Roku vs Smart TV

Roku vs Smart TV Comparing Media Stream Players

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Going up head to heads is Roku vs Smart TV and which is better, I think you will find that Roku is the clear winner.

It doesn’t matter whether you want to get rid of the expensive cable TV packages or you want to find alternatives to watching content anytime, anywhere and without spending a lot of money. Streaming apps gives you the ability to stream thousands of Videos, Movies and TV shows without breaking your financial reserves.

However, the growing market has attracted thousands of apps and online platforms offering the ability to stream the content you want. So, you’ve got an old TV sitting in your entertainment room and you were considering getting a digital device to help you stream and watch content in real-time?

Have you thought about Smart TV and streaming apps such as Roku?

What is the best alternative and what is the best service for cord cutters. Choosing between Roku and Smart TVs can be a very overwhelming affair. For that reason, we have a detailed comparison between Roku and Smart TVs.

Smart TV overview

You can say goodbye to standard TVs now that we have smart TVs in the market. When they first hit the market, smart TVs were expensive and complicated to use. Today, they are affordable and cost-effective especially if you want to cut the cost of keeping the whole family entertained. They are actually a smart way of jumping to the modern era entertainment. The biggest difference between Smart TVs and traditional TVs is the fact that they have their own operating system that provides a bunch of content to all users.

With a smart TV, you can download apps for streaming TV shows and video content at any time. The operating system works as a market place for all the general apps and software where you can download and store your favorite content.

The other difference between Smart TVs and Roku is the fact that Smart TVs have their own operating system outside the Box. It eliminates the need of adding an operating system as it’s the case with traditional TVs. Remember that the old TVs had to be installed with something like a Roku or a Fire TV Stick that was being plugged into the TV through the HDMI port. This is actually what gives the functionality of a Smart TV.

However, you will have to pay a little more for the Smart TVs especially when compared to the traditional TVs. But I usually think it’s cheaper than going for the Traditional TVs and eventually getting a digital box for the same functionality.

This actually means that you should be very careful when purchasing a Smart TV. In most instances, people will end up buying a digital TV and eventually invest in a Roku Extra device to get the same functionality that a Smart device would give. For most people, they don’t want to pay as much money for Smart TVs. This is actually the main reason why Roku and other streaming boxes were invented.

What is Roku?

If you already own a Traditional TV whether digital or analogue and want to update the Operating system to a new and functional smart approach, you might have to purchase a Roku digital box for this purpose. In simple terms, Roku TV is a smart approach that uses its own software for the operating system to help you download and upgrade your apps and streaming service. Most people go for Roku TV mainly because Smart TVs have complicated and challenging to use navigating software. Unlike Smart TVs, Roku TV has been around for some time.

With Roku TV, you can give your TV a new Operating system. This gives you a chance to stream and watch tons of different free and paid content. With the Roku TV, you can also download and use different streaming apps and services such as Hulu and Netflix. It equally gives you a chance to watch specific channels such as HBO Now, WatchESPN and several other services. These are actually some of the best contents that you might now get with the majority of Smart TVs.

There are some common benefits that you can get with Roku that you will actually not get with Smart TVs. You can check the movies you want to watch and rent them directly from the Store with the Roku hardware. This is something you would never access with some common brands of Smart TVs.

Unfortunately, you will actually have to pay more for the Roku-Powered TVs. But still, it’s very hard to beat the value that comes with the Roku TV. You can save your time and money that you would otherwise spend in searching for and buying the best Smart TVs.

They both use Internet connection

This one of the most noticeable similarities between Smart TVs and Roku devices. In both cases, you need a stable Internet connection to keep going. There’s no better way of taking advantages of the features other than using the Internet connection. You will be able to stream awesome media content, search for the latest episodes and at the same time stream live contents.

What are the common differences between Roku and Smart TVs?


The main difference between Roku and Smart TV is the software. The market is flocking with a number of smart TV brands that you can get quite cheaply. However, this generally means that you are getting poor OEM software. This is actually the same with even major companies such as LG and Samsung. With Roku and similar devices, you actually get a better and more enjoyable user experience. In most instances, this comes with free and paid contents that you cannot find on the Smart TVs.

The user experience

Roku TVs outshine Smart TVs in user experience. Roku has a minimal but very intuitive layout which has gained authority among the users. This is actually the main reason why streaming on Roku has gained popularity with time. Having the Roku system built in the Smart TV simplifies everything from searching for your favorite content to getting recommendations.

