Apple TV vs Roku XR vs Google TV vs Boxee Box

By Wesley Fenlon

AppleTV may be shiny and new, but that doesn't mean it's the best media player on the block.

The new Apple TV is finally revealed, and it’s not quite the iOS 4 device we were expecting. It is, however, $99--a fairly average price for media players--and trying to re-focus the brand into a device solely intended for streaming content rather than storing it. But are there already devices on the market that do what Apple’s intending? Roku lowered their prices in anticipation of the new Apple TV, and Boxee had some interesting comments to make about Apple’s announcement.


 

Platform Apple TV Google TV Roku XR Boxee Box
Price $99 N/A (Expected $200)
$99 $199
Connectivity 802.11b/g/n, Ethernet 802.11b/g/n, Ethernet 802.11b/g/n, Ethernet 802.11b/g/n, Ethernet
Resolution 720p 1080p 720p (1080p coming) 1080p
Streaming Services $.99 Fox, ABC rentals, HD movie rentals, YouTube Dozens: Netflix, Pandora, Last.fm, DVR content, live TV, YouTube Dozens: Netflix, Youtube,  Amazon VoD, MLB, Revision3, and more Hundreds: Netflix, YouTube, Hulu (maybe), MLB, and more
Format Support m4v, mp4, mov, avi over AirPlay N/A
N/A Any non-DRM format
Outputs HDMI, Optical audio HDMI, Optical Audio Composite, Component, S-Video, HDMI, Optical audio HDMI, Stereo, Optical audio
Inputs microUSB USB USB USB, SD card
Availability Now November Now November

Perhaps the biggest chink in Apple’s armor is their new $.99 television show rentals from ABC and Fox. Sure, that’s an attractive price-point--but with Amazon Video on Demand selling those same videos for $.99, it’s hard to recommend renting via Apple TV. Unless you’re a watch-it-once disposable TV consumer, in which case the Apple TV is your device.

Bussiness Insider points out, Google’s hoping to bring the power and range of the computer to the living room. We’re all for supporting web video, but Google TV will need a big marketing push, incredibly friendly interface and irresistible price-point to take up a position between the TV and cable box as a do-it-all device. It’s also important to note that Google TV is a platform, not one specific device, so exact specs ma: all of our spec data came from Logitech’s Google TV offering.

Boxee Blog.

From where we’re sitting, these four platforms are vying for two markets. Apple TV and Roku will battle it out for one, while Google TV and Boxee will scuffle for the other. The Google/Boxee bout is too early to call, but Roku clearly offers more for your $99. Unless you’re a huge fan of that big ol’ Apple logo and AirPlay streaming, or simply love the minimal form-factor of Apple TV, look into a Roku XR.
 
Image credits: Engadget, Logitech, Boxee