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Roku vs Smart TV: Which One You Should Buy For Better Entertainment?

Are you confused in deciding between the Roku vs Smart TV? Don’t worry! I was once in a similar situation and after my intensive research, I can help you make a better decision. For this purpose, I invite you to check out this comparison guide. Let’s head towards the next section!

Quick Comparison: Roku TV vs Smart!

An excellent Roku TV or Smart TV is manufactured to offer you with exceptional visual and sound experience. They provide the following features:

  1. Impressive resolution and image quality;
  2. Surround sound and audio features for the best audio experience;
  3. Lifelike content (movies, TV shows, games, etc) experiences;
  4. Bundle of features enhancing accessibility, usage, and more.

Now, the real question for the common consumer is if they both offer such features then what is the difference and which one they should buy? Continue reading as I will explore the pros, cons, and pricing differences of both TVs. Let’s dive deep into the guide and decide which is the most suitable pick for you.

Comparison Chart: Difference between Smart TV and Roku TV

The table listed below highlights the essential details:

Characteristic

Roku

Smart Tv

Maximum Resolution:

8K Ultra HD

8K Ultra HD

Sound:

Dolby Audio (Dolby Atmos®)

Acoustic Multi-Audio Quality

Control:

Remote Control (Apple Home Kit and Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant)

Remote Control (Apple Home Kit and Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant)

Available Channels:

300+ Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and more

190 Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, and more

Range Price:

$120 or above

Starting From $150 or above

Now, let’s have a detailed look at these products:

Drawbacks and Benefits Of Roku TV:

Mentioned below are the pros and cons of the product:

Pros
  • Access to an extensive library of shows from various streaming services like Netflix, and Amazon.
  • The option to use Roku for free and potential savings on subscriptions makes it highly preferable.
  • User-friendly interface with a smartphone-based remote control and private listening feature.
  • Compatible with home assistants is a plus.
Cons
  • The centralized media storage can be limiting.
  • Non-compatibility with TVs lacking HDMI ports may pose issues.

Smart TV Pros and Cons

Compiled below is a list of the pros and cons for better understanding:

Pros
  • There are unlimited entertainment options for video, music, and game streaming.
  • Portability with no reliance on a wall TV outlet.
  • Compatibility with other devices for casting from smartphones or computers.
  • A decent smart TV simplifies tasks with smart speaker functionality and integration with Google Assistant or Alexa.
Cons
  • Models eventually become obsolete as technology advances leading to discontinued updates.
  • Poor connectivity with the Wi-Fi hinders streaming quality and app functionality.
  • Unforeseen expenses, including subscription fees, can add up.

An Insight Into The Roku TV

Roku is the world’s most popular streaming service with over 70 million active users in 2022.

An Insight Into The Roku TV

It offers an extensive selection of movies and shows from renowned providers like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Now, and complimentary content. Here is a brief overview of it for better insight:

  • Comprehensive Ecosystem: The Roku name consists of both smart TVs operating on the Roku OS and standalone streaming. Devices like the Roku Streaming Stick Plus are developed by Roku itself (while smart TVs using Roku software are created by various manufacturers). However, they all share the same user-friendly Roku interface and app store.
  • User-Friendly Interface: Roku has earned a loyal following for its simplicity and ease of use. Its uncomplicated interface presents all apps in a straightforward tile-based layout. This makes it excellent as a user-friendly product in the market.
  • Vast Content Selection: Roku offers a wide range of content, or “channels,” catering to various preferences. This includes popular streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV, Disney Plus, and HBO Max. Additionally, Roku offers numerous independent streaming services like local channels offering news and weather updates to genre-specific channels.
  • Free Offers: Roku also includes a range of free services such as Pluto TV, Tubi, and PBS Kids. Plus, its ad-supported streaming service is known as The Roku Channel.

How Does a Roku TV Work?

Roku TV simplifies your TV viewing experience through a very easy-to-follow method to set it up. Listed below is an explanation of the Roku TV working. Let’s check it out:

Setting up Roku:

The setup process is easy for users to follow and quickly set up. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Step 1: Getting Started: Power Up Your Roku Device. Begin by connecting your Roku device to a power source.
How Does a Roku TV Work_1
  • Step 2: Connect to the Internet: Connect your Roku device to the Internet. Roku devices use wireless connections to access your home network. Also, keep in mind that some models offer a wired Ethernet connector for added flexibility.
How Does a Roku TV Work_2
  • Step 3: Activating the Device: Create a Roku account to activate your device and access content from thousands of streaming channels.
How Does a Roku TV Work_3

To get more insights into streaming media manufacturer Roku and its new product, check out this helpful video.

