The Roku streaming box is the most popular device in its category in the U.S., even more so than the Apple TV, according to a new
study from research firm Park Associates.
The study says 37% of households that have a streaming media player use a Roku as their primary device and 24% use an Apple TV. The rest is a mix of other devices like Boxee and Smart TVs with streaming apps like Netflix built in.
It makes sense. With a few caveats, the Roku is a better overall device than the Apple TV. The newest model, the Roku 3, is really good. It has a special remote control with a headphone jack so you can listen to your TV without disturbing others in the room. Plus, it has a wider selection of streaming apps than the Apple TV has.
The downsides: The Roku doesn’t have an AirPlay-like function that lets you beam content from your smartphone, tablet, or computer to your TV. That’s a killer feature in the Apple TV and Google’s new Chromecast.
However, Roku did recently push out an update that lets you beam videos and photos in your phone’s camera roll to your TV. It’s not as useful as beaming films and TV shows you own, but better it’s still better than what Roku offered before.