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Apple TV or Roku

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by marty1990, Aug 14, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Still undecided as to what I should go for. I want to get a streaming box so I don't have to use my PS3 all the time. I currently have the free trials of both LoveFilm and Netflix, but I'm not going to carry on with LoveFilm, I prefer Netflix... Breaking Bad and all.

    My reasons for getting each are;

    Apple TV:

    - Netflix
    - iTunes integration
    - AirPlay (I have an iPad and a late 2011 MacBook Pro with Mountain Lion)
    - Home Sharing


    - Netflix
    - More TV channels/apps
    - Cheaper (for the LT version)
    - More features on the XS version (games etc.)
    - Expandable Memory

    So yeah, think I've got the majority of the features of what each box can do... but I'm struggling to choose what one to get. Anything else that can sway my decision?

    What do you guy's think? No doubt that I want a streaming box to use over my PS3, the fan alone is annoying, ha, but I don't know which to go for. Prices are pretty much the same for the Roku XS and the Apple TV. The Roku LT is half the price.
  2. macrumors 65816


    ATV for the Mirroring over airplay! :) Maybe both if you can't decide. The cheapest Roku is like 50 bucks right? For 150 you could use the ATV for mirroring, and the Roku for everything else.
  3. macrumors 6502a


    Apple TV all the way!!
    Jailbreak it if you really get unhappy with it...
  4. macrumors 65816


    Not possible or that would be the obvious route.
  5. macrumors regular


    I've never used a Roku but have heard good things about it. But if you have a few other Apple devices, AppleTV is the way to go. I have an AppleTV which I use and love. The main things I use it for are Mirroring, and Home Sharing. I have converted most of my DVD/Bluray's to m4v and store them on my Home PC (mostly my kids movies). I used to use my PS3 with PlayStation Media Server, but I've gotten the AppleTV to do it much smoother. It has (i believe) 8GB memory to buffer the content so you get no lag at all. Plus for me the interface is cleaner. Another thing I use it for is viewing vacation/event photos taken with the iPhone or from PhotoStream on the big screen. family is over and they want to see the latest birthday photos/videos, they are easily viewable (Never used Flickr but the app is on there as well). And we've occasionally been at home with nothing to watch so we've rented one of their movies. pretty good.

    One other thing is that I'm hoping they'll end up allowing Apps on it. this would GREATLY enhance the product IMO. But as one poster mentioned, they are both relatively inexpensive so you may just get both. :)
  6. macrumors 6502a


    Oh yeah... Sorry!
  7. macrumors 68020


    I would also look at the WD Live TV box. About $89. I have several ATV's and 1 Roku and now 3 WD Live (most recent purchase). I really needed a Slingbox App and I heard that they were close to adding a Roku App so was checking that out. Then they released the App for the WD Live so that make my final decision. I prefer the Apple TV over all of them but it just does not have all the Apps I want. I think an App Store for the ATV would be very bad for all of these other boxes. ATV just added HULU+ which was my second most needed App. Not sure what I would have done if that was released before my WD Live Purchase. Maybe I would have waited a little longer for the Slingbox App.

    The Slingbox App allows me to have content from my FIOS STB on all TV's in the house but only 1 at a time.
  8. macrumors 603


    you would have to look at some Ruku forums to see what people think about them, for instance the WD Live TV is pretty sweet on paper but my friend has one and its very sluggish, crashes, slow to transfer movies to and from the built in hard drive, than it has some upsides can play many more formats, has a plex like interface when scrolling through the movies(which is much prettier than the appletv)
  9. macrumors 6502

    Yeah, the AirPlay feature and whole integration with Apple stuff is what appeals to me the most with the ATV. I'd prefer to only get one box really. Since I live in the UK, the content on both is lacking... Netflix is my main streaming service, though.

    The thing that bothers me about apps, is if iOS6 adds the ability for ATV to support apps and an app store... then how would they be stored? I didn't think it had a HDD, therefore you couldn't store anything on the device?

    Hmm, I look into the Western Digital one, it's cheaper than apple TV by £20, will look into what it can do.

    btw, how good is mirroring over AirPlay? Because the UK version of Apple TV lacks some stuff the US version has, I was wondering whether I could mirror stuff (like BBC iPlayer etc.) from my iPad and Mac to Apple TV, without a compromise on quality?
  10. macrumors 68020

    i have an aTV2 (jailbroken), aTV3, and over the weekend added a roku.

    aTV2 is in the bedroom, use it for Plex and netflix.
    aTV3 is in the living room, mostly used for netflix. (have a mini hooked up there too, so that takes care of plex)

    roku XS, i got for work, (I tend to have a lot of downtime) and to check it out.

    +interface is more "polished" looking (only cosmetic, but it does affect the impression of the device)
    +plays DRM material from iTunes store (not really an issue for me)

    +USB port, can play media locally, easy to cary new stuff with me
    +more channels

    the one thing i'm having a problem with, on the aTV, i put a video file on my phone, and airplay to the aTV, if i have to stop and come back the phone remembers where i left off. If i play the media locally on the Roku, it doens't.

    roku is pretty self sufficent.
    aTV (except for netflix, hulu, and the sports channels) you need another device, wither it be a computer running itunes/airplay, or a iOS device with media stored on it. Or you could purchase from the iTunes store and use iTunes match.
  11. macrumors 68020


    The AppleTV has Apps now. None of the iOS Devices has an actual HDD but all of them have Apps. I think the AppleTV should be sold the same as iPhone and iPad's based on memory. I believe the current one has 8gb. I would like to see 32gb, 64gb and maybe 128gb. Remember most of the Apps would simply be streaming Apps like the competitors.

