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

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.

TOPICS: Hardware, Apple, Mobility

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
  • 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

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  • Why Buy Either?

    Use Boxee instead.
    • Won't buy anything until it's 1080p...

      Or don't buy any of them... Why is Apple releasing yet another 720p device to hook to our 1080p home theater systems? I guess Jobs hasn't replaced his TV in 10 years and doesn't see the need to do full high definition.
      • RE: Why buy an Apple TV when Roku players already do it all and more?

        @BillDem - the answer is simple. 1080p doesn't offer that much better quality. plus customers don't want to wait for downloading, they want instant "on", so 720p will be the standard for the next 5 years until the "tubes" get wider.
      • RE: Why buy an Apple TV when Roku players already do it all and more?

        @BillDem Because eventually, Apple will come out with the Apple TV xHD, they will be able to charge $199 for it and call it an upgrade to their previously low spec model.
  • Many years ago there was an argument that to purchase

    Apple was to buy into a company that wasn't going to last so your purchase was a risk. I will buy Apple cause I know they will be there tomorrow and the next day and so forth and so on. What about this Roku? Could Apple just pick them up with some spare change? What about another company? Might they merge or absorb Roku? What is their situation? Do they have any more sources of income? How solid are they?

    Pagan jim
    James Quinn
  • RE: Why buy an Apple TV when Roku players already do it all and more?

    When there is a choice of products, people don't always make decision based on the functionality alone. For example I bought a 600$ TV stand because it looks good in my living room. There are TV stands in the market with more shelf space etc for 100 - 200$ also. I don't have Apple TV or Roku. But if I am planing to buy one of that, I will surely go for Apple TV
    • RE: Why buy an Apple TV when Roku players already do it all and more?

      I agree.
      Apple TV is not like Google TV which tries to make a new stuff into living room. Apple TV is definitely just another STB but Apple makes it special just like iPod and iPhone is special,and compete with other STB.
      Anyway, Apple TV is still a hobby just like Pixar once to be so we will see. :P
  • The key will be the "First Run Movies"

    If a lot of major studio films are available on Apple TV the day they're released on DVD, it's a game-changer. If you sort Amazon On Demand movies by "newest arrivals" the selection is hardly impressive. Of course is all comes down to just how often it's "the same day they come out on DVD."
  • Why not Boxee? Performs poorly on AppleTV

    I've had Boxee and XBMC on my AppleTV and they perform so poorly as to be useless. Too bad though.
    • RE: Why buy an Apple TV when Roku players already do it all and more?

      @willhoyt - but Boxee only performed poorly because Boxee engineers weren't good programers and the Apple hardware was 4 years old. Boxee will run great on the new AppleTV, so hang tight.
  • I use an HTPC nettop

    Very small (about the size of the old Apple TV), silent, and with Windows 7 on it, is immeasurably more powerful than Apple TV. I even run iTunes on it and can control it with the Remote App on my iPhone.

    Nothing was announced today that will make Apple TV any less of a dud than it has been up until now. And yes, it has been a dud because Apple crows and brags and cheers and shouts and yells sales figures for [b]every[/b] product that does well. They've done the exact opposite with Apple TV, even going so far as to call it a hobby - which is newspeak for [b]EPIC FAIL[/b].
    • "EPIC FAIL" as compared to, oh-say Microsoft Kin?

      @NonZealot No one doubts that Apple TV hasn't been a successful or lucrative as most Apple products, let alone the license-to-print-money iPhones and iPad. But let's keep some perspective, Apple wouldn't have bothered with Apple TV if it didn't have a decent margin. The fact that Apple doesn't mention specific Apple TV numbers means they're definitely not selling a lot of them, but it's not like Apple has spent billions of dollars to develop a product that was on the market for less than two months.

      Hell, one could say that calling Apple TV an "epic failure" for Apple is an incredible compliment. If [i]that[/i] is as bad as Apple fails, they're doing pretty damn well.
      • NonZealot just doesn't have any scope...

        @matthew_maurice NonZealot just doesn't have any scope when it comes to comparisons. He also doesn't let anything like "facts" or "evidence" get in the way of his thinking.
      • What does Kin have to do with this?

        So because MS had a failed product, Apple can't?

        Why do you Apple zealots feel the need to deflect any criticism from Apple to MS? Actually, please keep doing it. It makes it [b]very[/b] easy to see when you are defeated and have no better apology.
      • RE: Why buy an Apple TV when Roku players already do it all and more?

        It is not a question of deflecting criticism, you invariant troll. There are NUMEROUS real issues to pound Apple about (failure to properly follow their own HUIG in OSX to this day, the ongoing memory leak in Safari, arcane ACL UI.) The problem is, trolls like you don't know enough to actually harp on real issues. You tilt at bogus windmills, froth showering from your gaping mouths like winter at Niagra Falls, and hypocritically accuse others of zealotry.

        Here is a hint for you. Please list The number of advertising dollars Apple has expended marketing AppleTV, and then justify your use of the term "fail" (let alone "epic fail.)
    • RE: Why buy an Apple TV when Roku players already do it all and more?

      @NonZealot <br><br>HTPC nettop = greatness<br><br>Running a pig like windows on it = lame.<br><br>XBMC on a stripped down Linux (or XBMC live if you lack the technical chops to setup a light linux box) performs better, has a MUCH better interface, all around better than using windows for HTPC.

      <br> The funny part is you are absolutely right to criticise AppleTV... but you should change your name to MSzealot, because you don't get that there are things Apple is the best choice for, things that windows is the best choice for, and things that Linux is the best choice for... a true nonZealot would recognize that.
  • RE: Why buy an Apple TV when Roku players already do it all and more?

    If someone invents a box that can replace my Blu-Ray player, set top box and A/V receiver, I will be the first in line to buy it.
    Adding Roku, Apple TV or whatever other box to an already crowded (for my taste) home theater setup is out of the question.
  • Everything the AppleTV Has, NOT

    All you did was show a list of media outlets, most of which are NOT major players in this market, but are also available via streaming to an AppleTV.

    What about iTunes? Where will you get the same content rental availability to match that. Major oversight.

    What about streaming? That's way too cool to ignore.

    What about being able to hook up to your computers?

    The point is there's plenty in the AppleTV product to attract attention.
    • Have you looked through Amazon Video on Demand?

      @tomogden Amazon provides new movies and TV shows to rent or buy and you can stream your Netflix and Amazon just like the Apple TV
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
      • RE: Why buy an Apple TV when Roku players already do it all and more?

        @palmsolo - but with the new AppleTV it's now easy to play any of your own content without purchasing it. It's the same approach to what make the iPod so successful with MP3's.