High-End Streamer Battle: 4K Apple TV and Roku Ultra

Streaming devices are a dime a dozen these days, it seems. The cheap ones from Roku and Chromecast hardly cost more than a meal out, and many of today’s TVs have all those same capabilities built in already.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a high-end streaming device — one that offers more than the cheap guys — your options are somewhat limited.
CNet declares that, among the mainstream streaming devices on the market today, the 4k Apple TV and Roku Ultra are two of the best in the higher-end realm. But which one is right for you?
Upsie’s got your back with this comparison, which outlines which device is better across a range of categories. And while you’re here, don’t forget to protect that glorious TV on which you’re doing all this streaming. Upsie’s extended TV warranties should do the trick. (More on those later.)

Interface/OS

If you’ve used any Roku or RokuOS device, you already know the interface of the Roku Ultra. It’s simple, colorful and consistent. It also runs very well on this device. Each app gets its own tile, and you simply select the app you want to watch in and start watching. There’s no cross-app search here, however.
Apple’s tvOS is similarly a well-developed platform, and you shouldn’t have much trouble navigating the interface here, either. Cross-platform search is cool for when you want to watch a specific movie and don’t know where to find it. But the downside here is that it can be tricky to search within just one app, and you may encounter results that you don’t have access to without paying up.

Features

These are both top-tier streamers, and they have the high-end features you might expect. Features include 4K HDR, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support, plus AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support. Both have voice search support, too — and Apple’s works a lot better.
Unsurprisingly, Apple TV 4K is better tied into the Apple ecosystem, meaning you can get Apple Music, Apple Arcade and Fitness Plus content on your Apple TV. You can get sort of similar things from other services on Roku, but it’s nowhere near as tightly integrated.

Apple TV and Roku Ultra Prices

Price is, by far, the biggest differentiator between the two devices. They are incredibly similar as far as feature set, quality, and internals. But they are not at all similar in price.
Roku Ultra has an MSRP of $100 and can often be found for something closer to $89. That’s a decent bit more than the cheaper Rokus (which will themselves be more than sufficient for many people) the added tech here justifies the price jump.
Apple TV 4K, on the other hand, has a $179 MSRP and doesn’t tend to get discounted nearly as much. Yes, the “Apple tax” is real, but the difference in price here is nearly double, and there isn’t a ton of differentiation to justify it.

Apple TV and Roku Ultra Remotes

Apple’s TV remote has long been a controversial item. This year’s model improves upon the previous one, but it still just isn’t all that great. It looks fancy and sophisticated, but it’s difficult to use and doesn’t have any particularly strong functionality.
Roku’s remote, on the other hand, has worked well for years and still does. It’s not as attractive as the Apple remote, but it’s far easier to use. It also has a killer feature: a Find My Remote function that works by pressing a small button on the Roku itself. One press, and your missing remote starts beeping until you find it.
Apple already makes very similar tech with Find My and AirTags, but none of that has been incorporated into their remote.

Final Verdict

So, between the Apple TV 4K and the Roku Ultra, which one should you choose?
For most consumers, Roku Ultra is the clear winner. It does (almost) everything the Apple TV 4K can do — sometimes better — and it costs $80 to $100 less. Unless you need a specific Apple service that Roku can’t access, there’s little reason to pay more.
That said, there are a few cases where Apple TV 4K might win. If you’re deeply embedded in the Apple ecosystem, want to play Apple Arcade titles on your TV, or care more about aesthetics than saving some cash — then an Apple TV 4K might be better for you.

Streaming a Lot? Protect Your TV with Upsie

Streaming devices are generally pretty low in price and extremely reliable. If one does bite the bullet on you, it won’t be that hard to replace the lost functionality.
But the TV you’re doing the streaming on? That might have cost a thousand bucks or more. Don’t get stuck with costly repairs or shouldering the cost of a new TV if yours breaks. Get an extended TV warranty from Upsie instead.
Upsie’s easy-to-understand warranties cover screen burn-in, defects, dead pixels and other types of failure for up to five years after purchase. And they’re more affordable than warranty plans offered by big box retailers.
So if you’re streaming a lot these days, don’t wait. Protect your TV with Upsie today.

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