Roku Vs. Android TV: Which Platform Offers the Best Streaming Experience?

Tech

The past few years have witnessed the meteoric rise of streaming media players, revolutionizing how we consume entertainment. Among the plethora of options, Roku and Android TV have emerged as the dominant players, each boasting unique features and capabilities. But choosing the right platform can be daunting with so many choices. In this Roku VS android tv guide, we’ll delve into the nitty-gritty.

We’ll compare Roku and Android TV side-by-side to help you decide which platform offers the best streaming experience for your needs.

Roku VS Android TV: Quick Side-By-Side Comparison
FeaturesRokuAndroid TV
Streaming DeviceAndroid TV is a version of the Android OS designed for Smart TVs and streaming devices. It allows access a variety of entertainment, games and other apps.Roku is a streaming platform and device that supports a range of streaming services like Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, and More.
Maximum Storage Capacity8GB4GB
Available TV Channels600+2,000+
Operating systemAndroidRoku OS
Remote ControlGoogle Assistant-enabled remoteRoku Voice Remote
Video Quality4K UHD, 60 fps4K UHD, 60 fps
Supported Video FormatDolby Vision, HDR10/10+Dolby Vision, HDR10/10+, HLG
Google AssistantAvailableAvailable
Alexa compatibility?Not AvailableAvailable
ChromecastNative SupportAvailable

Roku Vs. Android TV: Primary Differences

While both streaming platforms appear similar, they have many differences. Let’s take a look. 

Design & User Interface

Android TV boasts a clean and intuitive interface that will feel familiar to Android users. Its home screen features large icons for easy access to apps and content. Voice search capabilities and Google Assistant integration add convenience, while personalized content recommendations make for a tailored viewing experience.

On the other hand, Roku takes a more traditional approach with its home screen offering various options such as My Feed, Movies, TV Shows, News & Weather, and more. It’s less customizable but lets users jump straight into the type of content they want to watch. The Roku Voice Remote also adds convenience, enabling voice search for content.

Remote and Voice Control

The choice between Roku and Android TV is clear if you’re in the market for a streaming device with advanced voice control. Android TV takes the lead with its comprehensive Google Assistant integration, offering users a full-fledged voice assistant experience right out of the box. With an Android TV remote, you can easily control your TV and your smart home devices, check the weather, and access your calendar appointments.

In comparison, Roku’s built-in voice controls offer limited functionality and require an additional purchase of their Enhanced Voice Remote to access voice search. Although the Roku remote supports both Alexa and Google Assistant for basic tasks like searching for titles, it falls short regarding advanced voice commands.

But let’s be real, unless you’re a true tech fanatic, do you need your TV to tell you about the weather? While Android TV’s voice integration is impressive, it may not be a game-changer for everyone. Roku’s voice control is more than sufficient for basic streaming needs. With Alexa and Google Assistant support, it still provides users a convenient way to navigate their favorite shows and movies.

Content Library & App Compatibility

Android TV boasts unrestricted access to the Google Play Store. This means you can download almost any app on the platform, including games and live TV services like Sling and Pluto TV. This makes it a go-to choice for a truly expansive content library.

On the other hand, Roku takes a different approach by offering users access to its proprietary streaming platform, The Roku Channel. While the channel may not feature the biggest names in streaming, it provides a wide variety of free movies and TV shows without any subscription. Roku also supports popular streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video, ensuring you won’t miss out on your favorite content.

Picture and Audio Quality

Android TV supports Dolby Vision, Atmos, and UHD viewing at up to 60Hz, making it the clear winner in premium codecs. However, not every app in the Android TV lineup is compatible with these codecs, so you may need a firmware update to get the full experience.

On the other hand, Roku TV products offer decent support for today’s leading picture and sound codecs, including UHD, Dolby Vision, and Atmos. While overall support for premium visuals and audio is a bit more widespread on Android TV, you can still adjust picture and sound settings on Roku TV products by navigating to the settings.

