Roku Updates Set High Bar for Coming Apple TV Release

This past April, Roku's announcement of updated Roku 3 and Roku 2 set-top boxes solidified the company's intention to continue improving its platform. Users received the first hardware update from the company in about two years, and with that step forward they will see voice search and a boost in processing speed.

Analysis of the updates at nScreenMedia suggests that Roku has raised on the bar on the coming update (soon, we hope) to the Apple TV platform. Aside from grabbing the launch of HBO Now, Apple TV hasn't seen much change as of late. It received a software update with a few minor changes, but improvements to hardware are still just expected for later this year. At this point, Apple is really pushing for local news content for the next generation of its box, reports Motley Fool, which could be impressive but may halt the company's launch goals.

Fans of the Apple set-top may have wanted support for 4K. It doesn't look like they'll get that opportunity, but that isn't exactly a dealbreaker according to industry pundits. The news surrounding Roku is all about improvements to its speed and to the adoption and functionality of its voice command tool. Voice search on the new hardware has proven itself worthy of comparison to Amazon Fire TV which has had a similar function for some time.

Similarly, speed while searching for TV shows or movies continues to be important to users. They want their content, and they don't want to wait. Not even second longer than they have to. And why not? When you're just moving through a menu, it's not unreasonable to expect modern hardware to breeze through the options.

Menu items continue to impress reviewers as well. The addition of the Roku My Feed menu that collects and tracks users' selections of Movies Coming Soon is the sort of bookmarking tool that can compliment options such as "Favorites" seen on other streaming devices. This is all part of the ease of use of today's platforms.

All of this is what Apple will need to deliver if it wants to have success with an upcoming hardware release. Speed, options, and original functionality that makes life easier on the user. It's not just about providing content; there is ample opportunity to impress with the ways in which content is processed. Roku appears to be getting it right. Will Apple have equal prowess in the living room?

Inline images courtesy of Mike Mozart and Mike L.