Seems like more and more media streamer boxes are becoming available. The two biggies are the Apple TV and Roku. So, which is best for you? Depends on what you want to do with it. I’ve had an Apple TV for a couple of years now. I use it mainly for Netflix, HBO-Go and streaming video content from my iMac. I recently added a Roku Streaming Stick, since my latest TV has 3 HDMI ports. My favorite thing with the Roku? Free Italian language channels.
The Apple TV is a solid performer, and if you want to stream from your Apple computer or iPad or iPhone, it’s the logical choice, but the interface is clunky and your choice of other channels is limited. Granted, they do occasionally add internet channels, but it’s seriously limited. When I checked yesterday, there were 35 channels in addition to iTunes store streaming of music, movies, TV shows, and streaming from your Airplay devices. I will admit that I’ve had a few problems with the stream stalling out, but I don’t know if it’s the fault of my internet connection or something in the software. That said, the interface needs a major update. There is no way to customize it or hide the channels that I never watch.
Roku has also been a solid performer. My daughter has had a Roku 2 for a couple of years now, and has had zero problems with it. Currently, they are up to 226 movie and TV stations (some paid, some free), 45 food channels, 68 sports channels — you get the picture. Add the channels (subscription or free) to your list of favorites and forget about the rest. No endlessly scrolling through channels you’ll never watch.
So, which one is for you? If you want to use Airplay to stream family photos and video to your TV, then Apple TV is it. If you want a lot of content and easy maneuvering, buy one of the Roku units.