Apple TV vs Roku: A Detailed Comparison

Streaming devices like Apple TV and Roku have become increasingly popular in recent years as more consumers cut cable and shift towards streaming services. 

These handy gadgets can transform any standard television into a Smart TV capable of accessing popular apps like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and more.

But with so many options on the market, it can get confusing trying to determine which streaming platform is right for you.  

This guide compares two of the top contenders, Apple TV and Roku based on factors like design, streaming quality, app selection, user experience, and price. 

The goal is to help you understand the key similarities and differences to make a more informed decision.

Key Features Comparison

#1. Device and Design

  • Apple TV: Available in two models – Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD. Both offer a sleek and compact design, prioritizing aesthetics alongside functionality. Their remotes feature a touchpad with integrated voice control, allowing for intuitive navigation.
  • Roku: Offers a wider range of models, catering to different budgets and needs. These models, like Roku Express and Roku Ultra, generally have a smaller footprint compared to Apple TV. While some models come with traditional remotes, Roku also offers options with voice control functionality.

#2. Streaming Quality

Both devices boast exceptional streaming quality, supporting high-definition resolutions up to 4K HDR and Dolby Vision. However, it’s crucial to remember that the actual streaming quality experienced depends on the capabilities of your TV and the chosen streaming service’s subscription tier.

#3. App Selection

While both platforms offer access to all major streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+, they differ in their additional app offerings:

  • Apple TV: Emphasizes Apple-specific apps and services, including Apple TV+, Apple Music, and Apple Arcade.
  • Roku: Provides a wider selection of niche apps and channels, catering to diverse interests and potentially offering a more extensive library depending on your specific preferences.

#4. User Interface and Navigation

  • Apple TV: Features a clean and user-friendly interface with a tile-based layout, allowing for easy content discovery and organization. Navigation can be achieved through the touchpad remote or Siri voice control, offering a familiar experience for Apple users.
  • Roku: Employs a straightforward channel-based layout, making it easy for users to navigate and find their desired content. Similar to Apple TV, some Roku models come with voice control capabilities, adding another layer of convenience.

#5. Pricing

Apple TV devices generally fall within a higher price range compared to Roku options. Here’s a brief comparison:

Apple TV 4K$179
Apple TV HD$129
Roku Express$29.99
Roku Streaming Stick+$39.99
Roku Ultra$99.99
Table 1.2
Apple tv
Apple TV

Additional Comparisons Between Apple TV vs Roku

A. Integration with other ecosystems

  • Apple TV: Integrates seamlessly with other Apple devices like iPhones, iPads, and Macs. Works with smart home platforms like HomeKit for controlling smart home devices using Siri voice commands.
  • Roku: Works with various smart home platforms like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, offering wider compatibility for users invested in those ecosystems.

B. Gaming capabilities

  • Apple TV: Supports gaming through the App Store, including access to Apple Arcade, a subscription service with a collection of exclusive games. Additionally, the Steam Link app allows streaming PC games to your TV. Apple TV supports connecting multiple Bluetooth controllers for multiplayer gaming.
  • Roku: Offers limited gaming options compared to Apple TV. While some models have access to basic gaming apps, controller support is generally limited to one or two Bluetooth connections.
Roku Ultra
Roku TV

Apple TV vs Roku: Which One is Right for You

Ultimately, the choice between Apple TV and Roku hinges on your individual needs and preferences. Here’s a quick breakdown to help you decide:

  • Choose Apple TV if:
    • You’re an Apple user who values a seamless ecosystem integration.
    • You prioritize a high-end design and powerful hardware.
    • You’re interested in extensive gaming capabilities, including Apple Arcade and PC game streaming.
  • Choose Roku if:
    • You prioritize affordability and a wider selection of apps and channels.
    • You prefer a straightforward user interface.
    • You’ve already invested in the Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa ecosystem for smart home control.


By considering these factors and the information provided in this comparison, you can make an informed decision and select the streaming device that best suits your entertainment needs and preferences.

FAQs About Apple TV vs Roku

1. Which streaming device has better picture quality?

Both Apple TV and Roku offer excellent picture quality, supporting high-definition (HD), 4K, and HDR (High Dynamic Range) depending on the specific model you choose and the capabilities of your TV. There’s no significant difference in picture quality between the two brands.

2. Do I need a subscription to use Apple TV or Roku?

No, neither Apple TV nor Roku require a subscription to function. While both offer their own subscription services (Apple TV+ for Apple and The Roku Channel for Roku), you can access free content through various apps and channels available on the platforms without a subscription.

3. Can I use Apple TV or Roku without an internet connection?

While both devices primarily function as streaming devices, they offer limited functionality without an internet connection. You can access downloaded content or use certain features specific to the device itself (like mirroring your phone screen to the TV with Apple TV), but the core functionality of streaming content requires an internet connection.

4. Is Apple TV or Roku easier to use?

Both Apple TV and Roku offer user-friendly interfaces. Apple TV features a sleek, tile-based layout with some voice control options, while Roku has a simpler, channel-based layout with traditional remote control navigation. Ultimately, ease of use is subjective and depends on individual preferences.

5. Which device is more future-proof?

Both Apple and Roku are constantly updating their devices and software, so it’s difficult to definitively say which is more future-proof. It’s important to choose a device that meets your current needs and consider the typical upgrade cycle for these types of electronics when making your decision.

6. Can I use my phone to control either device?

Yes, both Apple TV and Roku offer mobile apps that allow you to control the device using your smartphone or tablet. This can be convenient for navigating the interface, searching for content, or even using your phone as a remote control if you lose the physical one.

Also Read: Roku Keeps Restarting? How to Fix It – A Complete Guide