The Roku Vs Firestick vs Apple TV debate rages on, doesn’t it? If you want to know which to go for and why, reading this article will prove very helpful.
It does a very comprehensive comparison of Roku vs Amazon Firestick vs Apple TV and provides you with all the details you need to make a decision.
First, it makes sense that you are considering one of these because that is definitely the future.
Streaming of digital content like pictures, audios and videos will only get more popular as we go along.
Whether with a computer, smartphone, or home entertainment system… we can now watch and listen to whatever movie, TV show or music we want.
What makes it all so cool these days is the digital media player.
If you don’t know what it is, a digital media player is the device that makes the streaming of digital content possible.
This is an electronic device that streams files from a network media server.
The files can be played on a television or video projector.
Digital media players can receive broadcast signals on satellite televisions, cable televisions, and over-the-air televisions.
You can watch your favorite TV shows, movies, musical videos, sports programs, news and live TV with a digital media player.
You can do all that across several devices, including your good old TV.
Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku are the top brands when it comes to digital media player. They are definitely among the best in the market for you to choose from.
If you are wondering whether to choose Apple TV, Amazon Fire or Roku, reading the rest of this article will help you make the right decision.
Right decision here might simply mean the right decision for you and your particular needs and circumstances.
The one you choose might not be the same that someone else chooses.
Providing you with all the necessary information should help you decide which is best for your particular needs and circumstances.
Apple TV – What Is It?
Apple TV is the digital media player developed by Apple Inc.
It is an entertainment device that can receive digital data from specific source and stream same to a capable television.
This device has to be connected to a HDTV using a HDMI cable.
One of the unique features of this device is that it can be controlled externally using a remote control.
The remote control can either be an Apple Remote or it can be the Siri Remote control device with Bluetooth/infrared features.
The Apple TV Remote app installed on mobile devices like iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Apple Watch can also be used operate Apple TV.
This device was first released in January 2007. It has been modified over the years.
In 2017, the Apple TV 4K version was released and readily available on Amazon and other sites like Amazon.
This 5th generation of Apple TV supports 2160p output, HDR10, Dolby Vision and includes a faster Apple A10X Fusion processor.
“Apple TV 4K lets you watch movies and shows in amazing 4K HDR — and now it completes the picture with immersive sound from Dolby Atmos. It streams your favorite channels live. Has great content from apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and ESPN. And thanks to Siri, you can control it all with just your voice.”
“…4K gives you a crisper picture using four times more pixels than standard HD. High Dynamic Range (HDR) delivers brighter, more realistic colors and greater detail. From the hottest new movie to your favorite TV show, everything is more lifelike than ever.”
The Apple TV digital player plays or streams digital content from variety of sources like:
- iTunes Store
- Foxtel Now
- Amazon Prime Video
- PlayStation Vue
- Sling TV
- UK-based Now TV
- HBO Now
- Showtime Anytime
- Disney XD
- TV Everywhere
- and much more
It also streams live sports programs from NHL.TV, CBS, ESPN, NBA League Pass and MLB.TV.
Features and functionality of Apple TV
Apple TV users can take advantage of the following features:
- You can stream live or on-demand video from variety of services found in the iTunes Stores or the tvOS App store. Thus, you can rent, buy or stream movies and TV shows from services like Hulu, Netflix, Vimeo, Amazon Prime Video, ShowTime, Sling TV, HBO Now, DirecTV, and so on.
- You can stream music and podcasts from purchases on iCloud Music and the Podcasts apps. Also, as a form or music promotion, music content subscribed from Pandora Music, Apple Music, Vevo and Qello etc., can also be streamed using this device.
- You can access your photos stored in the iCloud Photo Library and have them displayed on your TV. Apple TV also gives you the opportunity to download, view, edit, and share photos via third party apps like Adobe Lightroom. Perfect if you make money taking pictures.
- You can download apps and games of your choice from the tvOS store using Apple TV.
There are variety of other features which make Apple TV stand out.
Amazon Fire – What Is It?
Amazon Fire refers to Amazon Fire TV. It is a digital media player developed by Amazon Company.
This device can be used to stream digital content like audio/video to a high-definition television. If you are a game lover, this player also allows you to play video games.
And of course since you can get paid to play games, using this can make a big difference to your gaming experience.
A description of this device by Amazon reveals:
“With access to tens of thousands of channels, apps, and Alexa skills, Fire TV brings all the live TV and streaming content you love off of your laptop and onto the big screen.
Easily find what to watch next with favorites and recommendations based on your viewing habits, delivered right to your home screen.
Plus, with universal search, get even more suggestions from over 200 channels and apps.”
The Amazon Fire TV was developed in 2014.
This first generation featured 2 GB of RAM, MIMO dual-band Wi-Fi, and a Bluetooth remote control with a microphone for voice search. It supported 1080p streaming and Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 surround sound.
The second generation was released in 2015 and features 4K Ultra High Definition support.
In 2017, the third generation was released.
Amazon Fire TV has two distinct variations:
- The Fire TV which is a set top box
- Fire TV Stick which is a cut-down version presented as an HDMI plug-in stick.
Amazon has discontinued the Fire TV and is now concentrating on the Fire TV Stick. The Fire TV Cube is the latest model launched in June 2018. It is a mix of the Fire TV and Echo Dot.
“Fire TV Cube is the first hands-free streaming media player with Alexa, delivering an all-in-one entertainment experience.
From across the room just say, “Alexa, play Billions” and Fire TV Cube turns on your TV and starts playing the SHOWTIME drama, allowing you to control your entertainment with voice commands.
