Bethesda Systems Reviews Roku vs. AppleTV

Which one should I buy?  We review and compare the Roku  2 XS against the APPLE TV and give our candid opinion on installation experience and features. Our technician Jason recently installed a Roku 2 XS and shared his opinion with us in comparison to installations of the AppleTV unit.

Both are outstanding devices that allow you to add streaming video from several free and pay per view sources on the internet and when combined into a home theater design or installation  you can have a truly screaming custom home cinema experience.

Notes on the Roku 2 XS. 

by Jason Baumann

– It’s just like hooking up an Apple TV2 – which means it only has HDMI out (HDMI to comp converter may be needed for older systems).

– Connects wireless or hard wired to network

– Requires IR from controller for third party control

– When you install the device it requires activation from a computer and you MUST input credit card account info for the Roku to activate. No credit card, no content! So make sure you obtain the following before you set this unit up:

– Full name and Credit card information including security code

– Billing address

– Email address

– 4 digit pin that they would like to use when ordering content

Roku XDS 

– Out of the box expect an update to run and setup time (30min or so)

– The Roku interface is a little harder to use compared to AppleTV

– The Roku is bigger than the AppleTV by almost 50%

– Roku did freeze up on me during the “download” process of initial setup. (Required a power cycle) after this I had to “re-link” the account a go through the channel download process again

– Download speeds compared to Apple TV (Wirelessly) are much slower. It was actually painfully slow

– Download speeds hard wired were fine. I would only set this device up hardwired.

Crackle Upside: free movie and TV content.  Higher HD quality than AppleTV and more connection options

Crackle Downside: Poor video quality. “All channel” audio output. It’s kind of like free Netflix streaming. Movies are old and video quality is poor.

My opinion, it’s a wannabe AppleTV that I would not waste my money on unless there was some sort of content I absolutely had to have. Crackle is cool, but it appears to be Standard Definition, and once you go HD, there’s no turning back!

AppleTV is my choice between the two.

Full detailed comparison chart of the AppleTV compared to Roku below: