Roku vs. cable – Get the right box for your entertainment needs

People now watch videos and TV shows in different ways. While some rely on Roku devices, others prefer accessing different services through cable TV.

If you want to access different apps and are torn between the two options, you need to consider several factors. Both cable TV and Roku can give you access to so much content. They are, however, geared towards different types of viewers. Roku devices require an internet connection, while cable packages may include channels that you may never use. You need to compare Roku against Cable before choosing one of the options so that you can avoid making the wrong decision. This guide can help.

What are the differences between Roku and Cable?

On-demand content
Live programming
It can work from anywhere.
Depends on the location
3 x 1 x 0.7 inches
7 x 7 x 2 inches
0.08 pounds
1 pound
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Roku vs. Cable – How do they compare?


You need to focus on the type of content when choosing a streaming box. Roku and cable TV differ in the form of content they offer. Roku boxes, for instance, offer channels that give you access to streaming services such as Hulu and Netflix.

Most of the content available through Roku is on-demand, while Cable offers a lot of live content. If you enjoy live programming, you should consider cable TV since it focuses on such content. Roku is, however, better than Cable since it offers a lot of exclusive content that you may not find on cable TV.


Are you budget-conscious? If yes, you should choose to stick to Roku since it can help you save a lot of cash. Roku streaming devices are quite affordable compared to cable TV. If you go for Roku, you only have to pay for the streaming player and a monthly subscription once you choose certain content types. Cable TV, on the other hand, has expensive packages that keep on going up over time. It terms of the pricing, Roku is a better option since it is more pocket friendly compared to Cable.


The problem with Cable is that it is limiting when it comes to location. Different cable companies set restrictions preventing certain areas from getting access to cable services. For instance, through cable providers such as Verizon and Comcast have a large national presence, you may not be able to enjoy cable services from them if you stay in a small town.

Roku, on the other hand, does not limit you to a particular location. You can use this streaming box from anywhere as long as there is an internet connection. This makes Roku more flexible than Cable since it does not work based on particular locations.

Roku vs. Cable – A comparison overview


Roku Premiere | HD/4K/HDR Streaming Media Player, Simple Remote and Premium HDMI Cable
  • Share videos, photos, and music from your Apple device using AirPlay.
  • Incredible picture, incredible value: Experience your favorite TV in stunning detail and...

Roku comes in the form of a simple box that offers a straightforward interface. The Roku device can work well with your existing TV as long as you plug it into the right port. It allows you to stream media easily so that you can enjoy all your favorite movies and shows. When you connect a Roku player onto your TV, you can use your internet to enable different streaming services on various devices such as a computer, gaming console, or smartphone. Roku is, therefore, a convenient device that offers a high level of flexibility.

The company has been making different streaming players that match the needs of various customers. For instance, you can choose the Roku streaming stick or Roku Express if you have an old television. Every Roku streaming box gives users the same level of experience. You can use Roku to access the official Roku channel or other apps such as YouTube, Amazon Prime video, FilmRise, and Hulu. This streaming player only works when your home has an internet connection.

Most people prefer Roku since it not only affordable but also equipped with useful features. For instance, the streaming box comes with a power adapter and remote. Roku has both paid and free content that is still cheaper than choosing other streaming boxes. Instead of typing in the names of different films, Roku offers a voice search feature that can help you find any content within seconds. The remote also contains a headphone output that can help you listen to movies using your headphones to avoid disturbing anyone, especially at night.


  • Numerous channels
  • The remote features a headphone output
  • It is user friendly
  • Affordable
  • Contains voice search feature


  • It does not give you access to iTunes

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Roku specs

Operating system
Channels available
Amazon prime video, HBO, Crackle, FandagoNow, Peacock and Netflix
YouTube TV
HDR and 4K functionality

Cable tv

Five Star Converter Box, 1080P ATSC Digital Tuner Box for Analog TV, Supports Recording PVR, Live TV Shows, Multimedia Playback, H.264 Video Decoding, IR Search, Free Local TV Channels
  • Record Shows and Playback| Schedule, record, and play later. You won't miss your favorite show. This...
  • Free TV Channel| Plus your own TV antenna. Digital TV tuner converts free Over-The-Air digital ATSC...

For decades, many homes in the US have been relying on cable TV for their entertainment. Cable TV offers different channels and networks that provide excellent programs. Different cable providers are responsible for packaging channels and delivering digital signals to homes via a digital box. If you are considering cable TV, you have to sign up with the cable provider to receive the digital box.

Cable TV services rely on geographic locations. If you stay in a large city, you should consider getting cable TV services from a large company so that you can get quick access to different cable packages. Some of the cable providers that offer this include Verizon, Comcast, and Cox. Check the provider’s website for the zip code to see if you are eligible for cable TV. If you are within the right location, you can access cable TV. Apart from paying for the packages, you should also have enough money for the installation.

This streaming box can help you access more than a hundred channels. Companies that offer cable packages also give you music channels, DVR service, and live programming. Though Cable tv delivers significant video signals, it does not come cheap. Since the cable packages keep adding up, you may end up paying so much cash at the end of the year. Cable providers in different states also have varying charges.


  • Cable TV providers offer prompt customer service
  • DVR service
  • Offers live programming
  • Ideal for sports fans


  • It is expensive
  • Not applicable in certain locations

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Cable specs

Univision, CBS, PBS, FOX, CW
4K and HDR functionality
Limited to particular cable providers
YouTube TV


Streaming has come a long way. A few years back, cable providers used to make millions from people who chose cable services for their homes. Things started changing when streaming devices such as Roku began to join the market. Though both options can give you access to lots of content, one is better than the other.

Verdict: So, which is better? Roku or Cable

We took our time to gauge Roku against cable TV and discovered some interesting facts. Cable TV may have live programming and DVR service, but it is quite expensive. We liked not only the affordable cost of Roku but also its simple interface and exclusive channels such as YouTube TV. Unlike Cable TV, you can use Roku from anywhere and get access to thousands of channels. This made us choose Roku as the clear winner.


Does cable TV rely on internet connection?

No. Unlike most streaming services, Cable does not need a strong internet connection. This can be of use if you stay in an area with network problems.

Can I set up a Roku box on my own?

Yes. This is easy to set up and does not need any professional help.

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