Watch as thousands of movies and TV episodes come to life with vibrant colors and detailed contrast in 4K Ultra HD and HDR.”
Features and Functionality of Amazon Fire TV
There are variety of features that are associated with Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick. These include:
- It supports major streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Videos, HBO, ESPN, Spotify, YouTube, iHeart Radio, MLB TV Premium, Showtime, Disney Junior, Bloomberg TV and much more.
- There are many TV channels that you can access through this device. Some are free and others are subscription based.
- You can access a variety of games with this entertainment device. Over 500 games can be accessed with this device. The use of the Amazon Fire TV game controller will make playing games easier. If gaming is one of the hobbies that earn money for you, this can be really a big plus!
- Compared to other similar digital media devices, Amazon Fire TV offers excellent storage capacity. It comes with 8GB internal flash memory and 2GB of processor memory.
- The following items are included in the Amazon Fire TV. Fire TV Stick, Remote, USB Cable, Power Adapter, HDMI Cable, Batteries and Quick start guide.
You can buy this at very good prices from power stores like Costco. And if you have a free Costco membership or not, you can even get one for cheaper than normal.
Roku – What Is It?
Roku is a digital media player manufactured by Roku Inc. It receives digital audio/video data via a wired or Wi-Fi connection from an Internet router to a television.
The Roku Company started streaming for Netflix back in 2008 and this makes it the pioneer streaming company/device for TV.
“In the first half of 2017, Roku customers streamed nearly 7 billion hours of video and music. That’s up 61 percent over the same period from the prior year.
We grow the reach and scale of our platform by distributing our operating system through our streaming players and licensing arrangements with global TV OEMs and pay TV operators.
We generate revenue from selling Roku® streaming players in retail, through our licensing arrangements with TV OEMs and pay TV operators, and from content consumption, promotion and advertising sales on the platform.
We believe that all television will be streamed, and that all TVs and set-top-boxes will be powered by software-based operating systems that provide a dramatically better user experience than has existed historically for the TV.
Like the computer and mobile markets, a similar dynamic is happening with the big screen TV where only a small number of highly competitive platforms will exist.”
The device runs on the Roku OS operating system.
The most current Roku OS versions are Roku OS 8.0 for supported streaming devices & Roku OS 8.2 for Roku TVs.
It partners with many companies to provide streamed content to users.
Some of the content creators and providers on Roku include:
- Amazon Cloud Player
- Now TV
- BBC iPlayer
- Ameba TV
- Amazon Video
- Compound Media
- Sony Crackle
- CBS All Access
- Pandora Radio
- HBO Go
- Hasbro Studios
- Google Play Movies & TV
- NBA TV
- MLB TV
- Now TV
- The Blaze
- Time Warner Cable
- YouTube TV
- ITV Hub
- PlayStation Vue
- and much more
Roku is the pioneer streaming player for TV. It provides an easy and cost effective way to start streaming your favorite TV programs.
Also See: Ways To Get Free Google Play gift cards.
Features and Functionality of Roku
There are unique features about Roku you should know. These include:
- You can easily set-up an account with Roku to enjoy the services.
- You will get access to more than 4000+ free and paid channels that are streamed to your TV.
- The streamed content includes music, video, News, and TV shows.
- While many channels you access from Roku are free, some channels actually require that you pay.
- There are no monthly equipment rental fees.
- You can add a payment method to let you easily rent/buy movies or subscribe to popular services.
Why Choose Apple TV, Amazon Fire, or Roku
Digital media players manufactured by Apple, Amazon and Roku are very similar but each is unique in its own way.
They basically stream digital content to TV using the Internet. Even using free Internet is fine, as long as you get decent connection.
However, users can decide which unique features of each best serves their needs.
There are pros and cons for using any of them.
Factors like price, features, ease-of-use, number of channels, storage capacity, and models can be used to compare and choose any of these devices.
Why Choose Apple TV
Models – Apple TV ($149, 32GB) and Apple TV 4K ($179, 32GB, 64GB).
- Some channels are streamed free while others need subscription.
- You can connect with your iOS devices like iPhone and iPad.
- You can receive digital content from various iOS apps using AirPlay or directly from the iTunes store.
- You can take advantage of many accessories like speakers, game controllers and headphones for other things like online chatting. These make your Apple TV gaming and entertainment experience better.
Why Choose Amazon Fire
Models – Amazon Fire TV (8GB, $69), Amazon Fire TV Stick (8GB, $39) and Amazon Fire TV Cube ($119).
- This player comes with Alexa voice control.
- It is easy to use and you can watch lots of channels with it.
- This player supports 4K TV.
- You need to sign up with Amazon Prime to get most out of the Fire TV.
Also See: Skype Alternatives, including some that are actually better than Skype!
Why Choose Roku
Models – Roku Express($30), Roku Express+($40), Roku Streaming Stick($50), Roku Streaming Stick+ ($70) and Roku Ultra ($100).
- Roku gives you access to more than 4000+ channels.
- You can access some channels for free, and subscribe to access some others.
- You have to sign up for an account and activate your device.
- Most of the Roku players use HDMI to connect to your TV.
- You can make use of Roku search to access the products and services.
As you have seen from reading this article, Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku are all amazing digital media players you can choose from. They also all come with stunning features and capabilities.
Nevertheless, you can choose from any of these streaming devices based on what you need and your particular circumstances (whatever it is).
The above details will help you compare these products so you can choose the one that best suits you.