Roku vs Apple TV – Differences, Which is Better & Why?

Usually when we’re about to purchase a streaming service, all we care about is the price and the features. And what other streaming services could serve the purpose than Apple TV and Roku.

If we talk about Apple TV, it is more on the king-type experience because of the price and luxury. On the other hand, Roku is made for everyone out there. Even if you have a small budget, Roku probably has something for you too.


But, what if the price isn’t your main concern? Well, that’s when this guide comes to the rescue. Today, I’ll lay out a little comparison containing the main helpful points which will make it easy for you to decide which one to go for.

If that sounds interesting, let’s hop into it.

What is Roku?

Roku is one of the most popular streaming service providers that have been around for more than 10 years. They have different devices and plans to better suit an individual’s requirements and I tell you, it’s affordable + comes with great features.


No matter which device or plan you go for, they’re known for their great interface and user experience. Once you’re in, you’ll be blessed with a super-easy main menu and large icons navigation. Along with that, they have a huge library of more than 1,000 channels and a lot more private ones. The channels include:

  1. Netflix
  2. Hulu
  3. Amazon Prime Video
  4. YouTube TV
  5. Sling TV
  6. AT&T TV
  7. And a lot more!

The best thing about Roku is, there isn’t a universal plan for everyone. They have broken down their service into smaller plans which make it easy to suit everyone’s needs.

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Types of Roku Devices and Plans

Irrespective of which device and plan you go for, you’re guaranteed to have a great remote control and support for their mobile app. Just so you know, the Roku app can work as a remote control for your TV + it lets you stream straight from it. That means, when you don’t want to switch on your TV or laptop, you can stream your favorite channels straight from the app, while snuggling in your couch. How cool is that?

So, coming to the context, Roku has 4 different devices and more plans within them. Let’s cover a little about each of them. Here are the 4 devices:

  1. Roku Express and Express Plus ($29.99) and ($35)
  2. Roku Ultra ($99.99)
  3. Roku Premiere and Premiere Plus ($39.99) and ($83.79)
  4. Roku Streaming Stick and Stick Plus ($47.92) and ($59.99)

The Roku express is a lifesaver for people who own an older TV but with an HDMI Port. It basically turns your normal TV into a smart TV with the ability to stream channels such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu etc. It is the entry level device, which means it is the most affordable among others. Talking about the Express Plus plan, it supports older TVs with no HDMI port.

On the other hand, Roku ultra is not at all budget friendly but surely the one with best features. It has a powerful quad-core processor and has the best streaming 4K quality among others. And oh, it can be totally wirelessly connected.

Roku Premiere is a great affordable device and comes with 4K streaming quality. It’s pretty amazing seeing the price tag and the features. It is better considered an upgrade to the Roku Express because the only notable feature in Premiere is the picture quality. The premiere plus version has an added voice search feature which can be feasible if you like voice commands more than buttons.

Lastly, the Roku Streaming Stick and stick plus is the only portable option available. You can use it on the go whenever you’re travelling. It also makes a great gift idea for a travel partner. Both the plans stick and stick plus have great remotes and the only main difference is that, stick plus comes with 4k and 4K HDR streaming quality.

Features of Roku

Here is a little feature breakdown of each of these devices and plans:

Roku Express:

  • Easy to operate
  • HD streaming quality
  • Comes with high-speed HDMI cable
  • Normal remote with shortcuts

Roku Express Plus:

  • Easy to operate and straightforward setup
  • Streams in HD quality
  • Comes with high-speed HDMI cable
  • Comes with voice remote along with TV controls

Roku Ultra:

  • Comes with an unmatched quad-core processor
  • Ability to find your remote if it’s lost
  • Launches channels faster than ever
  • Voice remote + TV controls and shortcuts
  • Comes with the fantastic JBL headphones

Roku Premiere:

  • Easy to navigate and use
  • Streams in HD, 4K and HDR quality
  • Comes with high-speed HDMI cable
  • Normal remote

Roku Premiere Plus:

  • Easy to navigate and use
  • Streams in HD, 4K and HDR quality
  • Comes with high-speed HDMI cable
  • Comes with voice remote and TV controls

Roku Streaming Stick:

  • Easy to use and navigate
  • Streams in HD quality
  • Feasible portability
  • Comes with Voice remote and TV controls

Roku Streaming Stick Plus:

  • Superb performance hardware
  • Streams in HD, 4K and HDR quality
  • Feasible portability
  • Search and watch 4K quality movies effortlessly
  • Comes with Voice remote and TV controls

That was all from the Roku part. Let’s move to Apple TV now.

What is Apple TV?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know what Apple TV is, or at least the Apple Company. Apple TV and its devices are basically streaming boxes which let you watch live content on your TV via the HDMI cable. In addition, you can also play games downloaded from iTunes.


They have a very simple yet elegant design structure and navigating is easy simple as counting to 3. All of the devices come with voice search feature and a great siri remote. Though not as huge as Roku, Apple TV has free streaming services like Crackle and the channels include:

  1. Hulu
  2. HBO Now
  3. MTV Hits
  4. Showtime
  5. Eros Now
  6. CBA All Access
  7. History Vault
  8. And a lot more!

Apple TV doesn’t have much of different devices as compared to Roku, so you can expect a lot of stuff divided into not more than 2 devices. Let’s talk about them.

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Types of Apple TV Devices and Plans

As mentioned above, Apple TV has no more than 2 devices, which are:

  1. Apple TV ($149)
  2. Apple TV 4K ($179 for 32GB) and ($199 for 65GB)

It’s as simple as that. Both the devices ensure a great viewing experience and streaming quality, with the difference being the Apple TV 4K allowing 4K picture quality, which is better of course. Both of these don’t allow you to have a USB port, which is a bit disappointing because you won’t be able to stream your own external content.

Just like Roku, with Apple TV you can stream content straight from your IOS device, be it Macbook or iPhone. In this area, Apple TV is a bit ahead of Roku because the casting is much better on the former.

Not only that, with the 4K device, whenever you watch any movie, you’ll be automatically switched to 4K quality without you touching anything. Pretty cool, right?

Features of Apple TV

Here are some of the notable features of both these devices and plans:

Apple TV:

  • Normal HD streaming quality
  • 32GB space to store anything
  • Comes with a chargeable Siri remote with voice search
  • Built on A8 processor
  • Bluetooth 4.0

Apple TV 4K:

  • 4K HDR10 streaming quality
  • 32GB + 65GB storage options available
  • Comes with a chargeable Siri remote with voice search
  • Built on A10X Fusion processor
  • Bluetooth 5.0

I could literally go on and on praising the Apple TV 4K edition. It is just surreal! You will never have any issues with the picture quality because it is literally the best and comes with Dolby Vision.


Both the streaming services are powerful and have a plethora of features packed into them. Choosing one would be a difficult task but you have to. I personally would prefer Roku because of their affordable plans and devices which are meant for everybody out there.

The price tag of the entry level plan of Roku also makes it easier to choose among these two streaming giants. I believe apart from the design and simplicity, Roku has everything Apple TV has.

I hope I could make the decision easier for you. Thanks for reading!

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