Recently I went to a Coinstar to cash in my jar's worth of coins collected over the last year or so. I was optimistic in hoping I would get at least $40 out of it, but was pleasantly surprised to learn I ended up getting $95 from the stored up change.
I was looking into nabbing an Apple TV for myself. My family has one in the living room and it's proven to be a really functional box, so I figured having one of my own would be plenty convenient.
But then I was informed by one friend that I should look into getting a Roku instead.
I don't really have any experience with other streaming devices, but the Roku 3 and Apple TV are both priced similarly (the Roku 2 is even cheaper). With that, I decided to educate myself on which of the two streaming devices was the better value, or any other options I'm not aware of.
Firstly, these are the services I would want to use with the streaming device:
4. Hulu (possibly, depending on how I like the trial)
5. Amazon Prime Video (not a dealbreaker, but would be nice. I know it's not available on the Apple TV)
As for what I want out of the box, the two most important things for me would be:
1. Picture Quality (1080p or something close. If one has more compression/artifacts than the other, then not interested)
2. Streaming Quality (does one do a better job streaming without lag/chugging?)
Anything else, such as extra channels, customization or iDevice synchronization, would just be icing on the cake. Those first two things are the most important to me. Another big plus would be a device that always saved your progress on whatever video you were watching. I know Apple TV does that with Netflix, but doesn't seem to do so with YouTube (a big plus for XBMC, which I would exclusively use were it not for its lack of Netflix, Amazon and Crunchyroll integration).
So yeah, looking for the advantages/disadvantages between the two so I can make an informed decision.
Edit: I'm reading reviews and browsing the official site, and the one big plus in the Roku's favor is its larger amount of channels.
The question, though, is how many of those are free. I only plan to subscribe to a couple of services at best, so if all those other channels require additional subscriptions then I'm not interested.
The lack of a YouTube channel is also disconcerting, but if neither Roku nor Apple TV saves your progress on where you left off in a YouTube video, then it's no big deal. In that case, XBMC would still be my predominant venue for YouTube as well as Giant Bomb (which doesn't seem to be a part of either streaming box).