App showdown: Apple TV vs. Roku vs. Chromecast vs. Fire TV vs. Android TV

“App selection should be one of the biggest factors in choosing a streaming media player, because all the fancy features in the world don’t mean much if you can’t actually watch what you want,” Jared Newman writes for PCWorld.

“The good news is that there’s decent app parity among the major streaming media devices, including Apple TV ($69 to $199), Amazon’s Fire TV ($99, or $39 for the Fire TV Stick), Roku ($50 to $130, depending on the model), Chromecast ($35), and Android TV devices such as the Nexus Player ($100) and Nvidia Shield Android TV ($200),” Newman writes. “If you’re just looking to watch Netflix or Hulu Plus, pretty much every device on the market will have you covered.”

“I focused mainly on apps that offer full TV episodes and movies, either for free or with a standalone subscription, but it’s not a complete list,” Newman writes. “Roku, for instance, has lots of niche apps for oldies, cult classics, and international programming, which I didn’t get into. And because this is my cord-cutting column, I left off most apps that require a cable login (with a couple of popular exceptions).”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This article is focused on TV and music apps, not all apps. If it were, Apple TV already has no competition and that dominance will only grow rapidly with time.


    1. ” Of course that type of consumer is effeminately gay … and will practically buy any and all garbage … just as long as it comes in hot pink …”

      Gee, feeling inadequate much? Anyone as hate-filled, and homophobic as yourself has got to be hiding something.

      Seriously – this is a forum about a computer company – it doesn’t have anything to do with being gay, except in your very, very little mind.

  1. I took my rarely used $20 version 1.0 Amazon Fire Stick and installed Kodi 15.2 on it with the most popular video and music source repositories and now I can practically watch or listen to anything I want and it works absolutely great for streaming up to 720p content using 5 GHz WiFi. One doesn’t need to spend a lot of money to get good use out of a certain level of hardware. To me, it’s more about content than powerful hardware. If Apple can somehow gain control over decent legal content, they’re going to corner the streaming box market no matter how powerful rivals’ hardware becomes. However, I think it really depends on what most people want to accomplish with their streaming boxes.

    I honestly don’t know if Apple is capable of making the deals it needs to make despite its abundance of cash. Apple seems like a really frugal company unlike Amazon, Alphabet or Microsoft. I don’t question Apple’s need for huge profit margins, but that might not help them cut the deals if their demands are too high.

    1. Yes a little problem is that Apple with its traditional large profit margins has created a bit of a rod for its own back if it truly wants to compete in increasingly competitive markets which it increasingly will have to do as untapped opportunities become less clear. Even if it is willing to cut its margins Wall Street will have a heart attack reporting the potential downside for the company while preaching the need for new products.

  2. The best gadget I have bought recently was not my new Apple TV or my Apple Extreme (though it comes second) but a Marantz NA 8005 network audio device. It is connected to the Apple Extreme via Ethernet and to all my iOS devices via AirPlay, and it works brilliantly. A Marantz app on my iPhone works as a remote and I can dial up every internet radio station in the world and stream my music to my stereo from any of my macs.

    It’s not from Apple, but it’s Apple’s AirPlay and the iOS app which makes it so functional and simple to operate.

    I would like to say that my Macs are now working properly but mail still can’t recover if it is open when my MacBook lid is closed – sometimes restarting Mail works, but mostly a reboot is required. Handoff still only works sometimes and never from a Mac to my iPhone…

    Apple TV is a hard sell in Australia where excellent TV is available for free with an aerial and every house, apartment block and commercial building has an aerial. I use it for AirPlay to my TV which works okay for content already on a device, but not for streaming – there is not enough bandwidth on the Apple Extreme to handle both streams concurrently.

    I tried Netflix but it was mostly US sourced content. I watched some British programs I had missed or which had not been shown here and cancelled the contract – the Netflix interface on my new Apple TV was cumbersome and not always reliable and programs would stop, or forget which episodes had been watched or where they had been suspended. When I cancelled the girl at Netflix told me there was a lot more content on their website than on the Apple TV. But that would mean concurrent streaming so I didn’t bother to look again.

    Movies are expensive on the Apple TV here – well I think they are. I rarely watch anything twice and it’s hard to justify the rental price for most content. I don’t know many people who have an Apple TV here but it’s probably more than those who have an Apple Watch, which has been more or less totally ignored by Aussies. I have seen two in the wild and even when the local Apple Store is heaving the Watch table is an oasis of quiet. There were lots of lookers in the first weeks, but I am often in, or passing, the store and the Watch table is always forlornly lonely.

    The business model for Apple TV in the US will no doubt make sense soon enough, when Apple finally does the content deals it wants. But in the rest of the world it is largely a free-to-air model supplemented by Netflix et al. Tivos, or their equivalent, are rare…

    Gaming is not such a big thing downunder – Aussies are outdoors people with beaches and swimming pools drawing crowds most of the year. Teenagers play games, adults not so much…

    Apple make more than 50% of their revenues internationally, but I would guess that ratio is much different for Apple TV and I don’t see that changing.

  3. I think it’s worth noting that the SDK for the ATV4 is still really new and some of the missing apps on the chart have already been announced to be coming soon… specifically Amazon Prime.

    MDN’s take is also valid.

    If ecosystem is the criteria, ATV4 wins.

      1. Roku has a smaller overall app list than Apple TV. While it’s channel app list may be slightly larger for now, soon it will be larger for Apple TV as there will be some channel apps that Roku will just never get (such as those provided by Apple itself).

        This isn’t to bash Roku, just simply to point out that Apple’s 3rd party SDK is very new and already this is where they’re at (overall with apps) and it’s understandable that some of the channel apps would take some time, but like Amazon will be there soon.

        Make a decision on features, interface, or even 4K if that means something to you. But if you’re using app ecosystem, overall Apple wins, and with the channel ecosystem Apple will soon be ahead.

    1. Well how very nice for you, but 4K is still far, far, far in its infancy and 95% of homes today don’t have it and don’t need support for it. In fact, my internet connection is such crap that Netflix falls back to standard def all the freaken time. It’s annoying.

  4. Apple TV is a good platform .. That needed a lot more baking before it was released.
    The disappointing thing is.. It had been in development for 4 years or more And apple chooses to release it in its half baked state.
    Thats not the Apple i know or have come to trust !

  5. We’re loving the new Apple TV. It’s finally what we’ve wanted. It’s improved on the old things, app customization eliminates all the clutter, it provides all the function we need of a TV, and there’s obvious room for improvement and growth, which I’m excited to see. We’ve been in the Apple ecosystem since the early 2000s, everything we’ve collected over the years is there and Apple Music just makes it better.

  6. We’re loving the new Apple TV. It’s finally what we’ve wanted. It’s improved on the old things, app customization eliminates all the clutter, it provides all the function we need of a TV, and there’s obvious room for improvement and growth. We’ve been in the Apple ecosystem since the early 2000s, everything we’ve collected over the years is there and Apple Music just makes it better.

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