At this point, everyone has a streaming device of some sort. If you are a gamer you probably use your Xbox One X or PS5 to stream Netflix, HBO, and Apple TV Plus. If you are not a gamer, there is still a wide array of options out there to stream your favorite shows and movies.

The best of these options by far is Apple TV and Roku. Once upon a time, Roku was the streaming king. But in the past few years, Apple has given the streaming giant a run for its money. Things like exclusive apps and the addition of 4K Apple TV have become worthy contenders in the space. But who is the best and which device is right for you?

Apple TV has an A12 Bionic processor allowing more performance for your TV.

Apple TV vs Roku: Side-by-Side Comparison

Roku has a lot more models to choose from all with varying price points. For the sake of clarity, this side-by-side is between the two models most alike in features and capabilities.

Apple TV 4KRoku Ultra
Price:$179$99.99
Processor:A12 BionicFour core processor
Voice Command:Yes, SiriYes, unnamed (does support Alexa and Google Assistant)
Models:2, Apple TV 4K and HD7, Express, Express 4K, Streaming Stick 4K, Steaming stick 4K+, Ultra, Streambar, Streambar Pro
Ports:HDMI and EthernetHDMI, USB, and Ethernet
Box Size:1.4 in. x 3.9 in. x 3.9 in.1 in. x 4.9 in. x 5 in.
Sale
2021 Apple TV 4K with 32GB Storage (2nd Generation)
  • Dolby Atmos for immersive, room-filling sound
  • A12 Bionic chip gives a big boost to audio, video, and graphics, for even better game and app experiences
  • 4K High Frame Rate HDR with Dolby Vision for fluid, crisp video
  • Apple Original shows and movies from Apple TV+
  • The latest hits from Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, and more
Sale
Roku Ultra 2022 4K/HDR/Dolby Vision Streaming Device and Roku Voice Remote Pro with Rechargeable Battery, Hands-Free Voice Controls, Lost Remote Finder, and Private Listening
  • Outrageously powerful: Enjoy a lightning-fast interface and channels that launch in a snap with the fastest, most powerful Roku player ever
  • Our best Wi-Fi: Enjoy fast, seamless TV streaming in any room in the house with our best Wi-Fi and up to 50% more range—or choose to wire up over Ethernet
  • Cinematic streaming: Stream in 4K, Dolby Vision, and HDR10+ with sharp resolution and vivid color, plus Dolby Atmos sound
  • Our best remote: Roku Voice Remote Pro is conveniently rechargeable with features including TV controls and personal shortcut buttons
  • Hands-free voice controls: Say “Hey Roku” to play entertainment, control your streaming, power up your TV, and even find your lost remote

Apple TV vs Roku: What’s the Difference?

Before we talk about the differences, it is important to understand the similarities. Both Apple TV and Roku Ultra feature lighting fast performance with almost no load times. The picture and sound quality on both devices are virtually identical. They both support 4K and feature Dolby Vision Atmos so the viewing quality on both is impeccable. They also both feature voice controls with Roku’s new Voice Remote Pro.

But we are here to find which is the best device which means it is time to look at the differences between each device. Let’s take a look at how the two match up.

UI

As expected, the interface on Roku is buttery smooth across devices. The grid-style layout is as clean as ever and completely customizable. There are very few ads and the ones that are there are relegated to the right side of the interface while you are scrolling to reduce clutter. The app store has a similar layout to the main menu and is just as user-friendly.

The response time when selecting apps is lightning fast with little to no lag. And download times for apps from the app store are quick and painless.

Apple TV has a similar UI with the same grid-style layout showcasing all your streaming apps. It also loads your selections superfast with no lag or long load times. Unlike Roku, Apple TV suggests streaming services with its own TV Plus included. Banner Ads are interspersed throughout the interface but it is done tastefully enough that it isn’t distracting.

Models

Roku definitely has a lot of options for any budget. On the high-end, there’s the Roku Ultra box which is the closest match to Apple TV 4K. While the two are close in experience, there is a nearly $80 price difference between the two. Roku Ultra is $99.99 while Apple TV 4K is $179.99. For the audio obsessed, there are also the Roku Streambar at $99.99 and Streambar Pro at $149.99.

Roku also offers a lot more on the cheaper end as well. The Roku Express and Express 4K+ are both under $50 and the Streaming stick 4K+ features comparable performance and picture quality to the Ultra but at the cheaper price of $69.99.

On the flip side, Apple’s cheaper version is HD only and comes in at $149.99. So, in terms of value, Roku has a clear advantage.

Features and Apps

This is the category where Apple TV really proves its value. First off, if you’re an Apple fan and are connected to its ecosystem, Apple TV is a must-have. It features all the proletary Apple apps like Fitness +, Arcade, and Apple Music. It also utilizes Siri for its voice command features which make for an all-around smoother voice experience compared to Roku’s voice system.

Apple TV also offers a much more robust gaming experience than its opponent. In addition to Apple arcade, Apple TV supports steam link so that PC players can stream their games on their TV using Apple TV as a conduit. It also features connectivity for four Bluetooth controllers so local co-op is an option.

Roku does support Apple airplay2 as well as screen mirroring support for Android and Windows devices. It does not support any Apple apps, other than Apple TV+ of course. Roku also doesn’t really offer much in the way of gaming support like you find on Apple TV.

The Roku Ultra has a lost remote finder and private listening.

Remotes

This is a razor-thin category as both Apple TV and Roku feature two of the best remotes around. Frankly, a lot of this comes down to personal preference but there are some notable differences worth discussing.

