December 10, 2023

Whether or not you’re in search of a brand new TV or streaming machine, two of the main good TV platforms and consumer interfaces you’ll be selecting from are Google TV and Roku TV. Each of those content material and navigational platforms are wonderful choices, with many shared professionals between them.

For years, Google has offered the constructing blocks to good TV manufacturers from Sony to Hisense below that Android TV banner. Presently, the structural framework of the Android TV system is giving method to an all-new Google working system referred to as Google TV. You’ll discover Google’s newest OS operating on Sony, Hisense, and TCL TVs, in addition to first-party Google units just like the Chromecast with Google TV 4K and Chromecast with Google TV (HD).

On the flip facet of the OS coin is our different good friend within the streaming panorama, Roku. Over a decade in the past, the Roku TV platform was contained to Roku’s lineup of streaming units, permitting these with no good TV to entry a whole lot of standard apps like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and extra by merely connecting a Roku participant — no subscription required. As of late, the Roku TV platform extends from the corporate’s stand-alone gear to a number of good TVs constructed on Roku’s streaming platform, with loads of options, apps, and customizations to select from.

Between Google TV and Roku TV although, which good OS will get you the perfect of every thing? As consultants and devotees of each programs, we determined to interrupt down every platform, weighing in on standards like options, obtainable apps, and film/sound high quality. Learn on to see which system is our final decide.

For this comparability, we examined Google TV with the Chromecast with Google TV and Roku TV with the Roku Streaming Stick+. General consumer expertise could also be barely completely different relying on the kind of TV or streaming {hardware} used.

Options and consumer expertise

Phil Nickinson / Digital Developments

Proper out of the gate, each Google and Roku TV platforms promise (and ship) a consumer expertise that’s packed to the brim with personalization choices. That is prevalent even from the second you first log in to your new TV or start connecting to your streaming machine. Let’s look a bit nearer at each programs, beginning with Google TV.

Google TV

Unboxing my Chromecast, I used to be instantly prompted to proceed setup utilizing the Google Residence app. That is particularly handy for these operating their good properties with a Google Assistant ecosystem, permitting you to easily add your new Google TV {hardware} to your record of present units. Higher but, in case you’ve already been utilizing standard apps like Netflix and Max in your cellular machine, Google TV will mechanically add these apps to your Google TV machine throughout setup.

One in every of our favourite options of Google TV is the way in which that Google intelligently teams your entire go-to subscriptions, films, exhibits, and common watch historical past into one amalgamated dwelling display screen expertise. As a substitute of a stagnant launch panel with your entire downloaded apps listed, Google TV kicks issues off with a pre-selected tab referred to as For You.

The Google TV
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Right here, you’ll discover row after row of film and TV present suggestions, categorized by style and numerous niches. Better of all, these are all entries pulled from the apps you uploaded to Google TV throughout setup, which means no matter is listed needs to be watchable (since you’re both paying for the subscription or utilizing a free trial). For these eager to expertise Netflix or Hulu full-force, to not fear, you may nonetheless launch your particular person apps, too. Moreover, it’s also possible to purchase and lease films instantly via the Google TV platform.

As a part of the Google Residence integration, it’s also possible to work together along with your Google TV product (and different Google-compatible {hardware}) utilizing Google Assistant. For the Chromecast with Google TV and Chromecast with Google TV 4K, a useful Assistant button on the included voice distant means that you can name up particular films and TV exhibits, ask questions, launch apps, and work together with different good units in your Google Residence chain.

One other nice Google TV characteristic is the flexibility to “forged” content material from a cellular machine or laptop computer to your Google TV {hardware}. Whereas casting received’t utterly mirror one machine display screen to the following, the characteristic means that you can begin audio or video on one peripheral after which rapidly share it with one other.

Roku TV

When it comes to Roku TV options, it’s truthful to count on lots from a streaming-centric firm that has been round for a very long time. We’re happy to say that the Roku platform positively delivers … though the Google TV expertise is a bit more personalised from the get-go.

When firing up your new Roku TV or Roku-powered machine, most of your preliminary setup is dealt with via the TV or participant. New customers will probably be prompted to create a Roku account. That is how Roku retains tabs on what units you personal, what apps you’ve downloaded, what cost strategies you utilize, and extra.

Much like Google TV’s cellular setup, Roku TV mechanically imports apps you’ve used on different units to your new Roku {hardware}. In the event you’re a first-time consumer, you’ll must manually select which apps you need added throughout setup or add them later utilizing your machine distant.

As soon as your Roku account is created, you’ll must hyperlink it to your Roku TV machine. From begin to end, it’s a comparatively fast and painless course of. After some preliminary firmware updates (the identical goes for Google TV), you’ll be prepared to start out utilizing Roku.

The Home screen of a Roku.
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In contrast with Google TV’s personalised For You launch, Roku TV opts for a barely extra plain welcome. Beginning on the Residence tab, you’ll see your entire pre-downloaded apps organized in rows and columns that you may navigate via. A number of tabs, starting from Featured Free and Film Retailer to TV Retailer and Streaming Channels, act as filters for Roku’s expansive library of content material. Renting or shopping for a film, TV episode, or full season shops the acquisition in a My Films and My TV Exhibits basket that you may entry from any Roku machine utilizing the identical Roku account.

