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Apple TV 4K vs. Roku Ultra vs. Amazon Fire TV: comparing the top video streaming gadgets

Apple TV 4K vs. Roku Ultra vs. Amazon Fire TV: comparing the top video streaming gadgets

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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.

Apple’s option is just one in a sea of competitors

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

CategoriesApple TV 4KApple TV (4th-gen)Chromecast UltraAmazon Fire TVRoku UltraXbox One S
Starting price$179$149$69.00$89.99 (refurbished)$99.99$249.99
Voice controlYes (with Siri Remote)Yes (with Siri Remote)Yes (through other devices)Yes (with Alexa Voice Remote)Yes (with remote control)Yes (with microphone)
Smart assistantSiriSiriGoogle AssistantAlexaN/ACortana
4KYesNoYesYesYesYes
HDRDolby Vision, HDR10N/AHDR10N/AHDR10HDR10
ProcessorA10X FusionA8UnannouncedMediaTek processor (quad-core, 2 GHz)UnannouncedAMD Jaguar (1.75GHz, 8-core)
RAM3GB2GBUnannounced2GBUnannounced8GB
Internal storage32GB, 64GB32GBUnannounced8 GBUnannounced500GB, 1TB, 2TB
Local content supportAirPlayAirPlayGoogle CastN/AN/AN/A
Major streaming services supportediTunes Store, Apple Music, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime Video (later this fall), many othersiTunes Store, Apple Music, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime Video (later this fall), many othersGoogle Play Music, Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Spotify, Amazon Prime Video, many othersNetflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, Spotify, ESPN, many othersNetflix, HBO, Hulu, Spotify, Amazon Prime Video, many othersGroove Music, Windows Store, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, Spotify, ESPN, many others
Third-party developer supportApp StoreApp StorePlay StoreFire TV AppsRoku Channel StoreWindows Store
PortsHDMI, Ethernet, USB-C (for maintenance only)HDMI, Ethernet, USB-C (for maintenance only)HDMI, Micro USB, Ethernet (on power adapter)HDMI, Ethernet, USB, microSDHDMI, Ethernet, USB, microSD, Optical audioThree USB 3.0, HDMI (in), HDMI (out), IR, optical audio, 4K UHD Blu-ray optical drive
Weight0.94 pounds0.94 pounds0.1 pounds0.59 pounds0.5 pounds6.4 pounds
Dimensions (in.)3.9 x 3.9 x 1.43.9 x 3.9 x 1.42.29 x 2.29 x 0.534.5 x 4.5 x 0.74.9 x 4.9 x 0.8511.6 x 9.1 x 2.5