If you’re looking for the best possible picture and audio quality, we recommend going with Android TV. However, if you’re happy with decent support for premium codecs, Roku TV products will suit you just fine.

Connectivity of Roku Vs. Android TV

When it comes to connectivity, Android TV takes the lead over Roku. While both platforms offer Bluetooth connectivity, Android TV provides hassle-free pairing with all devices, making it easy to connect your wireless headphones or speakers. On the other hand, older versions of Roku streaming sticks sometimes lack this essential feature, and the company compensates by offering a smartphone app and even a 3.5mm headphone jack on some remotes.

If you plan to pair your streaming device with multiple devices and gadgets, Android TV is the better choice. However, if Bluetooth compatibility isn’t an issue for you, either will be fine. Double-check that the Roku device you’re considering offers Bluetooth compatibility before purchasing.

Screencasting and Screen Sharing

Roku has native support for AirPlay on its newer models, making it a great choice for Apple users who want to mirror their iPhone or Mac screen to their TV. On the other hand, Android TV has Chromecast built-in, which allows Android users to easily cast their phone’s video output to their TV with just a tap.

However, regardless of the streaming platform, you can mirror any phone to your TV with the right screen-sharing app. 

Additional Features of Roku Vs. Android TV

When deciding between Roku and Android TV, there are a few minor differences that can impact your decision-making process.

  1. Carriage Disputes:

While Roku boasts over 2000 channels, it has had some issues with carriage disputes in the past, including with major broadcasters like YouTube. Additionally, there may be a future spat with Netflix looming. In contrast, Android TV does not face such issues, as all channels are available under properly negotiated contracts. Though the selection may be smaller, it still includes all the streaming content you will likely watch.

  1. Regular Updates:

Frequent software updates can enhance the user experience of a streaming device over time. Roku is known for its fast pace of innovation, with major updates released twice a year and smaller patches even more frequently. In contrast, Android TV updates at a much slower rate.

  1. HDMI Support:

The HDMI slot is an often overlooked factor in the Roku vs. Android TV debate. Since there is no dedicated Android TV box, you don’t have to use an HDMI slot on your television to stream content. While most TVs have two or more HDMI slots, having an extra free slot can benefit gamers with a plugged-in console. However, for gamers, the Nvidia Shield TV may be a better option than either Roku or Android TV.

Pricing and Value

Android TVs and Roku offer a range of options to fit any budget. Roku devices generally tend to be more affordable, with their streaming sticks like Roku Express starting at around $24 and their high-end options coming in at about $100. On the other hand, Android TV devices tend to be pricier, with options ranging from around $50 for a basic streaming stick to $200 or more for a high-end smart TV.

However, it’s worth noting that the price difference between the two platforms often reflects the difference in features and capabilities. Android TV devices tend to offer more advanced features, such as voice search and control, built-in Google Assistant, and access to the Google Play Store for downloading apps and games. Meanwhile, Roku devices prioritize ease of use and simplicity, focusing on delivering an excellent streaming experience without any extra bells and whistles.

Roku Vs Android TV: Our Verdict

All said and done, Roku is a solid choice if you’re primarily interested in watching your favorite movies and TV shows, with access to over 500,000 episodes and movies. However, if you’re looking for more advanced features like voice commands and gaming capabilities, Android TV is the way to go.

Android TV has a sleek, modern user interface that’s more intuitive than Roku and offers Google Assistant support for easy voice searches. Plus, if you’re a gamer, the Google Play Store provides access to hundreds of compatible games to play with a gamepad. And, with a built-in Chromecast, you can easily cast content from other devices straight to your TV.

While Roku has been a longstanding affordable option for turning a TV into a streaming hub, Android TV now comes with all the relevant features built-in, making it the new winner. Roku still holds its own with its streamlined user interface and extensive range of streaming channels. Still, it doesn’t offer a significant enough advantage to warrant choosing it over Android TV.

In fact, Android TV offers unique features like complete Google Assistant integration and access to the Google Play Store. So, we believe Android TV is the clear winner!

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