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Android TV: How Does Apple TV Compare?

September 11, 2015 - Written By John Anon

This week saw some non-Android news coming through which seemed to impact on the Android world. More specifically, the Android TV world. This was the Apple event in which along with the latest iPhone(s) and iPad, the company also announced the launch of their latest take on TV in the form of Apple TV. On the face of it, Apple TV does not look like much of an offering. That said, if the Apple Watch has taught us anything, it is that Apple do have the ability to shape up these other OS markets substantially. Although, the Apple Watch came late to the game and did not provide anything that revolutionary, not only has it already sold more than any other smartwatch, it has sold more than all Android Wear running smartwatches together. So can Apple TV do the same thing to Android TV.

In terms of the software, Apple TV comes with a new OS in the form of tvOS and this means it offers its own dedicated App Store. Something we have ourselves with Android TV (to a degree). Hardware wise there’s not a great deal to talk about again. While Apple TV does come with some bumps compared to the previous generation, as NVIDIA pointed out during the week, it is not much of a comparison to what is offered on Android TV. The Apple TV 2015 comes equipped with 2GB RAM, a 64-bit dual-core processor, 32 & 64GB storage variants, WiFi and HDMI. When you delve into those specs, it does stack up well against the Nexus Player which comes with only 1GB RAM and 8GB storage. However, the Nexus Player comes sporting a 64-bit quad-core processor. Not to mention, there is a real chance the next-gen Nexus Player might debut soon enough and this would presumably see a bump of its own specs.

But that is where the comparisons stop. Compared to the Razer Forge TV, this one also comes sporting 2GB RAM and is powered by a Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor. Not forgetting that the Razer Forge TV comes with a great Serval controller, which is matched by its emphasis on offering a heightened gaming experience. Something that currently seems to be lacking on the latest Apple TV.

Then moving on to the NVIDIA SHIELD and the comparisons become even more pointless. SHIELD is the most powerful device on the market in this genre. It boasts 3GB RAM and is also powered by a 64-bit Quad-core processor. In fact the processor here is NVIDIA’s Tegra X1 which is very well built for gaming and as a result SHIELD does offer one of the best gaming experiences with access to the same games as the other Android TV devices (and from the looks of it Apple TV) but also access to PC games through GameStream and access to more advanced games though NVIDIA’s SHIELD Hub.

Of course, price does always play a factor and while the SHIELD is the most expensive you are getting more for your money. The standard 16GB SHIELD will cost you $199.99 while the massive 500GB version will cost you $299.99. In contrast, the Razer Forge TV will currently cost you $149.99 while the Nexus Player can currently be picked up for only $69.99. In terms of the Apple TV, this one will come in at $149.99 for the 32GB version and $199.99 for the 64GB version. So on paper, there is not much being offered here with Apple TV that you cannot find on Android. In fact, with the current Android offerings you can do much more. And this is before we even get started talking about rooting and sideloading.