Apple TV 4K vs. Roku Extremely: Which high streaming machine guidelines?

Scanning the cabinets of your native brick-and-mortar outlet, you’ll see all the pieces from Google gadgets to Amazon-powered peripherals you could hook up with the web, plug into your TV, and use to entry 1000’s of films and TV exhibits from apps like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and extra, with a slew of further machine options out there to make use of, too.

And within the persevering with struggle of streaming, two manufacturers obtain boatloads of consideration, and for many of fine causes: Apple and Roku.

Right away, the third-generation Apple TV 4K (2022) and Roku Extremely (2022) are two of the perfect streaming gadgets you possibly can purchase. However which is healthier, you might be asking? That’s a good query, and as followers of each names, we in contrast the merchandise aspect by aspect to see which streamer got here out on high. Learn on to see which one we preferred essentially the most.

Take a look at our full evaluation of the Apple TV 4K (2022). And if you need to examine Apple to Apple, take a look at our comparability of the Apple TV 4K (2022) and Apple TV 4K (2021).

Design and handheld remote control

Caleb Denison / Digital Tendencies

Earlier than we go any additional, from right here on, we’ll be referring to the most recent 2022 variations of those gadgets except we specify an older technology. Now then … Each the Apple TV 4K and the Roku Extremely are glossy and classy streaming gadgets which can be compact and look good on most media cupboards, however let’s take a take a look at every streamer with a better lens.

The Apple TV 4K is 3.7 inches vast, 3.7 inches deep, and 1.2 inches from high to backside. Apple has been utilizing the identical glossy-chrome outer shell for a few years now, and the most recent Apple TV 4K appears simply nearly as good as its predecessors. This time round, the included Siri distant is supplied with a USB-C charging port, too, permitting for a lot sooner cost instances compared to the earlier Lightning-only iteration of the Siri distant that got here with older variations.

Roku Ultra 2019.

Over in Roku territory, the all-new Extremely measures 4.9 inches vast, 5 inches from entrance to again, and is barely 1 inch tall. When it comes to the outer shell, we’re working with a matte-style casing that lets the machine look trendy with out having to fret about fingerprinting it up. And the place older Roku gadgets solely include conventional Roku remotes, the most recent Extremely comes packaged with the unbelievable Voice Distant Professional (which can be bought for different Roku {hardware}).

The flagship Roku distant additionally features a 3.5mm enter for connecting a pair of wired headphones, a USB-C port for charging, two programmable person shortcuts, and a helpful Discover My Distant function within the occasion that you simply lose the small accent.

Apple and Roku are each top-notch in relation to design and remotes, however with its barely smaller chassis for essentially the most space-starved leisure facilities, we’re going to offer some extent to Apple for this class.

Winner: Apple TV 4K

Connections and efficiency

The rear view of an Apple TV 4K showing gigabit ethernet port, HDMI port, and power port, with the Siri remote alongside in the background.Zeke Jones/Digital Tendencies

The brand new-and-improved Apple TV 4K is supplied with Apple’s all-new A15 Bionic chip, which the corporate claims will ship practically double the CPU efficiency of the earlier Apple TV 4K, in addition to as much as 30% higher efficiency in relation to the GPU. In layman’s phrases, that is going to imply sooner load instances for apps, streamlined voice navigation, and a extra responsive person interface.

When it comes to precise ports, the Apple TV 4K is supplied with an HDMI 2.1 connection (simply because the 2021 Apple TV 4K earlier than it) that additionally helps eARC for wiring the streamer as much as your Dolby Atmos-ready soundbar or AV system. Nonetheless, in case you’re seeking to maximize your total web efficiency, there’s a crucial distinction between the 64GB and 128GB Apple TV 4K fashions: the latter is the one model that comes with a Gigabit Ethernet port.

For those who’re planning on going Wi-Fi-only, this may increasingly not be such an enormous deal, however the flexibility to attach the Apple TV 4K on to your router helps to take the pressure off your wi-fi community bands whereas offering a sooner net connection for the machine.