The Roku Voice Remote Pro keeps the classic Roku design while adding voice support. Voice control gives an admirable performance, but it is outshined Apple’s Siri-supported voice control. Siri allows you to just say the show or movie you want to watch, and it does all the work for you. Roku requires a few more steps before you are watching your desired media.

While voice command isn’t as powerful as the Apple TV remote, the design is easy to learn and use. It has programable shortcuts so you can customize it based on your viewing habits. It also has a headphone jack if you don’t want to disturb the person in the next room. It also supports Alexa and Google Assistant so if you are looking for a better voice command system, you have that option.

Apple TV remote is sleek and features a touch-and-motion-based interface that is more advanced than Roku’s remote. Other than that, Voice seems to be the only other big advantage that the Apple TV remote has over Roku. So, other than voice control this category is anyone’s game.

Sale
Roku Ultra 2022 4K/HDR/Dolby Vision Streaming Device and Roku Voice Remote Pro with Rechargeable Battery, Hands-Free Voice Controls, Lost Remote Finder, and Private Listening
  • Outrageously powerful: Enjoy a lightning-fast interface and channels that launch in a snap with the fastest, most powerful Roku player ever
  • Our best Wi-Fi: Enjoy fast, seamless TV streaming in any room in the house with our best Wi-Fi and up to 50% more range—or choose to wire up over Ethernet
  • Cinematic streaming: Stream in 4K, Dolby Vision, and HDR10+ with sharp resolution and vivid color, plus Dolby Atmos sound
  • Our best remote: Roku Voice Remote Pro is conveniently rechargeable with features including TV controls and personal shortcut buttons
  • Hands-free voice controls: Say “Hey Roku” to play entertainment, control your streaming, power up your TV, and even find your lost remote

Apple TV vs Roku: Five Must-Know Facts

Roku and Apple TV are so evenly matched that it might be hard to pick out some of the main differences between the two. Let’s quickly outline five things that you should know when making a decision.

  • Apple TV is the most expensive of the two by a wide margin. The closest in terms of features is Roku Ultra which is nearly $80 cheaper.
  • Both have a nearly identical picture and sound quality making Roku the better value if you are not an Apple user.
  • If you are an Apple user and bought into their ecosystem, then Apple TV 4K is a no-brainer. The value comes from integration with its other services.
  • Both have smooth, non-offensive UI but Roku’s seems to be a little cleaner. That can come down to personal preference, but Roku takes it for me.
  • Apple features much more robust gaming support while Roku’s gaming support is nearly non-existent.

Summary: Which One Should You Choose?

So, which should you buy? Well, it comes down to two main things: Value and features. Roku offers a better deal all around. It is the cheaper of the two very similar devices and with updates to its hardware and the inclusion of Voice Remote Pro, it closes the gap with Apple TV. It has a wider range of options, and you can still use Airplay2 to screen mirror your iPhone.

Sale
2021 Apple TV 4K with 32GB Storage (2nd Generation)
  • Dolby Atmos for immersive, room-filling sound
  • A12 Bionic chip gives a big boost to audio, video, and graphics, for even better game and app experiences
  • 4K High Frame Rate HDR with Dolby Vision for fluid, crisp video
  • Apple Original shows and movies from Apple TV+
  • The latest hits from Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, and more

Naturally, if you are looking for a place to access all your Apple apps, that can clinch it for Apple TV. The ability to access Apple One which includes Arcade, Music, and Fitness+ is a huge mark in its favor for those that rely on that ecosystem. And Siri-controlled voice command means you can also check the news, weather, and sports all on the same device. It is also worth mentioning Apple includes a TV+ free for the first 3 months when you buy an Apple TV 4K.

Apple TV does offer a lot for its higher price tag but you really have to already be bought into Apple’s ecosystem in order to get the value. For all others, Roku is unbeatable.

Last update on 2022-11-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Apple TV vs Roku: Full Comparison With Pros, Cons, and Features FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Which is better the Roku or Apple TV?

Apple TV does offer a lot for its higher price tag, but you really have to already be bought into Apple’s ecosystem in order to get the value. For all others, Roku is unbeatable.

What can Apple TV do that Roku can't?

Naturally, if you are looking for a place to access all your Apple apps, that can clinch it for Apple TV. The ability to access Apple One which includes Arcade, Music and Fitness+ is a huge mark in its favor for those that rely on that ecosystem. And Siri-controlled voice command means you can also check news, weather, and sports all on the same device. It is also worth mentioning Apple includes a TV+ free for the first 3 months when you buy an Apple TV 4K.

Should I get Apple TV if I have Roku?

So, which should you buy? Well, it comes down to two main things: Value and features. Roku offers a better deal all around. It is the cheaper of the two very similar devices and with updates to its hardware and the inclusion of Voice Remote Pro it closes the gap with Apple TV. It has a wider range of options, and you can still use Airplay2 to screen mirror your iPhone.

What are the negatives of Roku TV?

The Roku Voice Remote Pro keeps the classic Roku design while adding Voice support. Voice control gives an admirable performance, but it is outshined Apple’s Siri-supported voice control. Siri allows you to just say the show or movie you want to watch, and it does all the work for you. Roku requires a few more steps before you are watching your desired media.

Apple TV also offers a much more robust gaming experience than its opponent. In addition to Apple arcade, Apple TV supports steam link so that PC players can stream their games on their TV using Apple TV as a conduit. It also features connectivity for four Bluetooth controllers so local co-op is an option.

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