Apple vs. Roku vs. Amazon: who makes the best streaming TV device?

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Apple announced the Apple TV 4K yesterday, an updated version of its living room set-top box that adds support for 4K and HDR video and boosts the processing power. There’s not much else new compared to the prior fourth-generation device: it offers the same apps, Siri remote, and a centralized TV hub that aggregates video from participating content providers.

But Apple’s option is just one in a sea of competitors. Google, Amazon, Roku, and even technically Microsoft (if you count the Xbox One S as a streaming box) all offer 4K (and more recently HDR) boxes or streaming sticks for your TV.

But a big problem when comparing streaming TV devices is that, for the most part, everything supports all the major services at this point, making it more a question of which company specifically has all the things you’d want. So, if you’re a diehard Apple Music fan, the Apple TV will be the best option for you, while Amazon Music subscribers may want to consider a Fire TV device.

Still, if you’re looking to see how the various 4K streaming TV devices stack up, we’ve put the best of them head-to-head against each other below.

Note: while I’ve included the Amazon Fire TV in this comparison chart, Amazon doesn’t actually sell the Fire TV anymore, and the device is almost certainly about to be replaced with an updated model sometime in the near future.

Apple TV 4K spec comparison

Categories Apple TV 4K Apple TV (4th-gen) Chromecast Ultra Amazon Fire TV Roku Ultra Xbox One S
Categories Apple TV 4K Apple TV (4th-gen) Chromecast Ultra Amazon Fire TV Roku Ultra Xbox One S
Starting price $179 $149 $69.00 $89.99 (refurbished) $99.99 $249.99
Voice control Yes (with Siri Remote) Yes (with Siri Remote) Yes (through other devices) Yes (with Alexa Voice Remote) Yes (with remote control) Yes (with microphone)
Smart assistant Siri Siri Google Assistant Alexa N/A Cortana
4K Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
HDR Dolby Vision, HDR10 N/A HDR10 N/A HDR10 HDR10
Processor A10X Fusion A8 Unannounced MediaTek processor (quad-core, 2 GHz) Unannounced AMD Jaguar (1.75GHz, 8-core)
RAM 3GB 2GB Unannounced 2GB Unannounced 8GB
Internal storage 32GB, 64GB 32GB Unannounced 8 GB Unannounced 500GB, 1TB, 2TB
Local content support AirPlay AirPlay Google Cast N/A N/A N/A
Major streaming services supported iTunes Store, Apple Music, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime Video (later this fall), many others iTunes Store, Apple Music, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime Video (later this fall), many others Google Play Music, Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Spotify, Amazon Prime Video, many others Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, Spotify, ESPN, many others Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Spotify, Amazon Prime Video, many others Groove Music, Windows Store, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, Spotify, ESPN, many others
Third-party developer support App Store App Store Play Store Fire TV Apps Roku Channel Store Windows Store
Ports HDMI, Ethernet, USB-C (for maintenance only) HDMI, Ethernet, USB-C (for maintenance only) HDMI, Micro USB, Ethernet (on power adapter) HDMI, Ethernet, USB, microSD HDMI, Ethernet, USB, microSD, Optical audio Three USB 3.0, HDMI (in), HDMI (out), IR, optical audio, 4K UHD Blu-ray optical drive
Weight 0.94 pounds 0.94 pounds 0.1 pounds 0.59 pounds 0.5 pounds 6.4 pounds
Dimensions (in.) 3.9 x 3.9 x 1.4 3.9 x 3.9 x 1.4 2.29 x 2.29 x 0.53 4.5 x 4.5 x 0.7 4.9 x 4.9 x 0.85 11.6 x 9.1 x 2.5

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