Consider it or not, newer isn’t all the time higher, and within the case of the revamped Roku Extremely, the one factor that makes the 2022 model “recent” is the inclusion of Roku’s Voice Distant Professional. Evaluating the 2020 and 2022 Ultras, total processing energy and out there connections stay the identical, however don’t let that deter you: The Roku Extremely has all the time been a pressure to be reckoned with.

The onboard quad-core processor performs at lightning-fast speeds, opening apps and streaming 4K content material within the blink of a watch, even when streaming films and TV exhibits in HDR. And when it comes to precise connections, the Roku Extremely consists of an Ethernet port proper off the bat, in addition to an HDMI 2.0b port and a USB-A enter for viewing photographs, movies, and music information, with some supported standard codecs, together with MP4, MP3, MOV, and JPG.

Not like the Apple TV 4K, although, the Roku Extremely solely options 4GB of inside storage, whereas the Apple TV 4K presents 64GB and 128GB of storage, relying on the mannequin you buy. And in contrast to the previous Roku Extremely (2020), the 2022 version nixed the microSD card slot, negating any exterior storage capabilities.

At the tip of the day, although, we’re going to name this class a tie. Efficiency-wise, Apple’s A15 Bionic chip and Roku’s quad-core processor ship the products. And whereas the Apple TV 4K’s HDMI 2.1 enter beats the Extremely’s 2.0b port, the Extremely features a USB-A enter, whereas the Apple TV doesn’t.

Winner: Tie

Person interface

Apple TV control center screen.

The appear and feel of a streaming machine’s screens and menus are sometimes the make-or-break aspects for each first-time and recurring consumers. Fortuitously, the person interface of each the Apple TV 4K and the Roku Extremely are simple to navigate, fast to customise, and iconic by design.

On the Apple aspect of the coin, tvOS is constructed for a crisp, clear, and streamlined person expertise from high to backside, with minimal commercial intrusions. The house display is glossy and monochrome (an Apple TV UI staple), inserting the entire consideration on no matter apps you’ve gotten added to the launch web page, with the flexibility to have as much as 20 apps showcased directly.

Navigating with the Siri-powered distant is a breeze, too, with the voice assistant permitting you to do issues like launch apps, increase and decrease quantity, seek for films and TV exhibits (by title, style, actor, and different standards), and extra.

Roku OS 11.5 home screen.

Roku OS is simply as mighty, although. Boldly purple and pleasant to interact, the Extremely’s launch web page consists of a number of left-aligned search and customization choices, with the best aspect of the display used as actual property on your Roku app (billed as Streaming Channels), of which you’ll have the opportunity to see 9 of at one time.

The included Voice Distant Professional additionally permits you to use Roku’s onboard voice assistant to tug up films and TV exhibits, modify the amount, and extra, though the general seamlessness of Roku’s assistant pales compared to the short genius that’s Siri. And although you possibly can management components of the Extremely with Alexa and Google Assistant (extra on that later), Siri wins all day in relation to listening and responsiveness.

Winner: Apple TV 4K

Image and sound high quality

Robert Downey Jr. In Avengers: Endgame.Marvel Studios

There’s nothing fairly like watching your favourite films and TV exhibits in wonderful HDR and pulse-pounding encompass sound, and in case you’re a big-time streamer, you’ll be happy to know that each the Apple TV 4K and the Roku Extremely can deal with just about any HDR format you possibly can throw at them, along with immersive encompass codecs like Dolby Atmos.

HDR, HDR10+, and Dolby Imaginative and prescient are supported by each 2022 gadgets, and Apple’s A15 chip and Roku’s quad-core processor do large work in guaranteeing essentially the most grandiose films from the likes of Disney+ and Netflix buffer rapidly and play with out lacking a beat. And in case you’re utilizing a wired Ethernet connection, you’ll expertise even sooner load instances (however bear in mind, you’ll solely discover this port on the 128GB Apple TV 4K).

