64GB Apple TV, you’ll find it starting at $130. 

On the other hand, the budget-friendly option is the Roku Express. Priced at around $30, it is comparable to similar streaming devices from Google and Amazon.
However, to experience 4K and HDR, you must consider the Roku Streaming Stick+ or the Roku Ultra. They are priced between $50 to $99.99. 

So, whether you prefer Apple TV’s higher-end features or Roku’s affordable options, there’s a streaming device to suit your budget and preferences.

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:

Both Apple TV and Roku support voice control. Apple TV deploys Siri, allowing users to interact with the device using voice commands. 

And Roku uses Roku Voice, its own voice assistant. It is equally effective in searching for content and controlling playback through voice instructions.

8. Set up:

Apple TV’s setup process is seamless, especially if you already have other Apple devices, as it syncs easily with them. Roku also has a straightforward setup, and its universal remote further simplifies the process. Both devices are designed to ensure users can quickly get started with minimal hassle.

Conclusion:

Both Apple TV and Roku are exceptional streaming devices, each with its own set of strengths and features. 

So, which one should you pick?
Well, if you’re someone deeply ingrained in the Apple ecosystem, Apple TV proves to be a seamless and highly integrated option. It undoubtedly offers the best user experience with other Apple devices.

On the other hand, Roku stands out for its affordability, diverse app ecosystem, and compatibility with various TV models. It is ideal for budget-conscious consumers seeking a wide array of streaming options.

Ultimately, the choice between Apple TV and Roku depends on individual preferences, needs, and existing device ecosystems. 

Apple TV is the way to go if you value a sleek interface, gaming capabilities, and effortless integration with other Apple devices. 

Conversely, if you seek a budget-friendly device with extensive content options and broad compatibility, Roku offers an appealing solution.

Or, if you’re still searching for something else, you can also check devices like Amazon Fire Stick. 

If you already have an idea to launch OTT TV app, schedule a free demo and we’ll help you put it into action!
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Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

1. What is Apple TV? 

Apple TV is a digital media player and streaming device developed by Apple. It allows users to stream content from various apps and services. This includes access to their iTunes library, and offering features like Siri voice control and the App Store for additional functionality. Apple TV can also play content from a user’s mobile or computer. 

2. What is Roku TV?

Roku TV refers to a range of smart TVs powered by the Roku operating system. It is designed and marketed by Roku, Inc., a California-based company. Like Apple TV, Roku provides a vast library of channels and TV shows under the Roku channel store. Besides, the Roku OS is known for its simple navigation, and compatibility with multiple TV brands. 

3. What are the advantages of Apple TV? 

Apple TV offers a vast range of solid advantages over its competitors. It gives access to a wide selection of streaming services, easy navigation through menus, and integration with other Apple devices. In addition, it allows users to play and manage their iTunes content, as well as enjoy games and apps from the App Store. The device also supports 4K and HDR content, and can be controlled with Siri voice commands.

4. What are the advantages of Roku TV? 

Roku TV is a platform-agnostic operating system. It can work with various TV brands — Samsung, LG, Sony, etc. Roku offers solid advantages like offering a wide array of streaming apps, a straightforward user interface, and affordable options. So, Roku is a versatile and cost-effective alternative for Apple TV users.

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

The primary difference between Apple TV and Roku TV lies in their nature; Apple TV is a streaming device, while Roku TV is an operating system for smart TVs. Apple TV is tightly integrated with the Apple ecosystem, while Roku TV is more flexible in working with different TV brands and offers a vast app library. Also, Apple TV is more expensive and premium in its offerings. Roku TV, on the other hand, is a more affordable option that offers a wider range of streaming services and a more intuitive interface.

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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