If you have been trying to figure out the best way to watch the digital movies and TV shows to which you own or have a subscription, then you have likely encountered both the Roku LT and the Apple TV. Both devices give you numerous options for watching digital content, but there are some substantial differences between both of them.
Continue reading below to learn about the best reasons to buy either device so that you can make the best purchasing decision for your situation.
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(audio only w/AirPlay)
(audio only w/AirPlay)
(via AirPlay only)
|Local content streaming||Plex||iTunes Home Sharing|
|Composite video connection||Yes||No|
|Check prices on Amazon||Check prices on Amazon|
As you can see from the information above, there are a couple of areas where one device clearly outshines the other. We will highlight some of those areas as we some up the pros of each device below.
Pros of the Roku LT
The most obvious benefit that the Roku LT has going for it is its’ price. You can routinely find the Roku LT for less than half of the price of the Apple TV. For a lot of shoppers, this factor is the most important one and makes this an easy decision.
But the Roku LT is a lot more than just a low price. It also has access to the catalog of Roku channels, which has many more options than those found on the Apple TV. For example, if you own any Amazon Instant content or if you have an Amazon Prime subscription, then you would not be able to watch that on the Apple TV, but you can on the Roku LT.
Additionally, if you don’t have an iPhone, iPad or Mac computer, then you won’t even be able to take advantage of the best reason to get an Apple TV, which is AirPlay. You can read more about AirPlay on Apple’s site.
Finally, if you are going to be connecting your set-top streaming box to t a television that does not have an HDMI connection, then the Roku LT is the only one of these two devices that offers a composite video connection.
Pros of the Apple TV
The Apple TV is capable of streaming both 720p content and 1080p content, while the Roku LT can only stream 720p content.
The Apple TV also runs noticeably faster than the Roku LT, although I personally prefer the new Roku interface to the Apple TV interface. In addition to the smoother operation, the Apple TV also has a dual-band wireless option, whereas the Roku LT does not. This is helpful if the device will be located far from your wireless router.
On the topic of networking, the Apple TV also has the benefit of a wired Ethernet connection, which will come in handy if you do not have a wireless network in your house.
Finally, if you own a lot of TV shows or movies in iTunes, then you will be able to stream them directly to the Apple TV, whereas you would not be able to access them on the Roku LT.
One final consideration to be aware of is the color of the Roku LT. It is a very bright purple that might be too much of a contrast for some people. The Apple TV is a nice matte black color, which will blend nicely into most home entertainment setups.
You will also need to purchase an HDMI cable from Amazon if you choose to purchase either of these devices, as neither of them come with an HDMI cable.
I think the most difficult decision between these two models will occur for people that have other Apple devices. As mentioned previously, AirPlay and iTunes streaming are the things I use my Apple TV for the most. If I didn’t have iTunes content or any Apple products, I would likely be using the Roku LT for all of my video streaming.
If you aren’t entirely sure that the Roku LT is the model that you want to purchase, check out a few more of our set-top streaming box comparison articles.
Matthew Burleigh has been writing tech tutorials since 2008. His writing has appeared on dozens of different websites and been read over 50 million times.
After receiving his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Computer Science he spent several years working in IT management for small businesses. However, he now works full time writing content online and creating websites.
His main writing topics include iPhones, Microsoft Office, Google Apps, Android, and Photoshop, but he has also written about many other tech topics as well.