Though the market for streaming media players grows bigger every day, and with it the proliferation of new and different players (your Boxees, your Asus Qubes, your Google TVs, etc.), the argument over the best streaming media player usually settles on two preeminent products: the Roku 2XS and Apple TV.
No two streaming media users’ needs are the same, and there are those who might benefit greatly from having both, but that’s simply not practical for many. We figure, rather than state definitively which streaming media player we prefer, why not run down the advantages of both the Roku 2XS and the Apple TV and let the reader decide which is the best streaming media player for him or herself?
Why Buy an Apple TV?
First, let’s introduce Apple TV to the uninitiated. Apple is a company started by Steve Jobs in 19… OK just kidding.
Apple TV is a palm-sized streaming media box which allows the user access to content on Netflix, iTunes, Hulu Plus, YouTube, MLB.tv, NBA, NHL Gamecenter, and many other channels in up to 1080p HD directly on their TV screens seamlessly. Because it’s an Apple product, Apple TV offers much in the way of integration for iPhone and iPad users. Anything in your Cloud can be viewed on your TV.
Using your Apple TV is as simple as plugging a power outlet into the wall and an HDMI cable into your TV. You’ll be looking at iPhone pictures, listening to purchased iTunes music, enjoying the 2013 MLB.tv season, and streaming YouTube videos on your TV before you know it.
Roku 2XS – The Best Streaming Media Device?
Like Apple TV, the Roku 2XS is a small media streaming box that offers many of the same sports (MLB.tv), movies and television (Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video), internet radio (Pandora), and picture (Flickr) channels. But Roku’s channel store is a rapidly expanding one, one that can be easily searched to satisfy any interest whether your intrigued by TED talks or just want to watch UFCTV. There’s cooking channels, travel channels, fitness channels, religion-themed channels…whatever your heart desires.
The Roku 2XS also comes equipped with a USB and Ethernet port, which makes it considerably easier to use and more compatible than previous incarnations of the Roku, and it has a set-up process that matches Apple TV in its simplicity. You can even download the Roku app on your iOS or Android device to make it stream your photos and music on your TV.
Then, of course, there’s the free Angry Birds channel that comes with the Roku 2XS which includes a motion control remote. This allows you all the maneuverability you could ever need while, you know, throwing birds.
When discussing Apple TV and the Roku 2XS in a very general way, it’s hard to really notice too many noteworthy differences. The set-up process, hardware, and remote are all quite similar. Even in terms of price, they’re remarkably comparable, so let’s get into the nitty-gritty and find out just how one supersedes the other.
Apple TV Advantages Over the Roku 2XS
Apple TV’s primary appeal should be to those who are thoroughly invested in the Apple universe. If iTunes is your go-to for renting/buying movies to stream as well as purchasing music, then owning an Apple TV is a no-brainer.
The more you’re reliant upon the Cloud, and Apple in general, to organize all of your media, the more Apple TV’s system benefits you. An Apple TV makes the process of enjoying a great deal of your iPad’s, iPhone’s, or Mac’s stored content on your television an absolute breeze.
Roku’s Advantages Over Apple TV
Content, content, content. Leaving aside our gripe about YouTube not being available on any version of the Roku (and, before we get too hysterical, there are ways around the lack of a YouTube channel on the Roku 2XS), the media player’s list of channels cannot be beat.
As we said above, the Roku 2XS is just waiting to bring whatever niche of news, entertainment, or general knowledge that interests you into your lives. Channels devoted to guns, channels devoted to Kung-Fu, a College Humor channel, channels that will teach you Chinese…content providers are practically lining up at Roku’s door, hoping to have their own Roku channel. There are even over a thousand private Roku channels that users can access, provided they know the code.
Oh, and again, Angry Birds.
Like we said before, your personal needs as a streaming media user should dictate which media player suits you. We’ve been using Roku players for a while, and we feel like we’re just beginning to scratch the surface of what they offer. For the time being, that’s our pick, but it’s certainly not to say that Apple TV doesn’t compete. Maybe if we had an iPad, our needs would be a little different. All in all, they’re both excellent products, and surely one of them can offer you what you need.
And if you are looking for the best router for streaming music and video on either the Roku 2XS or AppleTV, FlashRouters happens to have a few of those laying around as well. They all happen to be ready to go with your favorite VPN providers as well for worldwide streaming media content access .
Do you agree or disagree with our evaluation? Do you have another media player you want to let us know about? Speak up in the comment section!