Apple VS Roku Best Streaming Device for 2013
Best media streaming devices for Cable Cutters
2013 brought us some powerful and amazing streaming devices that makes it easy for all family members to stream content from many internet channels and online sources.
When it comes to streaming, Apple and Roku are two companies that have had the most influence over how consumers are getting and watching their television content from the internet. Apple jumped on the streaming bandwagon early on by allowing consumers to purchase and watch content from their iTunes store.
Roku unlike Apple who restricted what could be done with their Apple TVs, instead opened up their Roku platform giving free access to developers to create their own public and private Roku channels. The Roku channel store literally exploded from a few hundred channels to over a thousand currently in the US and nearly 500 channels in Great Britain and Canada with most of them free.
While Roku is the clear champion when it comes to content, Apple recently begun adding more content providers to their streamer. The Apple TV does have one of the nicest, easy to use interface that is unsurpassed and is why it still continues to be one of the top selling streamers today.
Most cable cutters end up subscribing to a low cost streaming content provider like Netflix or Hulu Plus. Since both Roku and Apple TV have this option available to their users, it further closes the gap between these two great streamers.
The 2014 Google Threat
We don't think so and here is why. Chromecast casts internet media through another device like a smart phone or tablet which must be used to initiate playback of content on a TV. Once this media begins playing, the phone or tablet can be turned off and it will continue to play. Chromecast will not work as a stand alone device, and does not come with it's own remote like Roku or Apple TV. More importantly content that it plays is still limited and controlled by Google's App store so we don't currently see it as a great threat.
The greater threat to Roku and Apple's market share in 2014 could well come from a new breed of powerful Android powered media streamers like the highly rated G-Box Midnight and Android-based game console/set-top-box Ouya. These streaming devices use XBMC a popular and free open source media player application.
Apple or Roku This Years Top Streaming Device
If your the fence wondering which streamer to get it may depend on how you get your media content. If you love purchasing and collecting movies and songs through iTunes an Apple TV is a great choice. If you like to stream from various internet sources and play your own downloaded media, an Android based streamer or Western Digital media player may make more sense.
Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon is where most households stream much of their media content from. The Apple TV does not have a built in app for Amazon Instant although there is now an Amazon Instant Video iOS app that let's you stream their content via AirPlay through a 3rd party device. Again, still not as nice as a built in channel on Roku controlled directly from the remote on your TV.
We own both a Roku and an Apple TV. The Roku get's used as a daily streamer and the Apple TV lives mostly unused in a spare bedroom for guests. Roku is our top choice simply because when it comes to streaming media, their simple interface and huge collection of free channels makes Roku the clear winner. If Apple ever decides to open up their platform to developers, and begins offering a long list of free channels, apps and games like Roku, we could easily be persuaded to choose the Apple TV.
We are excited to see increased competition in the media streaming device market. This will help keep prices affordable and spur further innovation and growth. A big plus for consumers as this niche industry starts becoming more and more the mainstream.
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