Television isn’t what it used to be since devices such as Roku allow you to expand their functionality in case your TV doesn’t support the Android system already.
Roku is one of many gadgets that you can use to turn your TV into a smart TV just by plugging it in.
On the other hand, almost all of the newest TVs come with an Android operating system that improves the functionality and gives users a wide range of features to make entertainment a lot more versatile.
Down below, you’ll find out if it’s better to invest in a Roku device or a new Android TV, so keep on reading!
Roku is a small device that looks much like a larger USB that helps increase the functionality of any TV that supports HDMI.
This device is a small piece of hardware that comes with a preinstalled operating system that you can use on a TV to watch streams, watch channels, use apps you previously couldn’t use, and improve your TV’s overall functionality.
Also, Roku can help connect other devices to your TV and provide a better entertainment experience in general.
Android TV is a modern TV that comes with preinstalled Android operating system by default.
This operating system gives users more flexibility, control, and applications than a regular TV that supports only channels and a few applications.
Most things you can do with an Android device, such as a smartphone or tablet, can be done with the TV. Of course, Android TV comes with a different Android version that fits television and entertainment purposes.
However, it’s still a feature that users look for in their new TV purchase.
To get started with Roku, you will have to purchase the Roku device. However, keep in mind that now Roku also has Roku TV displays with an integrated Roku system.
Roku is sold by the world’s most known retailers such as Target, Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, and others.
Once you get the Roku device, you have to follow a couple of steps to prepare it for use on your TV.
This usually includes connecting the Roku device via HDMI cable to the TV, connecting it to the USB (for power), and following on-screen steps to finish setting up the Roku first use.
It’s that simple, and it won’t take you longer than 10 minutes to get it working.
To get started with the Android TV, you will have to research and find a TV that meets your demands, needs, and specifications.
However, you will also have to pay attention that the TV comes by default with the Android operating system.
It’s useful that you check the Android version and see if the TV can get the latest Android updates.
When you find the perfect TV, all you have to do is unpack it, set it up, and get to know all the integrated features you can put to use.
Roku is one of the most famous devices that turn any TV into a smart TV because it has many great features. Not only does it include apps you can use, such as YouTube, Netflix, Spotify, Hulu, and others, but it also includes its own Roku TV channel that offers fresh content for free.
The latest Roku device allows 4K pictures, incredibly smooth streaming, and a voice-operated remote.
As you become a frequent Roku user, Roku will organize your feed with the options that will fit shows and movies you like to watch.
But one of the most interesting features is that Roku provides private listening via the Roku smartphone app. You can play anything on the TV and listen to it using your headphones.
Android TV is developed by Google, so other than providing applications and increasing the TV’s functionality, Android TV can also help users to plan their day, get answers, or connect Android TV with other smart devices throughout the home.
Like Roku, Android TV can help you discover content you will like, and you will have the chance to stream, watch live TV, and even play games on the Android TV.
Another interesting built-in feature is the Chromecast which allows you to connect your device to TV and stream videos, series, and movies directly from your smartphone.
Both Roku and Android TV have plenty of features that improve the functionality, add versatility to the users, and provide plenty of entertainment material, so this category is a tie.
One of the best things about Roku is the support. It can be used on any TV regardless of the brand, as long as the TV has an HDMI and USB port.
If you don’t prefer getting a Roku device, you can get the official Roku TV.
Therefore, you won’t have to worry if Roku is compatible with certain brands or devices. It is made to be compatible with all TVs as long as the minimal requirements are met.
Roku also works with all possible and most known companies such as Netflix, YouTube, Disney+, Hulu, Prime Video, Tubi, and others when it comes down to the apps.
Android TV isn’t compatible with all brands, and it isn’t available for all TV brands. This is important, and you should keep it in mind upon TV selection.
However, Google developed the Android TV system and marketed it well, so it has been accepted worldwide by the biggest TV brands such as Sony, Philips, Sharp, TCL, Xiaomi, Hisense, and even Epson or nVidia.
Like Roku, Android supports some of the most known companies by featuring apps such as Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Disney+, and others.
But even better yet, Android TV is compatible with other Android devices you might own, such as smartphones.
Both Roku and Android TV are designed well to provide great brand support and have partnered up with great companies to provide everything one user would need in one place for entertainment. Therefore, this category is a tie.
Roku thought of everything in advance, and that’s why it allows users to watch popular TV shows and movies through third-party options such as Netflix, Disney+, HBOMax, Pluto, Spectrum, and others.
