Both are streaming devices that can help stream content on your HD television.
Apple TV is in the form of a set top box, whereas Roku TV comes in three versions, Roku 3 in set top box form and Roku 1 and 2 in the form of a streaming stick. People no longer wish to spend time watching a live broadcast and prefer to choose from full series that are streamed by Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Pandora, Spotify and many others. There might come a time one day when this will be the only way of watching TV, with on demand programs. You have to merely connect your television to Apple TV or Roku TV and with a good broadband connection, you can access both free and paid streaming services and view them on your TV screen.
If you are one of those who have already invested heavily in the Apple ecosystem and have plenty of Apple devices, the best option would be to go the Apple Way. This will offer you options for watching iTunes content on your television. Apple has also added many apps, such as HBO Go and others, so it is does offer many services. In addition, Apple TV has the advantage of the AirPlay feature. This is its killer feature, as you can use it for streaming music and photos or videos from your iPhone or any other iOS device or from iTunes on to the television. You can also use AirPlay feature for many third party applications as well, such as Spotify and Pandora.
The Roku Way
However, if you were not in the Apple environment, the best option would be to go Roku way. Roku offers an excellent search feature and the best of content. It has more than 750 channels, though some of them are only filler content. It also brings in many channels that are lacking in Apple TV, such as Amazon Instant for one. The interface is excellent and very responsive. The remote comes with a built in headphone jack. This is a great feature for those who wish to watch television without disturbing others.
Top Features of Roku
It offers excellent content, with Netflix, Pandora, HBO Go, CNET, Hulu Plus and a lot of others. It also offers plenty of live TV options. You can make easy cross platform searches by just typing in the starting characters and Roku starts looking through its extensive library of channels and brings up the relevant content.
Apple Top Features
Though it did not have much content to begin with, it has grown consistently and the updates have now transformed it from being a Netflix player to a great streaming box. The previous complaint against Apple TV was that the content was limited. However, recently it has added a lot of content, with Hulu Plus, YouTube and others, though Amazon Instant is still missing. However, iTunes offers a lot of television shows and movies. The presentation is also excellent, as it comes with scores from Rotten Tomatoes as well as other information about the production and so on. You can also get your purchases from iTunes stored in the cloud, so it can be easily accessed and re-streamed whenever you wish. AirPlay is a great feature for streaming videos and photos from your iOS devices. In addition, you can stream the music collection from iTunes on your television and the digital music is stored in the cloud, so you can access it anytime on your television.
Both the boxes are excellent devices, but they have certain caveats. If you are committed to the ecosystem of Apple, you have only one option. However, for others Roku offers an excellent option.