Can anyone honestly compare the AT4 to the new Amazon fire tv, Roku 4 etc?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by lsutigerfan1976, Nov 1, 2015.

  1. lsutigerfan1976 macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    I really do not want to get into an Apple sucks thread and all that. I just want some honest options of anyone who may have both boxes. And what they feel the Amazon box does better than the Apple TV. I do know about how Amazon sort of favors Amazon content. And that for now search is even more limited with Amazon. But besides that, I would like some opinions of good and bad of both. Maybe even some opinions of the new Roku also. I am thinking of trying one of the other ones out. But I wanted to see what this board feels about the other boxes. In compared to the AT4.
  2. BenedictJT macrumors newbie

    Nov 21, 2013
    Hi, I currently own the 2nd and 3rd gen Apple TVs, and the first gen Fire TV (so not the recent update that supports 4K). I'm also based in the UK and so my comments reflect what is available here. The Fire TV has become a really popular thing in our household - but you definitely need a Prime membership to get the most out of it as the whole experience is designed to push Amazon content. The Pro's - very responsive; reasonable price; Netflix, Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, YouTube apps all work well; voice search works but only for Amazon content; runs Plex and so can easily stream my other media; you can side load XBMC and so lots of flexibility there; I find the audio and visual quality is great as well. Cons - as an Apple user there is obviously no route in to Apple services and so we flick across to the 3rd gen Apple TV if we want to rent something from the Apple Store; plus there are apps and games but quality of them varies hugely. I think what appeals most with the 4th Gen Apple TV are things like the Universal Search which, assuming Amason ever do release their Prime Movies app to that platform, makes the idea of finding content a lot easier across all these different streaming services.
  3. thisismyusername, Nov 1, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2015

    thisismyusername macrumors 6502

    Nov 1, 2015
    I can't compare the AppleTV 4 but we do have 3 AppleTV 3s and a Roku 4 so I can compare those. We're happy with the Roku 4 and haven't had any problems with it. The UI is fast and responsive and looks nice. Stuff starts playing very quickly. Voice search seems to work well but I only tried it a few times. Honestly, I don't see myself using that feature a whole lot, and I wouldn't doubt it if Siri works better, but it's still cool.

    I don't think the new AppleTV sucks at all. It seems like a nice device that has a lot of potential thanks to the app store. I chose a Roku 4 over an AppleTV 4 because of the first 3 reasons I list below although I'm not opposed to getting an AppleTV 4 as well in the future if there turns out to be tons of support for the app store.

    Upsides of the Roku 4:
    * Amazon Prime. I think the only way Amazon will ever bring this to the AppleTV 4 is if their Fire TV device fails and they decide to get out of that business. Sure, you can AirPlay it but I much prefer using a native app. Just like I don't expect an iTunes app on the Fire TV, I don't expect a Prime app on the AppleTV. They're very much competitors and they're both trying to own the living room right now. No Prime support was always my biggest complaint about the AppleTV 3.
    * 4K support. Yes, it's true there isn't exactly a whole lot of 4K content yet so lots of people might not care about this but more will come. It's a nice feature for those of us who do have 4K TVs and don't want to use the TV's built-in apps (which suck on my TV). Supporting 4K at 60Hz is a nice bonus but just about any 4k content I'd care about would be at 24 or 30 hz so I wouldn't choose a Roku over a FireTV just for 60Hz support.
    * The device doesn't try to steer you toward any particular content provider. It's agnostic.
    * It has an optical audio port. I don't use it but it's a nice feature for those that need it. I certainly get why some are upset at Apple for removing it. Roku removed it from the Roku 3 and brought it back because so many people complained about it.
    * Slightly cheaper than the AppleTV
    * Sling TV support although I don't currently use it. I think whether or not this comes to the AppleTV will depend on how well it sells and if the market demands it.

