Apple TV vs Roku: An Epic Battle for #1

To sustain this free service, we receive affiliate commissions via some of our links. This doesn’t affect rankings. Our review process.

Apple TV with remote and Roku side by sideTwo streaming media players face off head to head in this comparison of Apple TV vs Roku. Apple is known for its top quality devices, and if you’re a loyal Mac user, you may love their TV. However, Roku is the dominant player in this category with multiple devices/models to choose from at lower prices. Which digital media player will come out on top? We compare the two side by side including price, features and apps available so you can pick the one that’s the best fit for you.

SPOILER ALERT: Roku is almost half the price of AppleTV, and it offers almost twice the channels!

View Apple TV at Best Buy | View Roku on Amazon

Comparison Overview

We’ve compared apps, price, remotes, connectivity options, dashboards and more to decide on a winner in our Apple TV vs Roku article. Below is an overview of which product won which category. Be sure to read our explanations for why we chose our winner. According to ComScore, 49% of media streaming devices are Roku while only 12% are Apple TV. Why is there such a large difference? Read below to find out their differences.

Best Apps Available

Find out what you can stream from your device in this table.

 Apple TVRoku
Hulu PlusCheckmarkCheckmark
HBO GOCheckmarkCheckmark
NBA Game TimeCheckmarkCheckmark
NHL Game CenterCheckmarkCheckmark

As you can see, Roku offers many more viewing options, which is why we have chosen Roku as the winner in this category.

Roku logoWinner: Roku

Best Pricing

Below you can compare the different prices of each device available from both companies.

Apple TVRoku
Fourth Generation 32GB - $149Roku Express - $39.99
Fourth Generation 64GB - $199Roku Express+ - $43.68
Roku Streaming Stick - $59.93
Roku Premier - $79.00
Roku Premier+ - $79.94
Roku Ultra - $84.95

You’ll notice Roku has seven options while Apple TV has two, both more than $100. Roku is the winner here because there are various options with lower price points than Apple TV.

Roku logoWinner: Roku

Best Remote Control

Both Apple TV and Roku have remotes that let you turn your device on and off as well as change apps. The Fourth Generation Apple TV has a charging connector, so there are no batteries needed. This may be a pro or con to some of you depending on how good you are about charging your devices. Another thing AppleTV features that Roku doesn’t have is Siri. Although Roku does have Voice Search on its remotes.

Apple TV and Roku can be controlled from your phone too. All you have to do is download the app, and away you go. (This is great for those times when you can’t find the remote — or are too lazy to get up off the couch to get it! We’ve all been there!) However, Roku does have Remote Finder to help you find your lost remote.

Roku logoWinner: Roku

Best Connectivity Options

If you are looking to stream content from your internet device to your media streaming player, Apple TV is the one to go with, that is, if you’re a Mac user. You cannot use this feature if you have a PC or some other smartphone/tablet besides the iPhone/iPad. Roku doesn’t have this capability, so Apple TV wins by default here. However, Apple TV does excel at this. You can stream content from your iPhone, iPad or Mac to your TV if it’s connected to an Apple TV.

Apple TV logoWinner: Apple TV

Best Dashboard Usability

Both Apple TV and Roku have elegant designs. Like most Apple products there is a bit of a learning curve to it before you get the hang of it. Roku, on the other hand, is pretty user-friendly and self-explanatory. After a couple ofweeks of using both, you’ll be a pro. But we feel like Roku’s dashboard is more simple to use than Apple TV’s, which is why Roku is our winner for this category.

Roku logoWinner: Roku

Apple TV Vs Roku: Other Comparisons

 Apple TVRoku
Internal StorageCheckmark
4K Video OptionCheckmark
1-Year WarrantyCheckmarkCheckmark
Screen MirroringApple devices onlyAndroid and Windows devices only
Headphone Jack for Private ListeningCheckmark
(Premier+ and Ultra)
Gaming Controller AvailableCheckmark
(Controller option and Siri remote acts as controller)
Voice SearchCheckmarkCheckmark

Apple TV and Roku Competitors

Want to know how Apple TV and Roku stack up against other competitors? Check out our streaming media player comparison. Included in it are pros, cons, pricing, apps available and other key features. We also include a large table to help you compare all the streaming media devices quickly and easily.

Who is the Winner?

Overall we choose Roku as the winner for this comparison. Not only is Roku less expensive but it also offers more options for viewing. However, if you are an Apple fan, you may like that Apple TV connects to all of your Apple devices seamlessly and there won’t be much of a learning curve since you’re used to the operating system.

Roku logoWinner: Roku

Are you thinking of getting a Roku but aren’t sure which one to choose? This video from CNET explains the key differences for each Roku.

Which streaming media device do you prefer?

About The Author:

Kimberly is our home security expert, and has been researching and writing about security and safety since 2013, covering everything from security systems and home automation to identity theft protection, home warranties, medical alert systems and more. She has personally tested hundreds of system components and interfaced with dozens of home security companies to find out what's happening behind the scenes.

In 2018, she had her first child, and that opened up a whole new avenue of security experience with baby gear. She wanted to purchase the safest items for her family.

Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts in multimedia journalism from Simpson College. Her natural curiosity helps her research as she seeks the truth when learning about, comparing and personally testing products and services.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Disclaimer: This website contains reviews, opinions and information regarding products and services manufactured or provided by third parties. We are not responsible in any way for such products and services, and nothing contained here should be construed as a guarantee of the functionality, utility, safety or reliability of any product or services reviewed or discussed. Please follow the directions provided by the manufacturer or service provider when using any product or service reviewed or discussed on this website.

Leave a Reply

newest oldest most voted
You can download amazon go on any iphone, ipad, mac and airplay so the fact that amazon go app is not on the tv itself is pointless. Convenience lost,…sure, but not by much.
You cannot do that with VUDU though.
Quick question on the apple tv. As far as memory, does what you have on your phone use up the memory on the tv? Trying to understand how it all works together. And what if you download a movie on the TV, will it also be on your phone?
I love my Apple TV! This is a great comparison as I’ve always been curious to see how it compares against the Roku since I’ve heard people are big fans of it, but I guess it comes down to comparing apples to oranges right? I mean, those who are already fans of Apple and Mac products will be a fan of Apple TV since it’s compatible with AirPlay and streaming full screen with any other Apple devices (and integrates with your existing iTunes accounts). Either way, seems like you can’t go wrong!
Roku all the way! We’ve been with Roku since the beginning and unlike Apple, streaming media is all the company does (i.e. they are more focused). It will be interesting to see how long Apple sticks around. A friend has Apple, and while the interface is smooth, the lack of music services (Spotify and Pandora) is really frustrating!