Full disclosure. All my family devices are Apple (Macbook, iPad, iPhone, iPod). I also worked for Apple many years ago and finally my television viewing is in Ecuador. If you have enough ports on your HDTV and the budget to connect both devices I think you should purchase both boxes. The total cost is less than $200 and you will surely get at least 3 years use out of both boxes giving a per month cost of about $5. Plus the Apple TV Box has the benefit of connecting all your devices without wires via Airplay.
The next statement is going to surprise most people who know me but if you only have a Windows machine or Android tablet then I suggest you buy only the Roku Box. Here are my reasons.
- Many more channels (Amazon Video, Blockbuster, PBS, CBS News etc) to view via Roku
- Better UI( User Interface) and Remote than Apple TV
- On the Roku 3 you have the ability to mute the TV and listen on Headphones connected to the Remote
- Free online support via the Roku website
- Ability to add a usb drive for extra movie viewing
- ***MOST IMPORTANTLY – THE ROKU STREAMS VIDEO MORE EFFICIENTLY ***
Be aware that the Roku box requires a VPN router which i discussed in length at this post
Conclusion: I am thoroughly enjoying my Roku experience and am very pleased at the diverse channel selection available to me.
No sooner than I thought my TV experience was complete in Cuenca a friend loaned me a Roku Box to test on my system. In my TV revisited post
I mentioned all the hardware and software service I used. The summary is below
- VPN Router with Strong VPN software
- Apple TV
- Subscriptions to Netflix, and Amazon Prime
The Apple TV gave me the ability to stream via wif anything from my MAC, iPad, iPod or iPhone. Having a significant investment in Apple products I thought gave me the advantage to see everything that I wanted without the Roku Box.
Here are my findings after testing the Roku box for 3 days.
- A significant increase in video and audio channels over Apple TV
- I like the Remote better than the simple Apple TV remote
- Amazon Video Selection is a channel on the Roku rather than streamed from my iPad
- USTVNOW is a channel on Roku – I can easily watch Football games on my Big Screen TV
- Searching is more complete and easier on the Roku Box
- I can attach headphones to the Roku Box
- Netflix streams better on the Roku.
What would I recommend?
If you have the available HDMI ports I would say buy both. Apple TV has the very impressive Itunes store for unlimited movie and TV shows. Airplay is only available on the Apple TV so if you have Apple hardware this is a hard one to pass up. Also in mid October Apple is making a major announcement that includes improvements to the Apple TV.
- Apple TV – $99 (one time)
- Roku Box – $99 (one time)
- VPN Router – $149 (one time)
- VPN Software- $90 (per year)
- Netflix – ($8 per month)
- Amazon Prime Membership ( $70 per year)