That’s integrated, and you can open these apps with one click or by voice command.
However, Roku’s biggest advantage over Android TV is that it offers free TV. Roku has a couple of its own free Roku channels you can watch anytime. Roku also features other free TV channels such as News Live, WeatherNation, PBS Kids, and Plex.
You can even stream live TV channels if you own a license through apps such as Hulu, DStream, VidGo, Frndly, and others. This way, you won’t have to worry about having an antenna to watch live TV.
Android TV supports almost all apps you can find on Google Play, so this gives you a wide range of 5000+ apps you can install and use on your TV.
The main apps for streaming include YouTube, Starz, Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, Apple TV, peacock, Paramount+ and others.
However, Android TV can also help you watch live TV without needing an antenna for the signal. You can choose between apps such as Sling, Pluto TV, Philo, Haystack TV, and many others to stream your favorite channel.
Lastly, what’s interesting about Android TV is that you even get the chance to install games. It might not be the most convenient way to play games, but you will be able to play some of the most popular Android games such as Asphalt 8, NBA Jam, Final Fantasy, Minerfact, and many others.
While both Roku and Android TV offer great solutions, support great applications, and the possibility of watching live television through a smart TV, the slight winner here is Roku.
Roku is easier to use, simpler, and just as efficient as Android TV.
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Roku makes it a lot easier to turn all your TVs into smart TVs around the house. Even though you will need a Roku device for each TV, you can connect them and control them from one TV if you own more than one Roku device.
Roku is also venturing into audio production, so you can already purchase Roku speakers that can transform the way you’re enjoying your audio when watching anything on your TV.
Not only will your TV be smart, but your audio also gets upgraded. Connecting Roku audio with your TV powered by Roku is very simple, and you get to control the speakers using the Roku remote controller.
Android TV is compatible with all Android devices, including Android smartphones.
This way, you can install apps you need on your Android TV, and you can control your TV using Chromecast.
Also, having access to Google Play directly from your TV improves compatibility with all apps and services you might want to use.
But the best thing about Android TV is that you can use Google Voice Assistant to control your TV, do searches, or even control other Google-supported devices throughout your home, such as lights.
Both Roku and Android TV are compatible with other devices, making things better for users who only care about entertainment. However, Android TV is a winner since it provides access to Google Play, supports Chromecast, features a virtual assistant, and can be used to control other smart devices around the home.
Roku has a very simple interface that shows you everything important on the left side, where the right side is flexible as this is where you get all the options.
Therefore, you can choose between homepage, featured free content, movie store, TV store, use a search engine, or find streaming channels.
The interface is very similar to Netflix’s interface, so if you’ve ever used Netflix, you wouldn’t need long to find your way around Roku’s interface.
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Android TV has a slightly more difficult interface to understand since it has a lot more sliders, and the menu isn’t on the side yet is integrated above the sliding menus.
Therefore, it might seem that a lot is going on at first, it won’t take long before you find your way around this type of interface.
This interface is also similar to Netflix’s homepage, and since you get a remote that can take you to different pages in only seconds, you won’t have a hard time finding something to watch.
Android TV has a more elaborate interface which might not be ideal for users new to Android TV. On the other hand, Roku has a minimalistic and very simple interface that is ideal even for elderly or first-time smart TV users, which is why Roku wins this category.
Roku keeps on surprising, and one of the smart yet unique features is the ability to pause live TV channels. This way, you won’t miss anything, and when you’re back, you can quickly catch up. Another benefit to this is that you can skip ads if you have paused for long enough.
Not many new Roku users know that Roku also integrates a virtual assistant Alexa which won’t only help you open apps, but you can also make searches or ask for suggestions.
But the smartest feature is the invention of Roku’s channel, which can easily replace your cable TV. The best thing about it is that it’s free, yet you don’t have to pay any subscription for the service.
All you need to have is your own Roku device.
One of the smartest Android TV features is Discovery. Discovery helps learn more about the user who’s watching the TV, and through a number of variables, Android TV works its way through an algorithm to help show entertainment that might be of interest to the viewer.
Gaming is another great option since gaming in possibly 4K resolution and on a device that isn’t powered by a battery can be satisfying. All you might need is a simple joystick to enjoy this feature to the fullest.
Both Roku and Android TV are packed with smart features that are great add-ons to all other features every smart TV should have. Therefore, this category is a tie.
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Roku is versatile within the software but also outside the software. This means that you can pair multiple Roku devices together and even pair Roku audio speakers to take entertainment to another level.