The place Google TV builds its For You suggestions primarily based on the apps you utilize and your viewing historical past, Roku TV is a bit much less intuitive. Sure, Roku TV will be capable of suggest sure films and exhibits to you primarily based in your viewing historical past; however in contrast to Google TV, you received’t discover suggestions sourced from Netflix and different streaming apps.

The Movie Store page for Roku.
Picture used with permission by copyright holder

In the event you’re all about utilizing voice assistants to enhance your viewing expertise, you’ll be happy to know that Roku TV is appropriate with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit. With Alexa and Google Assistant, you’ll be capable of use voice instructions to launch and management a handful of Roku apps, though not each app options full voice assistant help.

In the event you’re a fan of all issues Apple, Roku TV means that you can use HomeKit and AirPlay 2 to increase your Roku expertise. Much like Alexa and Google Assistant, HomeKit controls embody play/pause instructions, energy, quantity controls, and fundamental distant features.

With AirPlay 2 help, you’ll additionally be capable of “forged” audio or video from sure apps in your iOS or macOS machine to your Roku TV product, just like Google TV’s casting perform. Remember that not all Roku {hardware} helps a full HomeKit/AirPlay 2 expertise.

Each Google TV and Roku TV supply a fast and simple setup course of that you may stroll via in a number of methods, clever and customizable options, and sturdy voice assistant integration. That being mentioned, whereas Roku TV affords lots, the infinite choices will be robust to digest. With Google TV, the default For You web page pulls your entire subscriptions and personalised viewing collectively into one seamlessly curated launch display screen.

Winner: Google TV

Obtainable apps

The bread and butter of each streaming platforms, Google TV and Roku TV customers have entry to large libraries of standard apps, in addition to some third-party gems which will dodge the highlight (a bonus that one system has over the opposite).

At the moment, Google TV is dwelling to greater than 8,000 streaming purposes, that includes help for many main gamers like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and extra. You’ll be able to add apps to your Google TV platform at any time by navigating to the Apps tab and choosing/downloading one (or a number of) of your selecting.

Whereas 8,000-plus is nothing to shake a stick at, Roku TV customers can select from near 40,000 apps. Whereas many of those are official Roku channels, there are pages upon pages of third-party apps obtainable for obtain, too. In the event you’re a fan of a selected movie style (Westerns, movie noir, international horror), we assure that there’s an app tailored for you and your area of interest within the Roku Channel Retailer.

The Roku Channel Store.
Picture used with permission by copyright holder

When it comes to breadth, Roku TV encompasses a wider gamut of each first- and third-party apps, comprising a library of channels that numbers within the hundreds. Effectively performed, Roku TV. You’ve earned your self a degree right here.

Winner: Roku TV

Image and sound high quality

At the moment, Google TV helps Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Imaginative and prescient, and Dolby Atmos, together with 4K viewing at as much as 60Hz. Do take into account that in case you’re utilizing a Google TV-powered streaming machine, solely the Chromecast with Google TV 4K provides you with Dolby Imaginative and prescient and 4K/60Hz help. Additionally, not each app within the Google TV lineup is appropriate with right now’s premium image and sound codecs. If an app that you simply love isn’t mechanically triggering Atmos, there’s a very good probability {that a} future Google TV firmware replace might permit mentioned app to correctly handshake with Google TV, permitting for Atmos sound and Imaginative and prescient viewing.

You’ll be able to alter image/sound settings in your Google TV product by navigating to the Settings tab and choosing Show & Sound.

So what about Roku TV? The quick reply, at the very least in the case of 4K, Dolby Imaginative and prescient, and Dolby Atmos, is sure. You’ll be capable of reap the benefits of each premium image and sound codecs with a number of Roku TV televisions (primarily TCL), in addition to the Roku Extremely. What codec variations your TV or machine will help will rely on the mannequin 12 months and operating firmware.

For Roku TV merchandise, you may alter image/sound settings by navigating to Settings, then choosing Show kind (for image) or Audio.

We’re giving this one to Google TV although. Whereas Roku TV merchandise supply respectable help for right now’s main image and sound codecs, general help for premium visuals and audio is a little more throughout the board with Google TV.

Winner: Google TV

Backside line

Chromecast with Google TV plus remote.

We’re going with Google TV, mates. Certain, Google isn’t precisely new to the streaming panorama with Android TV being round for fairly a while, however as a revamped TV streaming platform, Google TV is fairly unimaginable. From its extremely personalised dwelling display screen to its intuitive Google Assistant help, Google Residence integration, and film/sound capabilities, Google TV units are wonderful stand-alone purchases and nice additions to an present Google ecosystem.

Don’t get us mistaken, now: We’ve lots of affection for Roku TV! In actual fact, in the case of obtainable apps and general voice assistant integration, Roku edges slightly forward of Google. That being mentioned, Roku has been round some time, and, in some methods, we’re nonetheless asking them to shock and delight us within the some ways Google TV does, with the latter having been round for considerably much less time.

And so now the battle is concluded … at the very least for now. Congratulations, Google TV. You’ve received us over. Do proceed impressing.

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