Despite Amazon recently coming out with the Fire TV, three devices continue to dominate the media streaming segment.
They are Chromecast from Google, Apple TV from Apple, and Roku. The three devices may be fighting in the same segment, but they offer different features that make them unique in certain respects. Comparing them brings out the best and worst in each device.
Just as they are separated quite substantially in terms of features, Roku, Chromecast, and Apple TV are different in terms of design as well. Apple TV is a box that may be simple in terms of styling, but it is one of the best made products in this segment. It goes up against the Roku, which is also sold in the form of a box. The unique device in this aspect will be the Chromecast, which comes in the form of a USB thumb drive.
The biggest advantage of Roku has been its support to different video apps like Amazon Instant Video, YouTube, Showtime Anywhere, Vimeo, and HBO Go. This is seen as a big positive over the competition that includes Apple TV and Chromecast. Apple may have countless apps in its App Store, but it certainly lacks in this regard. The Apple TV provides support to the in-house iTunes and a couple of other video apps. HBO Go, Disney Anywhere, and Crackle are some of the video apps supported by this product.
Chromecast will primarily be going into the war with Google Play and YouTube, but it also supports some of the popular apps like HBO Go. However, Roku is the clear winner in this segment due to its support to several video apps. This product also gets in front when it comes to sports apps as well.
Watch ESPN, MLB.TV, and Major League Soccer are some of the sports apps available on Roku. Apple TV also comes in with a few such apps, but the biggest disappointment in this segment is the Chromecast. This does not support any sports apps, which will be a major disappointment to some. There is a possibility that it can be included in the future.
Despite being media streaming devices, it would not be surprising to see them used as a game streaming platforms. In this aspect, Roku supports less than 100 games. Apple will be able to stream games through the AirPlay feature. Once again, Chromecast loses in this regard by supporting none of the games.
Roku and Apple TV are also similar in terms of offering customers their ability to control the device. They not only offer a physical remote, but they also come with apps as well. The Roku app is available on the Apple App Store, while Apple TV offers its app in both iOS and android platforms. However, Chromecast only provides app controls with no physical remote being offered just yet.
Despite the disadvantages, Chromecast comes out on top in the value for money war as it costs only $35. In comparison, Roku and Apple TV cost $99.
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