Apple TV 4 vs. Roku Ultra: Which is better?

Friday

Roku has been long in the game of set top boxes and now with its latest release, the Roku Ultra, it’s hoping to meet everyone’s needs. This is their best set top box yet and it’s one that many people have already bought and enjoy. As expected, it has the most features compared to all other models in its lineup. That’s not all though: the Roku Ultra also has 4K support. However, a lot of people seem to think that the Apple TV 4th Gen is better than the Roku Ultra. If you’re currently looking to buy a set top box, then stay tuned. Below we’ll compare the apple tv vs roku to see which of them is the absolute best set top box. Let’s see!

Specs and Design

Apple TV:

  1. A8 CPU (dual core)
  2. HDMI output.
  3. 2GB of RAM.
  4. 1080 output resolution.
  5. 32GB or 64GB storage.
  6. 425 grams.
  7. Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi‑Fi, 10/100BASE‑T Ethernet.

Roku Ultra:

  1. 900 MHz Broadcom BCM2836 CPU (quad-core).
  2. Optical audio, HDMI output.
  3. RAM: Unknown
  4. 256MB of built in storage (unconfirmed).
  5. USB port and MicroSD card slot for extra storage.
  6. 4K UHD resolution with High Dynamic Range support (60hz).
  7. Connectivity: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, 10/100BASE‑T Ethernet.

Specs breakdown

One thing you need to keep in mind is that specs don’t really matter that much. After all, the devices need to stream content and they have to do it well. They may have a powerful CPU and a lot of memory, but if the stream quality is not there, that beefed up CPU and memory don’t really matter that much.

Now, the Roku Ultra does have a more powerful CPU compared to the Apple TV. That’s because it needs extra juice for the 4K content. In terms of memory, 1GB should be enough. The Apple TV has 2GB, while the Roku may have about 1.5GB.

apple tv vs roku

The difference in storage between the 2 is massive. The Apple TV can have up to 64GB of memory, while the Roku only has 256MB. This is because the Roku focuses on streaming everything.

The Roku supports 4K HDR, while the Apple TV can only handle Full HD. There isn’t too much 4K HDR content out there yet, but it’s good to know that the Roku is future proof in this regard.

Remote control comparison

First of all, the Roku Ultra features a physical remote that you can also use as a game controller. Even better, it features a built-in headphone jack, too. This means you can plug in your headphones in the remote (the Roku comes with a free pair) and the sound will be directed directly to your ears (through the remote).

The Roku remote comes with a speaker as well. If you can’t find it, then you need to press a button on the Roku Ultra and the remote will play a sound that allows you to find it easier. Quite useful, don’t you think? Lastly, the Roku offers voice search as well, making it easier to search for your favorite movies, shows, etc.

When it comes to the Apple Remote, you can use Siri, speak into the remote and look for content. As expected, the Siri remote can also be used to command your Apple TV. The Apple TV remote also has a touchpad which is quite useful if you don’t like to press buttons all the time. Better yet, you can easily use it to adjust the volume as well. As such, no longer will you need to worry about having a separate remote for adjusting the volume.

OS and content

The OS on the Apple TV (tvOS) has been updated and revamped. It’s fluid, smooth and it’s very pleasing to the eye. Not only does it have HD screensavers, but it also has a very useful Search feature. You can now use it in order to search through channels, even if you don’t yet have them. This can be pretty useful. This means that if you search for movies with Leonardo DiCaprio, you’ll get results not only from the iTunes store, but also from HBO Go, Netflix, and any other app you may have installed.remote control comparison apple tv roku

The Roku Ultra’s operating system is called Roku OS7. You get about twenty five hundred channels, but that’s not the best part. The best part is the Roku Feed which makes it a breeze to bookmark your favorite movies and TV shows. What happens next is that when one of the channels Roku offers has that movie in it, you’ll be notified. How great is that? This sounds very much like the Apple TV’s universal search, but it’s certainly a lot more useful since it tracks your favorite content and then notifies you when you can watch it.

Apple TV vs Roku: Price and verdict

Trying to come to a conclusion on which of these players is the best is very difficult. In terms of price, the 4th gen Apple TV with 32GB of memory is $149, with the 64GB version costing $199. In comparison, the Roku Ultra costs only $129 which is much cheaper.

For the asking price, you get the amazing Siri remote that has a lot of functionality and can help you enjoy your Apple TV a lot more than the traditional remote. If you love games, then you can safely go with the Apple TV. You can download thousands of games from the App Store and many of them are quite affordable as well. Then again, with the Apple TV you don’t get 4K HDR support, while the Roku Ultra offers it. This year, the popular streaming services, including Amazon Instant Video and Netflix are focusing on 4K content, including HDR, so if you’re into it, then the Roku may be a great choice to consider. If you opt for the Apple TV, then you’ll need to settle with Full HD resolution.

Calling a winner in this battle is definitely very difficult. Our take is that if you want the highest quality content, then go for the Roku. On the other hand, if you’re into games and apps, then go for the Apple TV!

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