    Downsides of the Roku 4:
    * It has a fan inside it but I honestly can't hear it unless I put my ear within 1 to 2 feet of it. It's certainly much quieter than any HTPC that I've used in the past. Still though, having a fan means there's a chance the device could overheat and break if/when the fan stops working. Some have complained about fan noise but I think they have defective units. I also saw a report about it getting too hot but mine doesn't get hot at all.
    * The UI is not as refined as something you'd find on an Apple device but it's certainly usable.
    * Searching seems to work well, however, it will most likely never be able to search your local Plex library. The Plex developers say it's because the Roku can only search cloud services and not local content. While they didn't mention other specific devices, they did say the Roku is not the only device that works like this. I wonder if the AppleTV is the same.
    * Ads on the home screen. Yes, it's lame but they don't bother us.
    * No 24Hz support nor is there support for bit streaming HD codecs but I didn't expect a device like this to support those things. I don't expect the AppleTV 4 to ever support these things either. I'll probably build an HTPC just for plex so I can have these things since they are important to me.
    * No access to iTunes content obviously but we don't purchase movies/tv shows off iTunes because we don't want to be locked into Apple.

    There are probably more pros/cons but those are the ones I noticed so far.

    The big reasons to go with the AppleTV are iTunes content and the potential for the app store. We still keep the AppleTV 3 hooked up in case we want to use iTunes. If the app store winds up truly becoming some revolutionary thing that provides apps you can't get anywhere else, then we'll consider getting an AppleTV 4 as well. However, I can't help but think that any must-have app that's on the AppleTV 4 (aside from iTunes obviously) will most likely make its way to the Roku/FireTV/etc. I do, however, think the AppleTV has more opportunities for casual gaming but I have more than enough ways to satisfy my video gaming needs at the moment and iOS gaming in general never really interested me all that much.

    Airplay is another reason to pick an AppleTV over a Roku but we still have an AppleTV 3 for that. Plus, some of Roku's apps do actually support the same thing. So far, I've only tried it with the YouTube app and it worked great.

    I'm not going to get into the remote controls. I don't really care about the remotes that come with devices like this since I use a URC MX-890 for everything. Things like HDMI-CEC are nice and all but if you have more than one device, a good old fashioned universal remote (ideally with RF support) is still the way to go. One thing I will say about the Roku remote is that I like that it has a dedicated home button and buttons for several of its channels, all of which I have my URC remote programmed to use (you can get the codes from since the included remote is RF only).

    So, for me at least, the Roku 4 is the better device but that doesn't mean the Roku 4 is the better device for everybody. If you're heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem, the AppleTV will be the better device.
  4. lsutigerfan1976 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    Thank you both. I just wanted some honest opinions from those out there who have used several different devices.
  5. Rigby macrumors 601

    Aug 5, 2008
    San Jose, CA
    Get the Apple TV if you want to play iTunes content or use Airplay from iOS/OS X devices, or believe you will need apps (mostly casual games) in the future. For all other things the Roku works just as well. If you don't need 4K and voice search, you may even go with a Roku 2 (the 2015 version is just as fast as the Roku 3), which costs less than half as much as the 32GB Apple TV. IMO the new Apple TV compares more to Roku 3 and the previous version of the Fire TV due to the lack of 4K support.
  6. normanfox macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2014
    I have ATV 3, 4 and Nvidia shield (Android TV). I prefer to stay away from Roku and Amazon since Apple and Google TV Ecosystems will dominate like Mobile ecosystems. Because of developing cost. Developers will have to pick which platforms they will support. Soon ATV and Goole TV will have more app than Amazon and Roku.

    Moreover, Amazon cant compete against Apple in hardware since their core business is retail. Good examples are Fire phone and tablet. I am talking about long term here.

    In term of software, Amazon and Ruko cant compete either. They can in a sprint, not marathon.
  7. richpjr macrumors 68030


    May 9, 2006
    I just replaced my ATV3 with an ATV4 and the lack of an Amazon Prime app remains a sore point (regardless of whose fault it is). I am thinking of picking up one of the new Fire TVs as a complementary device as that would cover most things I stream, but it seems really dumb to have to have 2 devices to do this. Since Amazon won't even sell the ATV any more I guess I shouldn't expect a Prime app for the ATV anytime soon.
  8. Pagemakers macrumors 68020


    Mar 28, 2008
    Manchester UK
    I had ATV3 and sold it for Amazon Fire TV. For me the Fire TV is a far better product. Does everything ATV does and much more.

