Apple TV 2 VS Roku 2 XS

Apple TV 2 VS Roku 2 XS

We compare two of today's hottest selling media steamers!

In one corner, the venerable Apple TV 2 with the giant R&D muscle of Apple Computer.  In the other corner we have the light weight but roboust Roku 2 XS. Does the light weight have what it takes to deliver the knock out punch to take down it's fierce competitor?

Round One: Sheer CPU Power
While both streamers sport the same 256mb of memory. The Apple TV has the a more powerful 1 Ghz Dual Core A4 CPU and also include 8gb internal NAND flash for storage.

Roku 2 XS Comes with a Broadcom BCM20702 which is a single-chip 700 MHz ARM11 Bluetooth processor with a high performance integrated 2.4-GHz RF transceiver. On paper the ATV looks like the winner but looks can be deceiving.
When it comes to real world performance, it's the Roku that can play your 1080P HD media. Apple is only limited to 720P, although can display it's menus and interface in 1080P. For this reason Round 1 goes to the Roku 2 XS.

Round 2: Content
While both offer streaming content through netflix and Apple TV let's users purchase content to stream from iTunes. Where the Roku pulls ahead is it offers many different channels and even games and they even include Angry Birds. Unfortunately for Apple, they decided not to offer apps on their Apple TV. While Roku offers their sanctioned channels there are also many more "private channels" available which can be found through a simple google search. So cable cutters while neither box will give you local channels, you would be better off with the Roku due to the sheer volume of free content available. Winner of Round 2 again goes to the Roku 2 XS.

Round 3: Size Features
While both the Apple TV and Roku are both very small and will easily fit into the smallest nook and cranny of your entertainment center. They both offer pretty much the same basic connectivity which includes Wireless 802.11b, g, or n, HDMI port, and 10/100 wired Ethernet. For streaming 1080p, the wired Ethernet port will give you less drop outs. What pushed us over towards the Roku 2 XS is the included USB 2 port located on the side to play your media from (including .mkvs) an external drive. Roku also has an external Micro SD slot which is for storing additional channels only. The Apple TV has a Micro-USB (can be used only for service and support). Winner of Round 3 - Roku 2 XS.

Conclusion: Roku XS Better Value for your Money
While both streamers are priced fairly close, the Roku XS with it's ability to play 1080p, games and it's superior RF remote simply makes it a better value for your hard earned dollars. We wanted the Apple TV to win, simple because many of our users still love their 1st Generation Apple TVs. The fact that currently no Jailbreak is available for the Apple TV 3 tips the scales in favor of the more open platform the Roku 2 XS. Roku is the current Media Streamer Champion with a ton of free content hosted on private channels, (see our Roku Channel List) and it's nice integration with Plex to play almost any media files flawlessly. This give Roku the title of best value for your hard earned dollars.

While the newest Apple TV 3 offers 1080p HD, currently there is no Jailbreak yet. For now the Apple TV 2 is still available and can be made much better using Plex, XBMC or NitoTV. This makes the Roku and Apple TV two amazing media streamers which can be found for under $100.