Why buy an Apple TV when Roku players already do it all and more?

Summary:The Apple TV looks like a slick piece of hardware, but the Roku players already provide the same capability with more content so I don't understand why someone would buy the Apple TV.

Along with all the music related iPod announcements made by Apple today, they also revealed the next generation Apple TV. At first I was amazed by the small size, ability to stream Netflix, and more. I then took a deeper look into the functionality for the $99 Apple TV and discovered I already had that and more in the cheaper Roku HD and don't know why I would want to buy an Apple TV instead.

The Roku HD is available for just $69.99 while the Roku HD-XR (adds 802.11 n capability and a USB port for expansion) is $99.99. The Roku units are available now, have been through a few months of availability and testing, and in my opinion are even better than the Apple TV due to their huge and ever expanding Channel lineup. With a Roku you can stream content from the following sources, and many more:

  • Netflix
  • Amazon Video on Demand
  • Pandora
  • UFC
  • MLB.TV
  • Revision 3
  • TWIT.TV
  • Blubrry
  • Blip.tv
  • Flickr
  • Facebook photos
  • SmugMug

Just like the new Apple TV, TV shows are available for rental from Amazon for 99 cents and movies starting at $3.99. There are also remote controls (many free) for iOS and Android devices so you can control your Roku with them if you don't want to use the included remote.

Often, Apple sells because they give you the better user experience. If you have tried out the latest firmware on the Roku you know that the experience is already excellent (wasn't the best at launch) and I don't see how Apple can improve on that in most cases.

I have recommended Roku players in the past and will continue to do so to family and friends. So why would you buy an Apple TV rather than a Roku?

Topics: Hardware, Apple, Mobility

About

Matthew Miller started using a mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host with GigaOM's Kevin Tofel on the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned over 200 d... Full Bio

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