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Chromecast vs Apple TV vs Roku – Compare Features, Specs, and Price

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Purchasing a new smart television is not only expensive but is also not a sound idea.

However, after spending a handsome amount of money on your television set, you are bound to its hardware until the television’s lifetime. The worst part, it may become outdated in the next year. One great option to enjoy and experience the joys of watching internet-connected television without burning a hole in your pocket is to choose an external streaming television service. Some of the best in this arena are Chromecast, Apple and Roku. We put these three up against each other in this review on Chromecast vs Apple TV vs Roku comparison.

Features:

Chromecast

Google has developed this digital media player. A 72mm (2.83 inches) HDMI dongle successfully plays both audio and video content on a high definition display. The device directly streams using Wi-Fi from local network or internet. It works in two ways thereby, streaming content to the television. The first method uses mobile applications and web applications. The second method is known as ‘tab casting’. The device can stream almost all types of content displayed by Google Chrome that runs on your personal computer. The device weighs 34gms.

Apple TV

Apple TV is yet another digital media player developed and marketed by Apple Inc. It measures 28mm in height and 197mm in width, with a 197mm display. This small entertainment device and network appliance can accept digital data from various sources. It can stream the digital data directly and play it on your television screen. However, the device does not have any built-in controls. It can be controlled through an external control device such as Apple Remote. The device allows you to play music, view photos, and watch videos initiating from a local network or limited web services.

Roku

The Roku or Roku Streaming Player is a chain of set-up boxes marketed and manufactured by Roku Inc. The device supports both live streaming and content on demand. It includes both pre-paid and free channels. It is shipped with a handy remote, a familiar interface, and is very user friendly. It measures 3.1 inches in height, 1.1 inches in width, and a 0.5 inches display. The device is much lighter in comparison to its competitors. It weighs a mere 18gms. Roku device comes with a remote that is just larger than your palm.

Software:

Chromecast

The development framework of the device has two main components: a sender app and a receiver app. Both these make use of APIs catered by the SDK. The sender app runs on iOS mobile app, Desktop web app, or Android app. The receiver app is a Web application that is executed in a Chrome browser environment. It runs on a simplified version of Chrome OS.

Apple TV

The first device of the Apple TV series ran on Mac OS X v 10.4 Tiger. However, second generation onwards, Apple TV started running on iOS. The interface is very similar to its predecessor, with slight modifications.

Roku

The device supports Apple HLS (HTTP Live Streaming), an adaptive streaming technology.

Price:

Chromecast

The device is available for purchase since July 2013 for a mere $35.

Apple TV

Apple TV is the expensive of all three; it is billed at $99.

Roku

Roku can be availed at a price of $48.90.

The Verdict

Controlling Apple TV is easier than handling Chromecast. However, Apple TV is more expensive, but it lets you do things flawlessly. Chromecast has more apps than Apple TV. However, Roku may not be as affordable as Chromecast, but the former has more apps than the other two devices.