All the ways Roku Ultra beats Apple TV

“The Apple TV ($150) has an innovative remote control with sophisticated Siri search, and soon a companion TV app will let you access all your shows from one place,” Marshall Honorof writes for Tom’s Guide. “Compared with the Roku Ultra ($130), though, that’s about all Apple’s set-top box has going for it.”

MacDailyNews Take: Not even. Apple’s TV app will only let you access some of your shows from one place, not all.

“The Roku Ultra is not only cheaper, but offers better picture quality, more shows to watch and better methods of finding those programs,” Honorof writes. “Here’s a closer look at how the Roku Ultra outshines the Apple TV.”

“While the Apple TV’s 1080p video streams are beyond reproach, they’re still only one-quarter as crisp as they could be,” Honorof writes. “The Roku Ultra offers full support for 4K and high-dynamic range (HDR) content, meaning you’ll be able to experience better visuals and a richer color spectrum.”

“While Apple TV offers hundreds of apps, Roku’s selection runs in the thousands. That means more chaff to sort through, sure, but it also means you’re likely to find more interesting niche content, from public domain films to whole channels for cute animals,” Honorof writes. “Speaking of channel selection, the Roku Ultra has one enormous asset that the Apple TV doesn’t: Amazon Video… The Roku Ultra can search more than 100 services simultaneously, while the Apple TV covers only about 20. Apple’s search may improve when the TV app launches, but for now, the upcoming app doesn’t even cover Netflix.”

More reasons why Roku Ultra beats Apple TV in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yup. For Amazon’s upcoming The Grand Tour, we’ll be using our Sony 4K TV’s Amazon Prime app to watch the show in 4K clarity, not our getting-more-embarassing-by-the-day Apple TV units.

Apple has no idea what they’re doing in the TV space, and it’s embarrassing – November 3, 2016
Hulu inks deals with Fox and Disney, adding ESPN, Fox News and more to forthcoming live service – November 1, 2016
Apple’s new ‘TV’ app won’t include Netflix or Amazon Video – October 28, 2016
Google signs up CBS for planned web TV service to debut in early 2017; close to deal with 21st Century Fox – October 20, 2016
Apple’s Eddy Cue alienated cable providers and networks with an assertive negotiating style – report – July 28, 2016


  1. This is misleading:

    “While the Apple TV’s 1080p video streams are beyond reproach, they’re still only one-quarter as crisp as they could be. The Roku Ultra offers full support for 4K and high-dynamic range (HDR) content, meaning you’ll be able to experience better visuals and a richer color spectrum.”

    He is saying that because it has 4k the image quality is 1/4th of that on Apple TV because it only supports 1080p HD. This is so bogus, where to start…

    1. Test 1080p quality to 1080p quality. Who wins and why?
    2. 4k Apple TV does not have. So only if you have a 4k TV, with 4k content can you enjoy 4k content.

    Covering Netflix and Amazon video: Is that due to Apple or Amazon and Netflix not wanting Apple to have search abilities within their content? Likely the latter. He should be out to find the answer and if it is Netflix and Amazon, blame them for not providing a great experience, not Apple.

  2. I hate both Roku and Apple TV. God forbid I enter their UI hell.

    The only solution worth it, the best overall is Chromecast. Fat cheaper, and you never have to enter middleman UI hell.

      1. You people obviously never used Chromecast. There is no UI, you just launch your app and press the cast button if you want it it go to a device like a TV.
        By buying into a Roku or AppleTv you are encouraging the same UI hell and monopolies Tme Warner and Comcast.
        I gave Jo doubt that Roku and Apple TV will fail because because their model is a failed model and I’m happy about that. The best model for the consumer and app developers and content makers us the Chromecast model.
        Well god I hope Apple, nor Roku nor Amazon win this battle as it will give too much power to big money players and we all lose.

    1. You seem to forgive Apple for every boneheaded move they make.

      A firmware update isn’t going to solve the Apple TV’s glaring omissions. It’s an uncompetitive product, period.

      Thanks MDN for finally seeing the light.

      1. Well Mike if you read my post correctly you’d know that isn’t true. Apple forgiven if the Apple TV already is 4K ready by virtue of new firmware. By inference NOT forgiven if it’s stuck at HD. What else is uncompetitive about it? It doesn’t have the same amount of clutter to have to wade through as the Roku?

      2. Instead of Apple being the one who “finally cracked the TV”, it could be the TV that cracks Apple. Something is going to pop in the industry and I’m starting to think Apple will be standing on the shore. I’m passionate about my hobbies, but I don’t see the same in Apple per the ATV.

  3. Lack of 4K is more inexcusable by the day.

    I understand that more than anything Apple probably doesn’t want their product associated with slow load times. I get that . . . . but it’s too limiting. Most people understand that 4K takes longer to buffer and will deal with it if that’s the case. What Apple ought to do is have a 4K option in the default settings that, when toggled to on, sends up a quick warning that says, “4K content may take longer to load depending on your Internet connection speeds. Do you want to continue?” (or something to that effect. Problem solved because you’re inviting people who actually care about video quality to take an extra step and you’ve warned them if they’re kinda tech idiots that it might not be the usual experience. Flip the switch, Cupertino. The hardware ought to be more than capable of it.

  4. 4k not a big deal here. Bought a 1080p tv in 2012 and not looking to upgrade any time soon. Regular cable has a hard time bringing 1080p to the masses still. Hopefully Apple can flash the Apple TV so it supports 4k, but I still just don’t think the content is there still. Same for 3D and the 3D that is out sucks.