    I now have an ATV4 now as well.

    Currently looking over at my TV cabinet and the AFTV is plugged in and the ATV4 is not.

    Speaks volumes I guess.
  9. Jaro65 macrumors 68040


    Mar 27, 2009
    Seattle, WA

    "For me the Fire TV is a far better product. Does everything ATV does and much more."

    So you're saying you're playing all of your iTunes audio and video content on Amazon Fire TV? Also, you can AirPlay content from your iPhone and iPad?
  10. Pagemakers macrumors 68020


    Mar 28, 2008
    Manchester UK
    Yep. Video. TV shows. Music. Photos and much more.

    Via Plex.
  11. rexboe macrumors regular


    Mar 19, 2012
    I have the Roku 4 because it does 4k and I have a 4k TV Great picture with it. It will also do Amazon Prime Video which Apple doesn't do.
  12. MH01 Suspended


    Feb 11, 2008
    Have the Amazon firestick and ATV4.

    £169 v £35 ( prime sale) , the firestick is a much better product, mainly cause it has plex and you can install KODI.

    I expect the ATV4 to catch up with a few software updates and when apps are added. Though until it's jailbroken and can run KODI, the Amazon firestick has a big advantage in my opinion and ability to play content off my NAS
  13. scottct1 macrumors regular


    Jun 7, 2012
    Connecticut USA
    I have all 3 (well had... more on that in a moment)

    I would rate the new Apple TV second behind the Roku 4. The Roku 4 has a whole lot more plus supports 4K video. My Roku 4 does have one issue I am keeping an eye on, and that is sometimes (when I am not even using it) the fan kicks in and is loud like a mini plane is in my room getting ready to take off. For 4K content I am actually surprised how much there is out there. More then I would have imagined.

    In third I would rate the Amazon Fire TV, which I just sent back. It was very buggy wouldn't support Dolby Digital in some apps and wouldn't play 4K from YouTube. I was (and am) a fan of the first generation of the Fire TV, but this new version is a huge disappointment.

    The Apple TV while disappointing at this point due to lack of apps, I believe that will soon be a non issue. I can only help the layout is improved and the app store is easier to find things on.
  14. MH01 Suspended


    Feb 11, 2008
    Though ATV does not have better hardware.

    As far as setup boxes go , apple is behind the others with software right now. I have to unplug my atv4 and plug in my firestick to watch the content I own..... In time I hope the ATV will allow me to play continent directly off my NAS . Right now it's used just for Netflix ....
  15. normanfox macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2014
    That was why I said "long term"

    Android phone always have better spect: More RAM, memory slot, etc but iPhone (software and hardware together) work smoother.
  16. MH01 Suspended


    Feb 11, 2008
    You said Amazon cannot compare hardware wise against apple. First generation fire stick and fire TV are more solid products than ATV3, and ATV4 .

    I agree with you in relation to iPhone or iPad , though this is the 4th generation Apple TV, and it's still behind the curve. The ATV is no iPhone in the industry.

    I'm not sure what long term means to you, but it has Already been a very very long time for us, meaning many have choose an alternative , and the ATV4 is not winning these people back.

    FYI my iPhone 6 Plus, was the worst phone I owned from apple due to 1GB ram, constant crashes due to memory.
  17. TurboPGT! Suspended

    Sep 25, 2015
    4K is completely meaningless. So is this thread.
  18. fortheus macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2012
    I own roku 3 and apple tv 4.
    Here's my personal opinion

    A traditional tv box act as extension of your "dumb tv" with lots of channel but most of them doesn't really works or executed badly.

    Example, roku has cnbc channel but it only show few videos.

    After sales support warranty also bad. I got my roku 3 die within 9 months, when they send return, they gave me wrong adapter!

    Wifi direct used to connect the remote also somehow interfere with my home wifi reducing range and speed to certain area of my house.

