Streaming devices have become more than just an accessory in recent years and manufacturers have released this only recently.
There have been a plethora of streaming devices being launched. Amazon has just entered the fray with one of their own; but competing in this segment is not going to be easy due to established names like the Apple TV and Roku. These devices are estimated to have more than 1 million customers already and are overwhelmingly popular. However, there are several differences amongst themselves and it seems to be the main reason behind competitors entering into the market.
This could have been a major differentiating factor between the Apple TV and Roku, but both devices sell at approximately $ 100 to make differentiation almost impossible. The Roku streaming device, though, is available in less powerful versions for around $ 80 and $ 50. For those interested in a no-frills version, this may sound as an interesting option.
The need for speed in streaming device may be overlooked right now, but it is bound to become an interesting battlefield in the coming years. The Apple TV – now in its third generation – gets ahead of its rivals by offering a 2 GHz single core unit as the main processor. Roku, meanwhile, opts for a dual core unit, but it is one that is rated at just 900 MHz. Hence, the performance of both these devices will be fairly similar.
Both these devices come with only 512 MB of storage capacity and that too is meant for caching the content. Roku, however, excels in this regard by offering support for an external memory card whereas the Apple TV does not provide one.
Both streaming devices support the streaming of full HD content, while they also support Dolby Digital content. The streaming is expected to be slightly better on the Roku since it comes with support for dual band Wi-Fi, while Apple TV users will have to do with just a single band Wi-Fi support.
Apple benefits extremely well in this regard since it can always lean upon the iCloud whereas the Roku device has to rely upon third-parties in order to provide cloud services.
Apple TV right now struggles to even reach the heights of Roku in terms of channels supported. The latter comes with support for more than 1200 channels while Apple offers only just over 30 channels. Changing these channels using the remote is a great experience on the Apple TV and it is not surprising that it has come from a company known for its well-designed products. The Roku comes with a clunky remote that is hard to operate.
Both devices come with support for all the popular online content providers like Netflix and YouTube. One can also enjoy sports like MLB, NBA and NHL on these devices. Roku gets in front of Apple TV slightly by offering better support for music streaming services like Spotify and Pandora. It also supports the latest movie releases from VUDU and Crackle. Amazon Instant Video is also supported by Roku.
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