    Regarding Mirroring and AirPlay. I have tested this but not all apps allow it. Also, the ones that do, do not compare that well to an actual native App on the AppleTV. Also, my need is for bedrooms for guest that do not all have iOS Devices.
  12. macrumors regular


    It does not have a HD, but it DOES have 8GB of on board memory. This is used primarily for buffering though (and the OS I assume) so if they were to open up an app store, i guess it would go there. There is also a USB port on it that is used for "servicing". They could enable the use of an external drive. I wouldn't count on that though since they don't really allow that on any of their iOS devices now.

    I forgot about the WD one. I have a coworker who uses one. He says it's OK, not great but it does play pretty much any format.

    Mirroring works pretty well. Here in the US some of the sites block streaming from iPhone/iPad (like ABC for example), but since they've opened up mirroring on Mountain Lion, it does stream through my MBP. I haven't used it enough through my MBP to comment on the quality, but over my iOS devices it's pretty good.
  13. macrumors member

    I use mirroring to finally watch HBOGO on the big screen. It looks much better than on my MBA and is pretty close if not equal to the quality on the new iPad.
  14. macrumors 68020

    The Atv has flash memory, it's where the operating system is stored. it also uses that to store the media as it buffers.

    it depends on what the app developer will allow, some allow full screen video, some only mirror the screen (if you have an iPad2 or newer, or iphone 4S, anything older, and no mirroring). a lot of the "major media" apps only allow mirroring, since they want you to get it from them if you're watching it on your TV. When mirroring, you'll get black bars on the sides of your television. You'll also see everything that's on your ipad screen on your television, title bar, on-screen controls.

    some will send fullscreen video.


    The USB port is the device side (like what you would find on an external drive), not the computer side.

    You can plug the ATV into a computer, but you can't plug a drive into the aTV.
  15. macrumors newbie

    I have 2 Apple TVs (3rd Gen) and a Roku 2 XS.

    Apple TV
    - AirPlay & AirPlay Mirroring
    - HomeSharing
    - iTunes purchases can be downloaded for offline playback
    - YouTube Access

    Roku 2 XS
    - Local streaming (Plex Client)
    - Netflix, Amazon, Hulu Plus, Crackle, Pandora, etc. native apps
    - USB Port for playback from thumb drives
    - Casual Games

    The majority of my content is movies/tv shows that I have backed up from DVD/Blu Ray. I use a custom Handbrake profile to make High@L4.0 files that playback on both the Apple TV (iTunes) and Roku (Plex). They both look good and I have very few hiccups. Apple TV's downside is no user installable apps (sans jailbreak) and AirPlay mirroring sites like Vudu or Amazon only allow SD on a computer and the Roku's is no YouTube and the expandable memory is only for installing more channels, nothing else uses it.

    Down the road, I'm interested in the Vizio Co-Star. It's $99 and sports Google TV 2.0. It has a nice Plex Client so should be fairly comparable to both the Apple TV and Roku 2 XS.
  16. macrumors regular


    That is correct. I don't know the exact spec's of the USB port on it, i thought maybe in the future this could be used to plug in a drive. Again, this would likely require a firmware update, and the USB plug would have the ability to power a device. Again, not sure what it's there for now. but you are correct, right now you cant do anything with it. Just wishful thinking on my part :D .
  17. macrumors 68020

    Herein lies the beauty of the atv 1 ;)
  18. macrumors 6502a

    Dude you are talking under $200 for both so get both. Best case scenario is just one jb atv2 the best of ALL streaming worlds.


    I tried to mirror my hbogo app from my ipad3 and got a message that i cant do it. I'm a cablevision optimum subscriber.
  19. macrumors 6502

    I'd prefer not to buy both. Seems like a bit of a waste of money - to me - to buy both.

    Been reading about the Boxee Box, and that get's good reviews. Anyone own one? Apparently it supports AirPlay as well?
  20. macrumors member

    Nychot, sorry for any confusion. I meant mirroring from the MBA only. HBOGO on the Air looks ok but on the tv it is excellent. I have Comcast and they too will not allow mirroring from the iPad.
  21. macrumors 68020

    I would suggest you go to the AVS forum thread if you want to learn about Boxee Box. Audio dropouts for HD audio, menu problems, etc. There's hardly ever a post about the unit there anymore. I think it's pretty much end of life.
  22. macrumors 6502a


    I had a first-gen Apple TV box, which I sold and got two WD TV Live boxes. Both boxes currently malfunction because of the version 1.6 update. (Even downgrading the firmware doesn't help. WD says they're defective... both at the exact time I did the 1.6 update?) I do not recommend the WD TV Live at all!

    I currently have two Rokus. They're slow; their interface is (poor); but with the addition of the free Plex server software running on my Hackintosh, I can stream all my music and videos to the Roku boxes. I also have the (non-free) iOS client which lets me stream media anywhere!

    The Plex server software transcodes the videos automatically. With the current-gen Apple TV box, you have to manually transcode your videos and use iTunes.

    AirPlay on the Apple TV box rules if you have the hardware that supports it and don't mind transcoding videos.
  23. macrumors 6502

    I had a Roku 2 last year before I bought the AppleTV. I prefer the AppleTV, but a lot of it comes down to how you plan on using it. For streaming content from the iTunes store and Netflix the AppleTV is great. The Roku is a good bit more versatile, though, with the ability to get content from a lot more sources. The interface definitely doesn't have the polish of the AppleTV, but it supports composite and component TVs that the HDMI-only AppleTV will never touch.
  24. macrumors 65816


    You should really try to get your hands on a ATV2. If you can find one that isnt a fortune that is. 1Channel and Veetle are just plain fantastic.
  25. macrumors 601


    If you get the Roku player, get the Roku 2 XS. It's nice to be able to stream video from a thumb drive.

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