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Roku Ultra vs Apple TV 4K

Which streaming device is more powerful--  the Roku Ultra or the Apple TV 4K?
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8 Replies
atc98092
Level 13

Re: Roku Ultra vs Apple TV 4K

Tough question to answer, since so many variables are in effect. I've never played with the Apple, so can only provide observations from my Ultra. 
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I have a number of Blu Ray movies ripped to my media server, and they are bit by bit copies, and not compressed. The Ultra handles the video stream with no issue, with some having peak bitrates over 70 Mbps. This is over wired Ethernet, so approaching the 100BaseT speed limit. Wireless can actually be faster. If the Apple has gigabit Ethernet, that could be a plus if you have local media. Shouldn't be a factor for Internet streaming, as nothing have been found yet that would max out 100BaseT. YouTube is the highest bitrates I've seen, with some 4K videos exceeding 40 Mbps.
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Neither device support Dolby Vision, if you're looking for that. Neither device will passthrough HD audio from local media. I do know the Roku will pass the DTS core audio from a Master Audio track without requiring transcoding. The Apple might, but I have no knowledge about that.
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With Apple, you become tied to iTunes and the Apple infrastructure. For local media there is an app called Infuse that plays most content. But you are limited to only apps that can be installed from iTunes. With Roku, you have many more choices available, not only from the official Roku store, but private channels as well. 
Dan
Nvidia Shield, Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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Heyitsrick
Level 9

Re: Roku Ultra vs Apple TV 4K

"atc98092" wrote:

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Neither device support Dolby Vision, if you're looking for that. 

Incorrect. The new Apple TV 4K does support Dolby Vision. See here in the "Video Formats" section: AppleTV 4K Tech Specs
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Bacon
Level 9

Re: Roku Ultra vs Apple TV 4K

Apple TV 4k blows every Roku out of the water. If you get it at a reduced price thru the DirecTV deal it's an amazing value.

Apple's device and apps make everything on Roku look sloppy in comparison. Everything is smooth and smooth, it has DV support, and the auto refresh/24p works fantastic, even apps like Netflix where on Roku it's essentially broken due to the autoplay previews.

I highly recommend it over the Ultra.
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atc98092
Level 13

Re: Roku Ultra vs Apple TV 4K

"Heyitsrick" wrote:
"atc98092" wrote:

.
Neither device support Dolby Vision, if you're looking for that. 

Incorrect. The new Apple TV 4K does support Dolby Vision. See here in the "Video Formats" section: AppleTV 4K Tech Specs

I heard it was coming. Glad it's finally here. 
Dan
Nvidia Shield, Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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Heyitsrick
Level 9

Re: Roku Ultra vs Apple TV 4K

"Bacon" wrote:
Apple TV 4k blows every Roku out of the water. If you get it at a reduced price thru the DirecTV deal it's an amazing value.

Apple's device and apps make everything on Roku look sloppy in comparison. Everything is smooth and smooth, it has DV support, and the auto refresh/24p works fantastic, even apps like Netflix where on Roku it's essentially broken due to the autoplay previews.

I highly recommend it over the Ultra.

I don't think you can lay the autoplay previews issue at Roku's doorstep. I highly doubt they ever said "Hey Netflix, how about enabling auto-previews?"  That's a Netflix issue, and I'm sure it will be on Apple's implementation at some point. 
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Bacon
Level 9

Re: Roku Ultra vs Apple TV 4K

"Heyitsrick" wrote:
"Bacon" wrote:
Apple TV 4k blows every Roku out of the water. If you get it at a reduced price thru the DirecTV deal it's an amazing value.

Apple's device and apps make everything on Roku look sloppy in comparison. Everything is smooth and smooth, it has DV support, and the auto refresh/24p works fantastic, even apps like Netflix where on Roku it's essentially broken due to the autoplay previews.

I highly recommend it over the Ultra.

I don't think you can lay the autoplay previews issue at Roku's doorstep. I highly doubt they ever said "Hey Netflix, how about enabling auto-previews?"  That's a Netflix issue, and I'm sure it will be on Apple's implementation at some point. 


Netflix on Apple TV has the auto previews, it just doesn't flash the screen to black to change the refresh rate every time they play like the Roku does. Using match frame rate on Roku makes Netflix unusable, and it's ridiculous they still haven't implemented a solution with Netflix.
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Heyitsrick
Level 9

Re: Roku Ultra vs Apple TV 4K

"Bacon" wrote:
"Heyitsrick" wrote:
"Bacon" wrote:
Apple TV 4k blows every Roku out of the water. If you get it at a reduced price thru the DirecTV deal it's an amazing value.

Apple's device and apps make everything on Roku look sloppy in comparison. Everything is smooth and smooth, it has DV support, and the auto refresh/24p works fantastic, even apps like Netflix where on Roku it's essentially broken due to the autoplay previews.

I highly recommend it over the Ultra.

I don't think you can lay the autoplay previews issue at Roku's doorstep. I highly doubt they ever said "Hey Netflix, how about enabling auto-previews?"  That's a Netflix issue, and I'm sure it will be on Apple's implementation at some point. 


Netflix on Apple TV has the auto previews, it just doesn't flash the screen to black to change the refresh rate every time they play like the Roku does. Using match frame rate on Roku makes Netflix unusable, and it's ridiculous they still haven't implemented a solution with Netflix.

My bad...I didn't see that your point was primarily about the 24p issue.
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bvd1022
Level 9

Re: Roku Ultra vs Apple TV 4K

I don’t have a 4K TV, but I do have both devices as well as several other Roku devices along with several others. The primary reason I chose to invest in an Apple TV was primarily based on how I have become more and more ingrained with Apple’s ecosystem after being a long holdout for many years. The other reason I decided to add an Apple streaming device to my streaming device options was access to the Facebook video app, which is something that Roku currently does not have access to. The reason I needed access to the Facebook video app is as a Boxing writer/journalist, it became a necessity for me to have access once promoters and networks began televising cards exclusively on Facebook. If Roku had access to the app, I probably would have held off on buying the Apple TV, but I learned a long time ago when I was first getting familiar with OTT technology that it was wise to invest in different streaming devices as some things are available on some devices, but not others, and/or apps or certain features such as casting/airplay for example perform better on some devices as compared to others.
 
I have been using the Apple TV 4K device since September and although I am still a loyal Roku user and generally prefer it over other devices, I think Apple is the best non-Roku device I’ve ever tested and used. When you consider that I own to forty streaming players/devices, that covers a lot of ground.
 
As far as performance is concerned, both are great for what each offers and rather than criticizing one company or the other because I have noticed some drawbacks with both (Usually with regard to available apps), it boils down to what one prefers and/or requires in their streaming device. I’d personally recommend getting both devices if you can afford it because much like a person has a widows PC and an iPad (Which I do), having the option of using either OS and features really offer the best of both worlds. This is just my opinion, but there is a reason why I have gradually accumulated several streaming devices over the years. I’m one who prefers to have multiple options available to me if nothing else, to ensure if I have a problem with one device, I have several backup options if needed. Most of the streaming devices I have are Roku devices so that should be an indication of how reliable Roku has been for me over the years, something that was further confirmed during Hurricane Irma last year as my Roku devices were the only thing that allowed me to have a direct access point to be able to keep an eye on my local news from where I was having had to evacuate across two different states just to get a hotel. I am forever grateful to Roku for that. Roku remains the number device on the market, in my opinion, and my primary device of choice. Apple is certainly deserving of being a close number two though if one looks at it objectively. 
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