What is the difference between a Roku and an apple tv? I haven't studied the two since I don't have a nice tv but the roku certainly more affordable.
We picked up a Roku box when they first came out and even beta tested several versions of their software, which was mutually beneficial during the infancy of Netflix streaming. Roku was the only option for streaming Netflix at the time. The Apple TV model available at the time of course did not have Netflix streaming at all.
Currently, Roku will also stream LMA, Apple TV will not. Our Roku unit allows component, composite and HDMI video output with both optical and analog audio outputs, not sure about the current Roku boxes but Apple TV does not have the same output flexibility. There are other differences but we don't really find ourselves using the other available features on Roku much except when conducting the beta tests.
Many devices will stream Netflix now, which is our primary usage. Some of the devices have implemented a better GUI than others for streaming Netflix.
Now that both our main TV and Blu-Ray player have Netflix streaming built in, the Roku unit has been moved to another TV.
Roku's interface is the most enjoyable followed by the Blu-Ray players. The TV's implementation of Netflix while certainly usable is a bit awkward compared to the other two.