5 min read

Apple TV 4K vs Roku Ultra: what's best for digital signage?

Written by
Pavlo Fedykovych
Published on
January 29, 2024
May 29, 2024

It’s time to compare two of the most popular streaming devices on the market at the moment. Who’s winning the Apple TV 4K vs Roku Ultra battle? Which is best for digital signage? And what you should know before buying each of these devices for commercial use? We’re explaining in this article.

Roku Ultra vs Apple TV 4K: what devices are we comparing?

The models of the streaming boxes are usually quite confusing. There are many versions, different names, different years of release. In the case of Apple, there’s also an Apple TV+ that’s not a device at all and bears *almost* the same name as a streaming gadget. 

For the sake of this article, we’re comparing the latest versions of both products. 

So when we say Apple TV 4K vs Roku Ultra we mean Apple TV 4K (3rd generation) versus Roku Ultra 2023.

Size and weight

If looks are something you put a lot of attention on, then Apple TV does win in this department. Both devices are black boxes, but the Cupertino company’s one is definitely slicker. Sporting a smooth black surface and elegant lines, it’s a pleasure to look at. 

That doesn’t mean that Roku Ultra is ugly. It’s just that there’s a bit less elegance in its box shape and the ports on the side feel cramped too. 

Weight-wise, Roku is lighter. Apple TV is 7.3 oz (210 g) and Roku Ultra is 5.9 ounces (167.2 g). Still, if you would look at two there’s not much difference in the way they pose next to each other. Roku Ultra has a label on the side that some might find quite out of place, but that’s a matter of personal preference.

The software

Here’s where things start to heat up in the Apple TV 4K vs Roku Ultra battle. Software is the brain of how your streaming will be operated. That’s why if you’re looking for a device to use for digital signage purposes, it’s essential to opt for the one that is up for the task of distributing content smoothly. 

Roku Ultra has a Linux-based Roku OS that is generally great for home use. However, when it comes to getting out of the usual apps like Netflix, YouTube, or Amazon Prime things don’t look that much promising. Roku OS is very limited in the digital signage software options and few providers make dedicated apps for it. 

Apple TV is a whole different story. It runs on tvOS, a state-of-the-art software that gives you access to the whole Apple ecosystem. Also, you have an App Store with myriads of digital signage providers and plenty of offers for all budgets. 

There’s a reason why we chose Apple TV as the prime device for Kitcast. It’s in the stability, ultra-smooth performance, security, and Apple’s know-how. You can’t go wrong here, tvOS is a fantastic operating system that is fit for any kind of digital signage tasks.

Storage capacity and memory

There’s one big difference between how Apple TV vs Roku Ultra are advertised. In the case of Roku, you won’t find the storage size on the official website. And this is exactly where Apple TV 4K not only exceeds but kind of “destroys” Roku Ultra. 

Roku Ultra has a modest 4GB storage with a RAM of 1GB. 

Now compare it to Apple TV’s 64GB (or 128GB in an Ethernet model) with a RAM of 4GB. That’s quite a difference.

If you’re looking for a digital signage device, that difference becomes quite vital to the operations. 1GB of memory can be too little to perform complex tasks and display 4K videos. 4GB of storage is a minuscule number in 2024. In this case, Apple TV wins big time.

Processor and CPU

Continuing a winning streak, Apple TV 4K comes with a powerful A15 Bionic chip, the brand’s house achievement, and a fast-flying piece of tech. With 6 cores, it’s a beast of a processor boasting 3.23 GHz and ensuring the effortless speed and efficiency the Apple devices are known for. 

Roku Ultra, on the other hand, comes with a Realtek 1319 that only gets you to 1.4 GHz. It’s good but not lightning-fast good. It’s just fine for home use, it’s insufficient for a serious commercial digital signage application. 

Regarding performance, Apple TV 4K is simply the leader out of all the streaming boxes. Roku Ultra is simply out of its league when compared side-to-side based on the processor.

Video format support

When it comes to video format support, the Apple TV 4K vs Roku Ultra competition is pretty close-running. Both devices are consumer-first and try to come with a full package.

Both support much-coveted Dolby Vision picture and Dolby Atmos as well as HDR10/10+. This is a point for Roku Ultra, it really strives to give the consumer a top-notch viewing experience packing the device with all the latest format perks. 

The problem is that the new trendy 4K and HDR10/10+ require lots of memory to run without lagging and Roku is not that powerful in this department.


While the question of a remote may be important for a home consumer, it’s not that critical if you plan to have multiple boxes at your business to run a digital signage network. 

Roku Remote comes with a Roku Voice Remote Pro. There’s a rechargeable battery, a lost remote finder, and hands-free controls. While the company spends a really considerable amount of time on the device’s landing page promoting these features (3 out of 8 bullet points are about the specs of the remote), they are not that special or innovative. It’s just an average remote at the end of the day. 

Siri Remote is a whole different story. Siri is a well-known voice-activated Apple’s feature and the Apple TV 4K’s remote is a 3rd generation one. The company had time to perfect the remote voice interactions and now it works amazingly. It comes with a USB-C port, Bluetooth 5.0, and a trademark trackpad (that may be not for everyone).

Apple TV 4K vs Roku Ultra Pricing

Here’s where things get definitive. And it’s not on Roku’s side. We’ve compared Apple TV and Amazon Fire Stick before and it was apparent that while Apple TV is superior in any way to the Fire Stick, the latter is a budget-friendly hit that packs a great set of features for a fraction of the Apple’s price. 

The same can’t be said for Roku Ultra. The device is currently sold for $99.99. For comparison, Apple TV 4K is $129. For just $29 you can have a tvOS, 60GB more of storage, and +3GB of memory. 

There are simply no reasons why you should choose Roku Ultra in its current pricing and specs version to Apple TV 4K.

Apple TV 4K vs Roku Ultra what should I buy?

Buy an Apple TV 4K without any doubt.

Both for home use and for all kinds of digital signage, Apple TV is a definite winner of this battle. No matter how you look at it, Apple’s device is superior, comes with better performance, more digital signage software options, and a fair price for what you’re getting. 

Sorry, Roku, but Apple TV 4K wins this one.

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