Apple TV vs. the competition -- how does it stack up?

Sponsored Links

Although it's only just been revealed and won't actually go on sale for four long weeks, Apple's new hockey puck is far from the only media streamer on the market -- and with Sony's Netbox and the Boxee Box on the way, the sub-$200 set-top box market is exploding with options. So let's line up the revised Apple TV against the (post-price cut) Roku HD-XR, Popbox, and even an LG Blu-ray player in the same price range and see what you're actually getting -- and more importantly, getting access to -- on each device. Oh, and there's some choice words from Roku after the break.

Update: You asked for them, so we added the PS3, Xbox 360 & WDTV Live as well, after the break.

Device: AppleTV Roku XR Pop Box LG BD550
Price: $99 $99 $129 $130 - $150
Form Factor/Size: 3.9 x 0.9 x 3.9 5 x 5 x 1.75 8 x 1.4 x 6 inches 16.9 x 1.8 x 7.9
Available Content: HD TV shows from ABC & Fox ($0.99), HD Movie rentals ($4.99/$3.99), Netflix, iTunes, YouTube Netflix, Amazon VOD (now with $0.99 HD TV show purchases from Fox & ABC),, UFC, NBA GameTime, YouTube, Pandora YouTube, Revision3,, h.264 / XviD / MPEG-4, MKV / AVI / WMV Blu-ray discs, VUDU, Netflix, CinemaNow, YouTube, Pandora, Napster
Apps / SDK: N/A Roku Channel / SDK available Popapps Store / SDK available NetCast widgets
Connectivity: WiFi N, Ethernet WiFi N, Ethernet Ethernet, optional WiFi adapter Ethernet, Disc
Video Quality: 720p, 5.1 audio 720p (1080p upgrade coming soon), 5.1 audio 1080p, 5.1 audio 1080p, 7.1 audio, DTS-HD MA / Dolby TrueHD audio

Device: AppleTV Sony PS3 Slim 250GB Xbox 360 S 250GB WDTV Live Plus
Price: $99 $349 $299 $149
Form Factor/Size: 3.9 x 0.9 x 3.9 11.42 x 2.56 x 11.4 12 x 3 x 10 4.9 x 1.5 x 3.9
Available Content: HD TV shows from ABC & Fox ($0.99), HD Movie rentals ($4.99/$3.99), Netflix, iTunes, YouTube Blu-ray, PlayStation Network, Netflix, Qriocity, DLNA, DivX Certified HD DVD (lolz), Zune Marketplace, DLNA/PC streaming, XviD/DivX, Netflix, ESPN3 coming soon Netflix, DLNA streaming, AVI / MPG / MKV, YouTube, Pandora
Apps / SDK: PlayStation Network Xbox Live, Community Games N/A
Connectivity: WiFi N, Ethernet WiFi b/g, Ethernet WiFi N (no 5 Ghz), Ethernet Ethernet, USB, optional WiFi or Powerline networking
Video Quality: 720p, 5.1 audio 1080p, 7.1 audio, DTS-HD MA / Dolby TrueHD 1080p, 5.1 audio 1080p, 5.1 audio

Response from Roku:
Roku created the category for streaming players over two years ago with the original Netflix player for $99. Since then the category has continued to grow rapidly with large hardware entrants like Xbox, PS3, Wii, blu-ray players, and now AppleTV adding streaming capabilities. At the same time, content is becoming more readily available thanks to Netflix's increasing popularity, but also from Amazon, MLB.TV and most recently Hulu Plus. During this time Roku sales have continued to accelerate as the overall streaming market grows, and customers enjoy our simple interface, low cost and large selection of services. Our customers are using the box more and more. Two years ago the average Roku customer used our product 11 hours a month, but now it's 43 hours a month.

Beyond Netflix we have introduced over 50 additional content partners on our open platform that offer customers access to over 100,000 movies and TV shows, live sports, music, photo and video sharing, and more - all while continuing to reduce the cost of our products. Today, a customer can get a Roku player for as low as $59.99 and an HD-capable model for as low as $69.99, plus a 1080p model for $99.99. By selling direct to customers (on we can offer more while maintaining lower prices.

Roku is completely confident that our strategy of offering more features and lower cost than competitors continues to be the right plan.
Popular on Engadget