Roku 3 Apple TV compared

Not sure whether to buy a Roku 3 or Apple TV? Fret not, we’ve used both devices and we’re going to help you in your decision process by giving you our indepth look at both products.

Comparing how Roku 3 and Apple TV Streaming Devices are Similar?

Aside from the fact both the Roku 3 and Apple TV are streaming devices which are just about the same size, shape, and price $99 that’s roughly where the similarities end. Both the Roku 3 and Apple TV allow you to view content which is shown on your flat screen high definition TV. Both devices have an HDMI output and an Ethernet port for connection to your Internet Router and both have built-in Wifi.  And, both devices come with a small handheld remote, the Roku 3 remote, in our opinion is far superior but more on that later.

So what are the differences between Roku 3 and Apple TV?

It’s the ecosystem. The what? The Ecosystem silly, it’s the term coined to describe all of the various contents which Roku and Apple TV have made available on their respective devices. Our opinion is that Apple TV’s ecosystem of content is closed, only what Apple decides to make available on Apple TV is what’s available (essentially). Roku 3 on the other hand has a rather open ecosystem, app developers can, through some effort, get their content onto Roku 3 and the end user is in control of which app (some cost a few dollars to load) to shop for and add.

Comparing the Roku 3 and Apple TV Remote Controls.

Remote controls? Who wants to talk about that boring topic? Well, rest assured, there are some differences that you may want to consider. The Apple TV remote is direct line of site, its an infrared remote. This means the Apple TV puck has to sit out in the open where it can be seen by all in order for the remote to work (yikes – for those of you who like to hide all the wires and stuff). The Apple TV remote will not work through wooden cabinet doors.

The Roku 3 remote has three, in our opinion, distinct advantages compared to the Apple TV remote. They are: (1) The Roku 3 remote is RF, in other words you can put the Roku 3 puck behind cabinet doors and the remote still works (kudos Roku). (2) The Roku 3 remote has a stereo headphone jack, you can plug in the supplied earbuds and listen without disturbing others around you. (3) The remote works sort of like a Wii gaming controller, you can play games on Roku 3 such as Angry Birds using the Roku 3 remote.

Both the Roku 3 and the Apple TV have available apps which allow you to control the respective streaming device from your tablet PC or smart phones. And, because both work off your WiFi signal both streaming pucks could be put behind cabinet doors (Roku 3 recommends against this however)

What about the technology behind Roku 3 or Apple TV?

Our findings, generally speaking, is both devices perform comparably well. Please note, there are other factors that could cause any streaming device to perform in a manner that you’d deem unacceptable. There are too many other factors to note here but we’ve listed them in pretty good detail (including the potential solutions) in our article dedicated to Apple TV here.

Does Roku 3 or Apple Tv let you access more content varieties?

It is said by many, variety is the spice of life so from that perspective, our opinion again, Roku 3 allows you to access more content. But before you go running out and buying one based solely on that sentence please beware…..many apps and the associated content cost money.  Although you can’t buy additional apps for Apple TV (at least not that we’ve found) much of the content, such as iTunes music, movie etc naturally costs a small fee to rent or buy just like with the Roku3 (sorry, iTunes is an Apple product and therefore not available on Roku 3). It’s just, with Roku 3 there are many more options to buy stuff. So, Apple TV is like a convenience store, light on selection but easy and quick whereas Roku 3 is like the mall, more selection & opportunities to spend your money.

In conclusion, which is better Roku 3 or Apple TV?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Chances are, you’d be happy with either device. Apple product lovers will tend to stick with Apple TV and those who are on the endless quest to find ways to cut the monthly TV cable or satellite costs might lean toward the Roku 3. When in doubt consider getting both.  Happy streaming.