Exploring the Types Of Roku TV

Roku offers a versatile range of TVs ranging from HDTVs to 8K Ultra HD TVs. Your selection of the best one depends on your budget, preference, and requirements. The price range starts from $119 and above. Here is a list of the products for better understanding:

Series Name

Model Name

4K Capability

Price

Roku Select Series HD

Roku 24" class Select Series TV

FHD (720p

$119.99

Roku Select Series HD

Roku 32" class Select Series TV

FHD (720p

$ 169.99

Roku Select Series HD

Roku 40" class Select Series TV

FHD (1080p)

$ 199.99

Roku Select Series 4K

Roku 43" class Select Series TV

4K (2160p)

$229.99

Roku Select Series 4K

Roku 50" class Select Series TV

4K (2160p)

$299.99

Roku Select Series 4K

Roku 55" class Select Series TV

4K (2160p)

$349.99

Roku Select Series 4K

Roku 65" class Select Series TV

4K (2160p)

$499.99

Roku Select Series 4K

Roku 75" class Select Series TV

4K (2160p)

$699.99

Roku Plus Series 4K TV

Roku 55" class Plus Series TV

4K (2160p, HDR10+, Dolby Vision®, QLED)

$499.99

Roku Plus Series 4K TV

Roku 65" class Plus Series TV

4K (2160p, HDR10+, Dolby Vision®, QLED)

$649.99

Roku Plus Series 4K TV

Roku 75" class Plus Series TV

4K (2160p, HDR10+, Dolby Vision®, QLED)

$899.99

Now that we have covered the Roku TV, let’s head on to the counterpart:

An Insight Into Smart TV

Smart TV models bring you a top-notch experience by offering you several distinctive features.

An Insight Into The Roku TV

They introduce an enhanced viewing experience, for example, high-resolution video quality, improved sound, etc. Here are the key attributes of Smart TVs:

  • Wi-Fi and Ethernet access offer online content through streaming options such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube.
  • They have voice control features via virtual assistant apps such as Alexa and Google Assistant. This makes content searches and navigation easier.
  • You can get both traditional broadcast programming and online content in a single user-friendly device.

Differences Between a Roku TV And Other Smart TVs

1. Operating System

Roku TV is a Smart TV since it is internet-connected and capable of opening apps and streaming media. However, not all smart TVs are Roku TVs. Roku TVs have the Roku OS installed, whereas other Smart TVs will have other operating systems installed. Android TV is a popular operating system, Samsung uses the Tizen OS on their smart TVs, while LG uses WebOS on their models.

Operating System

Related Content: Is a Samsung Smart TV an Android TV? What’s The Difference?

Roku OS is the same operating system that runs on all Roku devices. The only difference between Roku TV and other Roku devices is a few additional questions during setup:

  1. The ability to see TV input options on the main menu;
  2. The ability to view local channels in the Roku Live TV Channel Guide app if you have an antenna connected.

My experience

A lot of people love Roku because the interface is clean, intuitive, and straightforward. Personally, I have an antenna connected, and I really enjoy being able to view my local channels in the channel guide. Not only can I view what is currently on the air, but I can look ahead as well as what came on earlier.  

While Roku TV doesn’t act as a DVR for me to record the shows, I can select a show in the TV guide and see what apps I have installed that the show is available to watch.

2. OS Updates

One concern from users has been operating system updates.

Smart TVs

Smart TVs from smaller brands, and older models may not get updated in a timely manner. Most smart tv software feels like abandonware after a while.  Sporadic upgrades may or may not be pushed out. Larger companies, like the ones you’ve probably heard of (LG, Samsung, etc.), are better about pushing out updates and fixing bugs.

OS Updates

Roku TVs

Roku’s whole business is making streaming devices. Roku TVs run on Roku OS, which is the same operating system as all their devices. This means that Roku TVs will keep getting updates for a longer period of time because it’s in the company’s best interest. They have a vested interest in improving it and keeping it up to date.

3. Screen Mirroring and Casting

The type of TV you choose will affect your ability to share your screen with your Smart TV.

Chromecast

Android TVs allow you to use Chromecast. Chromecast support is integrated into most of the apps you already stream from. If you are connected to the same Wi-Fi network, you will see a Cast icon. It is a rectangle with curves in the bottom left corner.