The Home screen of Roku devices doesn’t look cluttered from first and third party ads. Additionally, users can easily get access to antenna, Cable TV and game consoles using the Roku TV. Users have a list of all the installed aps with the ability to customize all the apps depending on preferences and likes.

The user experience on Smart TVs will heavily depend on the Type of OS used. Taking for example the LG WebOS, you get a clean and straightforward Roku interface. But with the Samsung Smart TV interface, you can get a little more confused.

The cost

I know you are already wondering how much do Roku TV cost compared to Smart TVs. The price for these two differ significantly depending on the size and the type of service purchased. Roku devices are cheaper than Smart TVs. They are actually available for as little as $118 for the standard 32-inch Roku TVs. The budget can however go as high as $1,999 for the high end 75 inches with Ultra High Definition and HDR vision. The devices are also available in the market at different prices depending on the retailers and the current deals and promotions.

There are other smart TV models that are powered by Amazon Fire TV. These tend to be more expensive and you can end up paying $200 for the 32-inch Smart TVs. The mid-range Smart TVs can range somewhere between $400 and $600. Prices for more advanced smart TVs can go as high as $13,000 for 82-inch models.

The technology

The other difference between these two is the technology. Roku actually provides its OS to major media players such as Hisense, Hitachi, TCL, Sharp and RCA among many others. The technology is user friendly and most reviewers confirm that there are fewer bugs with the Roku technology. As opposed to this, there are several complaints about the smart TV devices and the technology. The Roku technology enables cord-cutters to get the same functionality with smart TVs at a very affordable price. The products are also high quality and offer minimal chances of failed operations.

The processing power

The Roku TVs and other smart TVs are at par when it comes to processing power. The specifications might vary from one brand and model to the other but they are all able to process data and other information as needed. There are actually Smart TVs that process data and information faster than Roku TVs. It all depends on the type of Operating system installed and how stable your internet is. Different models and brands have different processing speed. They have different RAMs ranging from 512MBs to 2GB. The processing power also varies from quad-core 1GHz to 1.3GHz. Some brands such as Samsung TVs have a faster processing speed.

Mirroring and sharing

Roku devices allow mirroring and sharing on android and windows devices. It’s also easy to cast content from your mobile device to the Roku TVs. This is the same thing with many Smart TVs. If you want to share your personal Videos and Photos with the device, this has been made easier.

Most brands and models have inbuilt features to mirror the screen of your mobile device. It’s now easy to use the Smart View App for mirroring on your Smart TV. Newer models and brands also support Google Cast and Apple Airplay. This is used to get content from your phone to your TV’s screen. But still, you should note that the apps, process of mirroring, casting and sharing vary with the model and the OS.

Remote control

The remotes for Roku and Smart TVs vary greatly in terms of voice control and other features. For Roku devices, the remotes are simple and straightforward to use. They have all the buttons for basic controls and channel shortcuts. This is not the same case with the majority of Smart TVs. Though, some Smart TV models and brands come with voice search capabilities. This makes it simple for you to speak and search for the right content without having to type anything.

The range of remotes we can get with Smart TVs is expansive and highly depends on the brand that you are going for. Taking Samsung Smart TVs for example, you can get some sophisticated remotes that let you control the Smart TV with ease.


Roku allows the users to watch content in up to 4k. This is the highest video quality currently available for streamers. Some devices also allow people to watch in Vision High Dynamic Range. This is not the case with most Smart TVs. Most of them allow users to watch in low video qualities.


Lastly, we have to talk about the value of going for Roku Smart TVs and other services. The two devices vary in value depending on the features and properties you’re getting at each point. You can get smaller high definition TVs for less than $200 with both alternatives. Now that the two devices pack the same range of powerful processor and high definition video quality, they are all good value for your money.


Do I need Roku if i have a Smart TV?

These two are great substitutes. This means that you don’t need the other if you have the previous one. Roku, on one hand, allows you to watch free and paid content from Netflix and other video streaming services. Smart TVs, on the other hand, come with all this capability pre-built.

What does Roku do that a Smart TV doesn’t?

Roku works like an app or a device that gives users the ability to stream and watch content from the internet. Even if you don’t have a smart TV, you can still enjoy your favorite content with Roku. You can watch on-demand from Hulu and Netflix or subscribe to Live TV such as YouTube TV and Sling TV.

Is there a Monthly fee for Roku?

No, Roku will definitely not charge you for the free services but you will be charged for any purchases you make.

Final verdict

In the comparison between Roku TVs and Smart TVs, Roku takes home the gold medal. That said, the details between which is the best value for you is more sophisticated than we think. But the information shared here makes sense for novice users and everyone else that is getting the device for the first time.

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