    1. Regular cable has a hard time bringing it to the masses?

      I have Comcast, and we have so many streams of HD they have the same channel in 4-5 different places. Cable’s problem is not abandoning old digital cable technology for IPTV. They have created a digital Tower of Babel that even they have trouble with out of pure fucking greed.

  5. Apple TV is one of Apples worst thought out products…. period !.
    Shalow and super fragmented experiance. ….. for the time being…
    its inexplicable to me…. they have had such long time to improve it with a solid and useful interface..

  6. Hate to say it but I’m leaning towards being interested in buying a Roku to see what all the fuss is about. I’m tired of the endless loop of waiting for Apple to deliver something interesting here. The future of TV is content, not apps. Apps are a method for delivering content (hopefully conveniently).

    I used to be of the mind that I would prefer to wait for Apple to do something “right” and “simple” which fully integrates with my other devices…but that’s becoming less desirable in these days of minuscule iteration. I also used to enjoy buying the latest version of every piece of hardware they updated – phone, desktop, laptop, router, Apple TV….but no more. Now things seem either a little too little, little too late, or a little too overpriced for the compromise made for waiting or buying Apple. I can live with waiting a generation or two for most products now (and likely will start doing just that). I also can live with using a competitor’s product in place of my previously loved Apple TVs. The Apple-acolyte love fest is beginning to ebb because they’ve been so tentative about everything other than margins.

    1. the future of Apple TV is not primerliy content…. its interface that allows you to discover and orgnize content …..
      riright now its just a fragmented and incomprehensive

      1. Media has always been fragmented in incomprehensive. But Apple clearly has no idea how to solve it. Siri, when it works at all, is only partially effective. Apps management remains a PIA, and in the end it costs as much or more than other solutions.

        Apple is so focused on tying everything to its iOS app store model, it can’t even imagine providing a superior user experience. And Apple has clearly stopped supporting people who actually create or own their own media. Apple is trying so hard to force users to rent a cloud, it’s completely lost touch with how users live in the real world.

        By the way, Roku isn’t the only game in town. UHD BluRay is here, despite the extremely slow rollout. A disc remains the highest quality video that a consumer can own/rent.

        So yeah, stop waiting for Apple to pull its head out. Apple has done nothing to incentivize content owners to adopt the Apple TV over other platforms, and Apple has done absolutely nothing to incentivize users to buy the latest overpriced white plastic puck from Apple either. Roku and others are so far ahead, I wound not be surprised to see Apple pull the plug on its hobby.

        1. where i disagree is thatu say ” interface has always be incomprehendive and fragmented.”
          my Jurassic Warner dvr interface is way more thoughtout and comprehensive. (Jurassic underlined )

          Apple should have taken that a few notch up not a few notches down.
          its preplexing at best.

    1. MacUser – Thanks for posting that link, I’m looking possibly at upgrading to a PS4 Pro & a 4K tv and I’ve yet to actually view a 4K Blu-ray but I agree with the article consistent 4K streaming is still a ways off. For me it’s only been in the last year where HD streaming has been about as good as my HD blu-rays

  7. Fucking Eddie Clueless Cue.
    Eddie Fucking Clueless Cue.
    Clueless Fucking Eddie Cue.
    Fucking Clueless Eddie Cue.
    Fucking Eddie Clueless Cue.

    Not sure which one is best, but the problem lie with his decision making and negotiation skills.

  8. As I have said here on prior occasions the AppleTV is an excellent interface BUT—– The omission of 4k from the unit is a fatal error as the new tv’s coming up on Black Friday are very reasonable 4k models. Once you view Roku 4k or other 4k BluRay you are spoiled for 1080p which is nice but there is NO RETURN once you see 4k.
    Two years ago 4k pricing was outrageous but the sets came down quickly in price and the consumer adapted them quickly.

    4k content is still catching up……..WILL APPLE ????

  9. ATV4 is junk. The remote is a ergonomic disaster and the interface is simply horrific and seem to have been designed by 3rd grade kids. It’s that bad.

    Should have bought a Roku.

  10. For those of us who live in a more rural area with 10 Mbps DSL & 1080P televisions that are 2 yrs old, how does this 4k streaming box really improve my current setup? There are many of us who are not “Bleeding Edge” and very happy with our current 3rd & 4th gen Apple Tv’s in 1080p and we can airplay from our iPhones & iPads :-)~. Just sayin….

  11. Interestingly, I have both on a 4K tv, but no HDR. Anyhow, they’re both fine, but there’s definitely a lot of crap on the Roku that I could care less about. What I don’t like about the Roku is that the newest OS, 7.5 is being rolled out randomly it seems. The Roku blog says it’s out, and that we’ll get it sometime over the next month! wtf? Not sure why it has to be rolled out slowly.

    I’d also like to remap the hot buttons on my Roku remote. I’m sure Amazon, Hulu and Netflix paid for placement on the remote, but they’re so easy to hit accidentally, which flips you out of what you’re watching. Stupid.

    I think the best part of the AppleTV vs the Roku is that the AppleTV can access my library of music and movies, both on my Mac or in the cloud, while the Roku requires that I connect a USB stick to it. Since my libraries are constantly getting larger, it’s inconvenient to have it on a USB stick, which might only get updated once in a while.

    Altogether I live both devices, they each have their purpose.

    Lastly, I have a couple RokuTV sets, 40″ units not connected to anything but a power cord. They get their signal wirelessly. Unfortunately, there’s no ethernet input, since occasionally the signal drops out. With the ethernet cable connected to my Roku Ultra, it’s solid. So, the RokuTV sets without ethernet are not as good as they could be.

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