This is how the Cast icon might appear on your Android phone using the YouTube app:

Chromecast

The streaming app you are using can stream to your Android TV when you see that icon. When you’re not streaming anything in Chromecast, it:

  1. Will show a user-submitted background image;
  2. Or you can set it up to display your own images.
Interesting fact: One of the newest features allows users to play Chromecast app audio streaming in the background of an Android TV. What does that mean? If you cast music from an app, such as YouTube Music or Spotify, you can hit the home button to get to the Android TV home screen without stopping the music.

DIAL – Discovery and Launch

Roku supports what is called “Discovery and Launch”, or DIAL for short. The original Chromecast actually used DIAL to cast videos, but now it uses mDNS instead of DIAL.

DIAL is a protocol developed together by Netflix and YouTube that allows you to cast videos from one device, such as a phone or tablet to a primary device, such as a TV. This means that you can cast from the Netflix and YouTube apps, but not as many streaming apps that support Chromecast.

Note: The alternative option is to just share your whole screen. Screensharing is supported on Android devices and Windows 10 computers, but not on Apple devices.

What Are the Differences Between Casting and Screen Mirroring?

Roku points out several important differences between casting from a Chromecast and screen mirroring. To learn more about how you can screen mirrors and the differences, visit their support page here.

From Roku:

  • What content you can send: When casting, you can only watch content available from a mobile app that specifically supports casting. Screen mirroring allows you to view content from any app installed on your mobile device.
  • What you see on your TV: With casting you only see playback of the selected piece of content, whereas with screen mirroring, you see the entire screen of your mobile device including buttons and menus – every action is mirrored on your TV.
  • How you control playback: Casting gives you the option to use your mobile device for control or you can choose to use your Roku remote. During a screen mirroring session, all actions are controlled on your mobile device.
  • The power state of your phone or tablet: Once playback begins, casting lets you use your mobile device to do something else or you can power it off entirely. Screen mirroring requires that your mobile device remain powered on for the duration of playback.
  • Supported mobile devices: Casting is supported on most mobile devices – if you see a casting icon in the mobile app in the app, you can send content to your TV. Screen mirroring is limited to compatible Android™ and Windows® devices.

Related Content: The Best Apps to Control All Your Smart Home Devices

4. TV Display Quality

Roku licenses the Roku OS to the following TV manufacturers, per their website here. These TVs typically fall in the low to mid-range category, with manufacturers like LG and Samsung being in the high-end category.

LG and Samsung actually develop display technology, meaning they will keep the latest and greatest tech to themselves, although LG does sell some of its LCD displays to other manufacturers. For comparison’s sake, let’s compare LG with TCL. LG is the world leader in displays in terms of quality. TCL is a leader in the mid-range market in terms of units sold.

LG Technology

LG developed Organic LED technology, known as OLED. The OLED displays in LG TVs are ranked as the absolute best displays on the market. OLED displays are so good because the individual pixels light up, instead of having to have a backlight like LCD displays do.

LG Technology
Interesting Fact: Sony buys its OLED displays from LG.

This means that when a picture is black, an OLED display will be perfectly black, but an LCD will appear grey because the backlight is not able to light up individual pixels, and the light bleeds across the screen.

  1. Cheaper models from LG use LED backlighting which offers good brightness, but not as much contrast.
  2. The mid to high-end LG TVs use an IPS-LED display, which allows people to see the image clearly from the side of the TV and not have to sit directly in front of it.
Note: LG TVs usually have Active HDR which supports HDR, HDR10, and HLG. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. It makes the colors on the TV appear really vivid.

TCL Technology

A lot of TCL TVs offer Dolby Vision support which also provides exceptionally vivid colors:

  1. The TCL’s 6-Series has what it calls mini-LED backlight tech to help minimize the bleeding during dark scenes.
  2. The mini-LEDs are capable of lighting up a very small portion of the screen, whereas previous technology lit up larger blocks, or rows and columns, on a screen.
TCL Technology

The TVs from both TCL and LG will appear to have good to exceptional picture quality at first glance, but in a side-by-side comparison, LG OLED TVs will be a clear winner every time.

6. Remote Control: Roku vs Smart TV

Remote controls play a pivotal role in enhancing the overall user experience of both Roku TV and Smart TV.

Remote Control: Roku vs Smart TV

Below, I will explore the features and advantages of the remotes for these two television categories:

Roku TV Remote:

  • The remote design has user-friendly controls.
  • These remotes usually include buttons for essential functions and quick access to channels.
  • Some Roku TV models remote even offer voice search capabilities, simplifying content discovery.

