Soon we will have a brand new Fire TV and a brand new Apple TV. The Roku 3 had a minor update bringing voice search and improved performance a few months ago, but the Roku 3 will soon be the oldest set-top box on the market out of the big three.
So should Roku and Roku owners be worried that their little streaming box is going to be left behind? It is hard to say but let’s look at what the Roku is missing.
Both the Fire TV and Apple TV have a voice-based personal assistant to tell you the score of your favorite team, weather, traffic, etc. While the Roku 3 has voice, it currently only allows you to search for TV shows and movies.
The new Fire TV now has 4K leaving the Roku 3 and the new Apple TV in the dust for 4K owners. With Netflix and Amazon Instant both offering 4K content the Fire TV may be the must-own box for owners of 4K TVs.
Dedicated Gaming Controller
The Roku 3 supports gaming and has a motion-sensitive remote, but the Fire TV has a dedicated gaming controller sold by Amazon. For gaming with the Apple TV you will use the remote.
While it may seem small having a dedicated gaming controller allows game developers to create or port more complicated games, leaving the Roku 3 and the Apple TV in a weaker position when compared to the Fire TV for gaming.
Where the Roku Stands Out
The Roku 3 has the largest library of streaming apps of these three devices. If you want a ton of free and paid for content the Roku 3 is the way to go. With access to several different content stores including Amazon Instant the Roku is far ahead of the Apple TV.
I would not suggest leaving the Roku at this time if you own one; however, the double punch of a new Apple TV and a new Fire TV will leave new buyers wondering why to even consider buying the older Roku 3 over the new Fire TV and Apple TV.