Roku has unveiled its new lineup of streaming media players, which is headlined by the Roku Ultra.
The Ultra supports 4K HDR video at 60 frames per second and runs the Roku OS.
The new device will compete against Apple’s new TV 4K media player, which features improved hardware specifications and support for 4K HDR video.
From a hardware perspective, the players are well matched, but the Apple TV runs tvOS while the Roku Ultra uses a slightly more open ecosystem.
To see how the media players compare, we have listed their specifications, features, and pricing below.
The Apple TV boasts more onboard storage than the Roku TV, although both devices are aimed at content streaming.
The Roku Ultra does support a microSD card, however, allowing users to expand their box’s storage if the need arises.
Both devices feature remote controls which support voice commands, while the Roku Ultra’s remote adds a headphone jack and a “remote finder” feature.
The Apple TV’s Siri Remote features a touch interface which allows users to navigate quickly and easily.
|Specifications||Apple TV 4K||Roku Ultra|
|Processor||Apple A10X Fusion||ARM Cortex A53|
|Max Resolution||3,840 x 2,160 @ 60Hz (HDR)||3,840 x 2,160 @ 60Hz (HDR)|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth, Ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi||Ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi|
|Ports||HDMI||HDMI, USB, microSD|
|OS||tvOS 11||Roku OS (Linux)|
Both players are ideal for streaming high-quality movies and series, thanks to 4K, HDR, and high-quality audio support. The Apple TV 4K supports the Dolby Vision HDR standard, while the Roku Ultra supports the HDR-10 standard.
The major difference between the players is their ecosystems, with the Apple TV accessing iTunes and the Roku Ultra able to run Google Play services like Music and Movies.
Amazon content is available on the Apple TV and Roku, but the Roku platform is open to anyone thanks to its free Software Development Kit.
This means developers can create and distribute custom channels for free without interference from the company.
There is no fee or subscription for the basic Roku or Apple TV service, and both devices offer a wide range of content.
If you are watching high-quality video with a top-of-the-range 4K display, the Apple TV 4K’s Dolby Vision HDR standard may provide slightly better contrast ratios and colour depth compared to the Roku Ultra.
If you are watching standard 4K content with occasional HDR support, the Roku Ultra is a capable player at a much lower price point.