We may earn money when you click our links. Learn more

The New Apple TV vs. Roku 4: Which Deserves Your Dollars?

Apple announced a new Apple TV, and Roku followed suit with the Roku 4. Which is better? Here's an in-depth look at the new Apple TV vs. Roku 4.

When Apple announced their new Apple TV in September, the streaming world took notice. The new Apple TV was faster and sleeker than its predecessor. It integrated Siri for cross-platform search, and an app store opened to third-party developers. The remote would now double as a game controller, which along with the new app store, continues to bring speculation that the new Apple TV will compete with the Wii as a family gaming option.

It all sounded (and looked) great, but it dawned on me that when you consider the Apple TV vs. Roku 3, well, honestly it didn’t seem like Apple upped the game very much. Consider the main features Apple is touting:

  • Your remote doubles as a gaming controller–Roku 3’s remote already does this. Albeit the game selection leaves much to be desired, but the controller function is there.
  • Voice search with Siri–Roku 3 already does this across multiple apps, including Netflix.
  • Allow developers to create apps for Apple TV–Roku 3 already allows this and has over 2000 channels.

Yes, the new Apple TV is going to be flashier and faster than the Roku 3, but when you put them side-by-side, Apple TV vs. Roku 3, does it really warrant the $50-$100 price difference (the Roku 3 retails for $99, and the new Apple TV will retail at $149 for the 32 GB and $199 for the 64 GB)?


Enter Roku 4

With the new Apple TV barely having the edge in the Apple TV vs. Roku 3 debate, you have to think Apple execs are a bit worried about Roku’s latest announcement: Roku 4 will be released on October 21, 2015 (you can pre-order yours now on Amazon).

That means the conversation is shifting away from Apple TV vs. Roku 3, and is now forcing the new Apple TV to face off against the brand new Roku 4.

As you can imagine, the Roku 4 is coming with some significant upgrades, boasting (most importantly) 4K video support and a new faster operating system. There are also some cool features like the new “Find My Remote” feature. All of this and more with a $129 price tag.

Let’s take a closer look at the new Apple TV vs. Roku 4 in the chart below.


The New Apple TV vs. Roku 4 Side-by-Side Comparison


Roku Wins Again with Roku 4

When you put them side-by-side, it’s pretty clear that the Roku 4 has the edge in most categories. The only place the new Apple TV wins out seem to be RAM. And even though you can’t tell from the chart, I think it’s safe to say that the gaming experience on Apple TV will be way better than on Roku 4, unless Roku does something drastic to change the way they’ve done things thus far (hey, the game selections on Roku 3 is abysmal).

On the other hand, Roku will continue to offer the same user experience that has made it the number one streaming player on the market, only upgraded. You’ll get 4K support, the ability to find your remote, and more.

Sure there will be Apple enthusiasts who swear by the new Apple TV. They’ll love talking to Siri and be mesmerized by the user interface. But more than anything, it seems the new Apple TV is a prettier, more expensive, potentially lesser version of its competition.

So in my best announcer’s voice, “The winner of Apple TV vs. Roku 4… and NEW, UNDISPUTED STREAMING BOX CHAMPION…THE ROKU 4 !!!”

Interested in trying out the Roku 4? It’s available for pre-order now on Amazon.

Do you agree that Roku will continue to win the Apple TV vs. Roku battle? Discuss in the comments below!

This site is a U.S. Consumer site. You can learn more about our site and privacy policy here.