The Apple TV 4K additionally permits for immediate audio and video streaming from an iOS machine utilizing Apple AirPlay 2, in addition to display mirroring. If sound is your high precedence, and also you personal a pair of AirPods able to having fun with Apple’s immersive Spatial Audio, then that’s a function you gained’t get with Roku.

The Roku Extremely helps audio and video casting utilizing Apple AirPlay 2, too, plus display mirroring for many Android gadgets and Bluetooth capabilities, though the latter possibility solely permits you to stream music to the Extremely. If you need to join a pair of Bluetooth headphones for personal listening, you’ll have to obtain the Roku app on a go-to cellular machine to achieve this.

When it comes to image and sound, each gadgets are practically similar of their respective deliverables, and except you’re an enormous Apple fan who cares about Spatial Audio, we’re going to award some extent to the Roku Extremely on this class, primarily due to its Android machine assist (as restricted as this assist really is).

Winner: Roku Extremely 

Good dwelling options

A white HomePod mini sitting on a desk.

For those who’ve been searching for an all-in-one good dwelling command heart and glorious streaming machine, you’re in luck in relation to the most recent Apple TV 4K and sort of in luck in relation to the Roku Extremely (extra on that in a second).

The Apple TV 4K is one in every of the most cost effective Apple peripherals you should buy to jumpstart an Apple HomeKit good dwelling community, permitting you to manage and handle a lot of your good dwelling gadgets (reminiscent of safety cameras and good locks) by giving Siri sure voice instructions or utilizing your Apple TV’s distant to navigate to such options. This is particularly handy when you need to pull up dwell footage from one in every of your own home’s good cameras to view in your TV.

With the continued rollout of Matter, a sensible machine unifier, increasingly more gadgets are receiving assist for the brand new commonplace. And whereas the Apple TV 4K is Matter-compatible by a networking protocol known as Thread, solely the 128GB model is Thread-ready.

The most recent Roku Extremely is appropriate with each Alexa and Google Assistant, and although you gained’t be getting these voice assistants with an Apple TV 4K, the Extremely requires further {hardware} for something voice-related, whether or not that be an Echo Dot or a Google Nest speaker.

Moreover, you will have the opportunity to make use of your Roku Extremely as a sensible dwelling command heart by Roku Good House, however it would solely work with Roku-branded cameras, plugs, and different good dwelling gear. And whereas there’s been some speak of Matter hitting Roku gadgets sooner or later in the longer term, no such compatibility exists presently.

That being stated, we’re giving this class to the Apple TV 4K for its seamless suite of first-party good dwelling controls.

Winner: Apple TV 4K

Value

The most recent Apple TV 4K is offered in two variations: a 64GB mannequin for $130 and a 128GB mannequin for $150. As beforehand talked about, spending an additional $20 not solely will get you double the storage but additionally a Gigabit Ethernet Port and assist for Thread/Matter. There’s actually no motive not to purchase the 128GB mannequin.

The brand new Roku Extremely retails for $100 however will be discovered on sale for costs as little as $70.

Winner: Roku Extremely

The decision

The Apple TV 4K (2022) and Siri remote on a table.Caleb Denison / Digital Tendencies

Oh boy, this was an in depth one! Each streaming gadgets are merely unbelievable and provide lots for a comparatively low value (particularly the Roku Extremely). However all battles should come to an finish, and seeing as we’re not certified to do the paperwork related to a truce, one streamer has to take dwelling the last word trophy, and we’re awarding the massive gold to the Apple TV 4K (2022).

With its exceptional inside storage figures, highly effective Siri voice assistant, Apple-friendly good dwelling controls, and zippy A15 Bionic efficiency, the most recent Apple TV 4K is one in every of the sturdiest streaming gadgets ever made, and although it’s a bit of dearer than the Roku Extremely, there’s sufficient in the way in which of options to again up that slight value bump.

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