Smart TV Remote:

  • Smart TV remotes, like Samsung’s, offer a versatile, universal control solution.
  • The Smart TV remote allows you to manage both your Smart TV and external devices.
  • Its ergonomic design ensures comfortable handling and easy navigation.
  • You can conveniently switch between apps and control connected devices.

7. Price Comparison Between the Duo

Below, I have compiled a table to understand the price differences between Roku vs Smart TV. Read on:

Parameter

Roku TV

Other Smart TVs (e.g., Amazon Fire TV, Samsung, Sony)

Price Range:

Varied, depending on size and brand, often budget-friendly

Typically higher price range, varying by features and brand

Average Price:

~$120 - $2000)

~$150 - $10000 or more

Opinion on Price:

Generally budget-friendly

Prices can vary (high-end models are more expensive)

The above table shows that Roku TVs are generally a pocket-easy option for consumers. They offer almost similar features to Smart TVs without causing a dent in your budget. On the other hand, Smart TVs can prove to be costly if you eye on high-end models or latest features.

Now, let’s explore the consumers’ experiences with both TVs.

Roku User’s Concerns

Listed below are some of the user reviews of Roku Smart TV:

  • BMike does not recommend Roku smart TVs in a bedroom. They have a bright LED strip at the bottom that turns on even if the device is powered off.
  • Beerguy‘s main concern is the absence of the headphone jack on the Roku remote control. He said that the only output is located at the back of the TV.
  • Lake felt that the sound was not what he had expected.
Roku User's Concerns

User Reviews of Smart TV

I have researched and collected some user reviews of Smart TV users:

  • Lindsey Dorris loved the appearance of the TV but she had problems navigating the interface.
  • Anna Galli tested her Smart TV and found out that the sound did not increase as per her requirement.
  • J. Arenson was impressed by how his LG Smart TV worked but did not like the WebOS.
User Reviews of Smart TV

Final Decision: Which One is Right for You?

Now moving on to the final details of our comparison. Here’s why you should pick Smart TV over Roku:

Smart TVs

Following are the reasons why you should prefer Smart TVs for a better experience:

  • You get brand-specific interfaces such as Samsung, LG, and Sony have their own theme and orientation.
  • Smart TVs are for those users who want high-end features such as voice commands, additional device compatibilities, customization, etc.
  • These Smart TVs get exclusive updates from high-end manufacturers like Samsung, Sony, and LG for better experience and troubleshooting.

Roku TVs

Listed below are the reasons that justify choosing Roku TV:

  • It is very user-friendly and ensures that you do not face any additional hassle while interacting with the TV.
  • You should choose Roku Smart TVs if you like to have a wide range of apps on your device.
  • One of the major plus points for users who prefer Roku Smart TVs is the price point which is very budget-friendly.

FAQs

Do I need Roku if I have a Smart TV?

No, you do not need Roku if you have a Smart TV as they already have connectivity options such as Wi-Fi. But, if you prefer to connect standalone streaming devices then opting for Roku is a good choice.

Between Roku TV and Google TV, which has the better OS?

Roku TV has a better OS which offers a user-friendly interface and a broad selection of apps. But, if you want a personalized experience then Google TV is also not a bad option.

Does a Roku TV work without access to the internet?

Roku TV can work without an internet connection. However, the features and content type are limited as you cannot view streaming content.

What’s the best Smart TV system for streaming?

The best Smart TV system for streaming according to some users is the Samsung S90C OLED. The combination of the 4k Oled panel and Dolby Atmos takes streaming to the next level.

Which is better, a Smart TV or a Roku TV?

A Roku TV is better than a Smart TV offering you a user-friendly, customizable home screen, and a streamlined remote with all the essentials for swift access to shows and films.

Do all Smart TVs have Roku?

No, all Smart TVs don’t have a Roku TV. If your Smart TV doesn’t have Roku, you can still access their service by using their streaming device.

Conclusion

Summing up Roku vs Smart TV, both can elevate your viewing experience with their high-definition picture quality. Roku offers better stream quality and has a vast app library. On the other hand, Smart TVs are a go-to choice for their additional device compatibilities and high-end features.

While purchasing one, make sure to consider the price, features, LCD screen size, resolution, and compatibility with external devices. If you ask for my personal recommendation, I love Roku TVs. My personal purchase of the TCL class 5 series with HDR support and variable refresh rate makes it worth it.

TCL 55
389 Reviews
TCL 55
This 4K Roku TV shines with its Quantum Technology, HDR pro, and Dolby Atmos support. Moreover, the variable frame rates and game mode will take your gaming experience to the next level. This TV will be your best purchase without a doubt!