We have and adore a Roku 3 hooked up to our TV. It has a slew of channels from Netflix to Amazon Prime to Disney Jr., plus some light games. A brand new Roku 3 with voice search clocks in at $99, and the compact streaming stick at $39.99. So is playing iTunes Videos worth the rumored $149 for the new Apple TV?
It may be a bit of a sticker shock considering the current Apple TV is only $69, but the rumors are pointing to anywhere from $149 to $199 depending on capacity for the new Apple TV. Basically, at a time when every streaming device is heading far south in terms of price, Apple is planning to release a device that’s a significant price jump. Rumors are also indicating that Apple is interested in getting in the original content game, and are hoping to compete with Amazon and Netflix. But original Apple content is at least a year or two away, and while there are still persistent rumors that Apple is working on a live-tv streaming deal, that feature, too, looks to be at least a year away. So for now, you’re paying almost triple the going rate for a streaming device so you can play your iTunes content (supposedly). And don’t forget, if you want Amazon Prime, you’ll have to Airplay it from your iPad, because there’s no native Amazon app for the Apple TV. Rumors do also indicate that casual gaming may come to the Apple TV, which could potentially add to the value, but that remains to be seen.
Contrast that with Roku. On the Roku, we don’t have iTunes content, but we do have Pandora, as well as several news services. We also have Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Youtube, HBO Go, Showtime Anywhere and Google Play. There’s also some casual games, from Tetris to Fieldrunners to Angry Birds. Essentially, since my household has one foot in Apple’s ecosystem and one foot out of it, we can manage 99% of our media from a neutral platform that’s cheaper on hardware and nearly equivalent in terms of services. Oh, and Roku offers a universal search option that’s quite good, another rumored feature of the new Apple TV.
I am honestly a little floored at how high the rumors are indicating for the next generation Apple TV. At $99, this would be a huge blow to Roku and Amazon’s set top boxes. At $149 to $199, this is getting into last-gen game console territory-for $220 or so you can snag a Playstation 3 or XBOX 360, and get the same media options and a deeper game catalog. Basically, the Apple TV as rumored seems to sit right between a basic box and a console in terms of features, but in terms of price it’s a bit high.
Would you snag a new Apple TV at $149-$199? Or are you holding your breath for a $99 price point in the end? We’ll find out soon (maybe September 9th?) but let us know your thoughts below!