Media streaming devices have grown more popular these days due to the rise of media-streaming services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO Go, Vudu, Amazon Instant, and Pandora. With the media streaming devices, it has become easier to embrace streaming content from cloud. So it is no wonder that they have increasingly become a part of every home entertainment in every household. The only question now is which media streaming device to get. There are plenty of options to choose from. However, if you are looking for the best, Google Chromecast, Apple TV, and Roku are definitely the front runners.

Let’s have a closer look at the three front runners:


Roku 3

Apple TV

Form Factor Stick Box Box
Dimension Height: 0.5 inches
Width: 2.8 inches
Depth: 1.4 inch
Height: 3.5 inches
Width: 1.0 inches
Depth: 3.5 inch
Height: 0.9 inches
Width: 3.9 inches
Depth: 3.9 inch
Weight 0.07 pounds (1.2 oz) 0.31 pounds (5 oz) 0.6 pounds (9.6 oz)
Color Black Black Black
Channels 30+ 1200+ 30+
Channels that Matter 9 15 12
Games Available None 77 None
Remote Control No (computer or mobile device can be used) Wi-Fi or IR IR
Remote Control Connection Type None Bluetooth IR
Internal Storage No No 8 GB
External Memory No Storage Expansion Available (SD) No
RAM 512 MB 512 MB 512 MB
CPU Dual Core, 1.2 Ghz Dual Core, 900 Mhz Single Core, 2 GHz
Gaming Yes (streaming from mobile devices) Yes (some models) Yes (connecting with iPhone/iPad)
Game Controller None None None
Requires Computer or Mobile Device Yes No No (Yes for streaming iPhone/iPad apps)
Voice Search No No No
HDMI Video 1080p Yes Yes Yes
Sound HDMI digital HDMI digital or optical out HDMI digital or optical out
Audio Channels None 7.1 5.1
Resolution 1080p 1080p 1080p
Connectivity Wireless N, USB Ethernet, Wireless N, USB, Bluetooth 4.0, microSD Ethernet, Wireless N, Bluetooth
Device Integration Android, iOS, tablets, laptops Android, iOS iOS
Supported Video Formats MP4, webM, and others H.264, MP4, MKV H.264, MP4, M-JPEG
Supported Audio Formats HE-AAC, LC-AAC, CELT/Opus, MP3, Vorbis AAC, MP3 AAC, MP3, WAV, AIFF, Apple Lossless, Audible
Media Streaming Chromecast None AirPlay, PC, Mac
Can Stream Your Own Photos and Videos? Yes Yes Yes
Can You Rent Movies? Yes Yes Yes
Can You Rent TV Shows? No Yes No
Can You Watch Live TV? No No No
SPOTIFY No, but can mirror Yes No, but can mirror
Price $35 $49.99 – $99.99 $99



Apple is well known for its high quality devices as well as top notch support service. So, if you purchase an Apple TV, you can be assured of its quality. Its AirPlay feature coupled with the ease with which you can play contents straight from your iTunes library is a major feat. It is a great device if you have a lot of Apple devices because it syncs perfectly with every other Apple products. However, this Apple centric approach can be viewed as a major disadvantage since Roku and Chromecast works with a full range of devices quite easily.

Roku’s main advantage is its wide array of apps and unlimited number of channels. It also does not hurt that it supports contents from channels like Amazon Instant Video, VUDU, Hulu Plus, Disney Channel, Redbox Instant, YouTube, and HBO Go. It runs on 900 MHz dual core processor and comes with 512 MB of RAM. It even allows you to add extra storage space using an external memory card.

Google Chromecast’s main advantage is its price ($35), which a whole lot cheaper than its rivals. Another advantage we can note of is its ever growing ecosystem. However, not having its own remote control and only being able to be controlled by an app is its major disadvantage. Furthermore, it does not have screen mirroring function.

Overall, all three media streaming devices have their sets of advantages and disadvantages. Their features are balanced and their price is similar, except for Chromecast. It all boils down to your own preference. If you are after the top brand, Apple TV is the smart choice for you. If you want a cheap dongle that can be controlled using another device, go with the Chromecast. But, if you are after the number of supported channels and wide array of options at hand, then Roku 3 is your go to product.

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This entry was posted by Staff Writer on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 at 9:59:16 PM and is filed under Sweet Tech.

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