However, Roku TV can even support third-party features such as AirPlay and HomeKit to expand the functionality further.
As a result, users who own smart devices from different brands will have the ability to easily connect with Roku no matter what they’re trying to play and watch.
Plus, you should keep in mind that you can take it anywhere with you if you get a Roku device since it’s lightweight and slightly bigger than a USB stick.
Android TV is physically not versatile at all since it’s integrated into a TV. However, device-wise, Android TV can connect well with all other Android devices, use the same features as other devices, and even have Google’s support such as the voice assistant and search.
Therefore, Android TV won’t only make things easier for users who want to watch something, but it will also change how you use your TV to stay up to date with everything in your life.
Both Roku and Android TV provide a great level of versatility while remaining as efficient as possible for the user. Therefore, this category is a tie.
If finding a new smart TV is difficult for you, ordering Roku and installing it is pretty simple. It only takes a couple of steps to install and set up correctly, and all instructions explain the process well.
Therefore, even if you have no technical experience or any experience with smart TVs, you could still manage to install Roku because it’s simple.
The interface is also a lot simpler than Android TV’s interface, which is another reason why Roku might be a great choice for beginners, the elderly, kids, or someone who wants minimalism and simplicity.
What matters the most is that Roku provides a great number of channels, so you’ll never run out of things to watch, even if you don’t have any channel licenses or streaming subscriptions.
Even the remote controller is made so that there aren’t too many buttons, and you can get anywhere within the interface with only a couple of clicks.
The most convenient thing about Android TV is that there’s no setup necessary. It comes integrated into the TV by default, and all you have to do is plug the TV in to use all of the smart TV features.
This Android system is wisely optimized for large screens, so it feels smooth and responsive using Android on a TV.
The interface isn’t that difficult to get right since it’s similar to the interface streaming platforms have been using for the last year or two.
Google Assistant makes it a lot easier to find things, learn new things by searching, or even only using it to increase or decrease volume.
Both Roku and Android TV are very easy to use. While the definition of easy to use is slightly different for each pick, both have strong features that help users easily connect and take their entertainment to the next level.
Therefore, this category is a tie, and it’s up to you to determine which pick might seem easier to use for your needs.
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Android TV vs Roku – Pricing
Roku has a couple of different devices, and the difference is mostly in the streaming quality.
These are available Roku models:
- Roku Express – $24.99
- Roku Express 4K+ – $29.99
- Roku Streaming Stick 4K – $49.99
- Roku Streaming Stick HD 4K+ – $69.99
- Roku Ultra – $99.99
- Roku Streambar – $129.99
- Roku Streambar Pro – $179.99
For the latest pricing, visit the official Roku pricing page.
You can’t purchase an Android operating system and install it on any TV. Instead, you have to find and purchase a TV with an Android operating system (known as Android TV).
Depending on the brand of the Android TV, specifications, and quality, you can pay anywhere from $179 to north of $1000, or even more.
- Both Roku and Android TV are full of smart features that improve entertainment
- Both Roku and Android TV support various brands, apps, and services
- Both picks support plenty of applications
- Both picks are very compatible with other devices
- Both picks have a virtual assistant and can be operated via voice
- Both picks are versatile and fairly easy to use
- Android TV has access to Google Play while Roku doesn’t
- Roku produces its proprietary TV and sound speakers
- Roku has a slightly simpler interface
- Roku is slightly easier to use
- Roku has a couple of own channels users can watch for free
- Provides incredibly good content for free
- It’s small, portable, and easy to use
- It’s very responsive, quick, and smooth
- Offers 4K video quality
- Easy to use interface
- Full of smart features
- Very affordable price
- Access to live TV is a bit limited if you don’t have licenses or subscriptions
- To stream content, you need a quality internet connection
- Huge app library (access to Google Play)
- Optimized Android system for TVs
- Easy to pair with other Android devices or home smart devices
- Powered by Google
- Google Assistant and access to Google apps
- Plenty of smart features
- Very versatile and compatible
- No setup required
- Fewer firmware updates
- Slightly harder to use interface in comparison to Roku
There are many similarities, but Roku is a winner because it is easier to use, has a minimalistic and simple interface, and is versatile, which means that you can take it anywhere with you or turn almost any TV into a smart one.
Android TV isn’t a bad idea either, but it requires in-depth research before deciding on which Android TV you will purchase.
Roku is also a much cheaper option which is why it makes a great choice and is an overall winner.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.