    You also cannot make the device sleep or turn off your tv or control the volume using roku remote.

    Apple TV4:
    If you compare apple tv 3 with roku, I choose roku any day as it's only limited to "channel". Just like roku while roku have better channel options.

    BUT, apple tv4 with apps change the playing field.

    The apple remote can control your tv and volume.

    The touch control took some learning curve. The way to scroll is like using a mouse instead of touch. It control the cursor that select the apps instead of moving the apps into the cursor. I'm so used to the way my mac scrolls and touch navigation on iOS. Anyway, that's the point of touch interface right? It allow us to deal with the object, not cursor.

    App store is still limited and finding apps with typing with on screen keyboard is painful. But this can be solved with software updates.

    App size limitation is pain in the ass as well. It took me 10 minutes to download the content when move level for playing asphalt 8

    I bought it on day 1, because my roku is acting weird. If you already have some tv box, it can wait for another year till the os and app ecosystem mature a bit
  19. bruinsrme macrumors 603


    Oct 26, 2008
    For me Amazon supports 4K.
    ATV 4 has NHL and provides a great interlacing of their products.

    If I had to chose between one or the other and had a 4K I would buy both.

    If I had to chose between one or the other and had a 1080p tv I would buy the ATV and AirPlay Amazon content.
  20. bruinsrme macrumors 603


    Oct 26, 2008
    Why it is meaningless?
    GoPro videos, iPhone videos and there is content available.
  21. normanfox macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2014
    ATV has been in "hobby" status. This is basically the first version that is no longer a hobby. tvOS with its app store will set a foundation for innovation.

    Developers will stand behind ATV app store. Both Roku and Amazon will not have this kind of support as time goes on.
    Beside app store, Apple also has ultimate weapons to make ATV a complete package: iphone, ipad, watch, Macbook. they will work together seamlessly with continuity. Amazon/Roku don't have any of these to their arsenal.

    look like you are not happy with apple products (not just ATV). you can try the other sides. We'll welcome you back if grass is not greener on the other sides.
  22. ckny macrumors newbie

    Dec 4, 2006
    I'm very surprised at all of the love for the Amazon devices in this thread. I had a ATV2 and first gen Fire TV along with a fire tv stick. Currently added ATV4 to the mix. All the fire hardware has going for it imo is price. The stick shouldn't even be sold, it's so slow. The fire tv box is much faster but the interface is odd and nothing meaningful has changed/improved since launch except more ads. I use Plex every day on it and it's many versions behind and buggy. Not necessarily Amazons fault but reflective of the app situation there. Many apps are buggy and seem like afterthoughts (watch Disney Jr. Barely loads) and notable omissions for me, like NFL. Probably not a surprise given its a fork.

    I think within 90 days the ATV4 App Store will make amazons look obsolete. I fully expect that going forward devs will put all resources towards android and iOS... Not unlike how mobile is playing out.
  23. normanfox macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2014
    it is almost the same on Google TV app store. it has been out for over a year already but apps are few and buggy. Apple just came out yesterday and they already made a big splash with apps.
  24. Rigby macrumors 601

    Aug 5, 2008
    San Jose, CA
    They did? So far, it's almost impossible to find anything in the app store, and most of it is pretty crappy anyway. In some developer forums you can read that many developers are p*ssed at Apple because of how difficult is to find their apps.

    I'm not so sure that the tvOS app store will be any more successful than Amazon's or Google's. It will all depend on the revenue numbers. The Apple TV is not a mega-seller like the iOS devices, so earning serious money with apps will be a lot harder. One thing that might work in favor of the app store is that developers can release tvOS apps as "universal apps" along with their iOS counter parts. While this won't directly earn them additional revenue (since they can't charge extra for the tvOS version), it could be a selling point for the iOS version.
  25. normanfox, Nov 1, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2015

    normanfox macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2014
    Do you have Google TV? I have Nvidia Shield, Nexus player, and ATV 4. Grass is not greener on the other side.

    The reason I still use Google TV is because of Kodi app that Only Google Play Store allows.

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