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When you run a business globally, your website is one of the most powerful tools to reach and communicate with your target audience.

If you are conducting business offline in various countries, you already know how different the audience is from country to country.

Each country also has different business-related policies and rules. With a website, you also need to consider these and online regulations.

From an international SEO viewpoint, there are some critical aspects that the site owners must always keep in mind, including geotargeting, different search engines, and differences between each local audience.

There are additional factors to consider when deciding to have a global site or separate local sites – a place for each targeting country or language – including maintenance costs and the availability of local teams to maintain the sites.

In this article, I will explain four areas that greatly determine whether a global or local site is better for you.

Data & Privacy-Related Laws & Regulations

It is impossible to list all laws and regulations to do business in different countries around the globe. But two of the most important sets of laws and regulations for website owners to pay attention to are:

Privacy and Data Protection.

Website Accessibility.

As mentioned above, each region, country, or state can set its own, and it can be a broad policy, guidance, law, or any other type of regulation.

Some are applied to all websites, while others are applied to websites for specific scopes, such as government and public sectors.

In the European Union (EU)

It regulates the processing by an individual, a company, or an organization of personal data relating to individuals in the EU.

In California

The State of California has passed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and many companies expect other states to follow suit and enact similar privacy laws shortly.

Some sites have already responded by showing the cookie consent message to everyone regardless of the access location.

In Japan

The Act on the Protection of Personal Information was first set up in 2005 in Japan, drastically amended in 2024, and has been in full force since 2023. It mandates Japanese websites to post a privacy policy and other requirements.

Ecommerce sites must also post the information specified in the Commercial Transactions Law.

Even if the website is managed in the U.S., your Japanese website must meet these regulations, especially if you have a physical presence in Japan.

The above images are from the footer on Apple’s websites in the U.S., U.K., Japan, and China.

In addition to a standard privacy policy, the U.K. site has a page about using cookies about GDPR.

The Chinese website indicates the website registration number below the footer links as required by Chinese regulations.

Accessibility-Related Laws & Regulations

Last month, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) made headlines when a federal lawsuit against Taco Bell was filed. While it was against the restaurant, this got many website owners’ attention.

Currently, there are IT accessibility laws and policies for U.S. federal agencies and several guidelines and standards to be considered in general, including the Information and Communication Technology Standards and Guidelines.

ADA applies to both public and private sectors, including websites. In terms of website accessibility, many points will improve overall user experiences for not just people with disabilities but all website users.

For many countries and regions, including Canada, China, the EU, Japan, and the U.K., accessibility to web content is often a mandatory policy.

W3C has an excellent overview and country-specific information on web accessibility laws and policies.

Like the data and privacy laws and regulations, each country has different requirements for accessibility.

It’s a growing task for website owners to keep up with these rapidly changing requirements, especially for global site owners. Failure to adhere to them can be costly financially and negatively impact brand image.

Local Trends & Competitors

I work closely with websites targeting the Asian market, so I can usually tell if the site is a local company site or a global company’s local site from the design and content.

The difference is not caused by the design skill but by how much they understand the local market and the target audience.

The easiest way to show this difference is to compare the website’s design. The layout, color scheme, and images are also other telltale signs of where the site was created.

For eCommerce sites, how people expect to pay for the orders differs from country to country. The exchange and return policy are another difference among countries.

While these differences don’t impact the entire site, they can cause customers to abandon the shopping cart.

The differences in the local interests are reflected in website content, too. Often, global sites’ content is determined by the HQ country, while local competitor websites have content designed to satisfy the specific interests of the local audiences.

The inability to satisfy the local searcher’s intent can cause a considerable business opportunity loss to the global website.

As Google improves the algorithms to present the best content for each searcher, poorly localized content that is not particularly written for local audiences won’t be competitive in the search results.

One Global Website vs. Multiple Local Websites

(Product images reflecting the local interests: U.S. and Japan “mug cup” Google search results)

If you have global sites under one domain using the same webpage templates for all country websites, create a list of must-meet regulation points from all concerned countries, and implement them regardless of the target country.

While it seems like an enormous task, if you have a smaller team or don’t have a team in each country, this is the best option for you to cover all bases.

In this case, having someone responsible for reviewing and keeping up with laws and regulations would be helpful as these are updated from time to time.

You may want to consider creating a separate website for each target country if you have:

A good number of team members in each local country manage the website.

Enough budget to support it.

Even if you separate the sites by regions with similar laws and regulations or user and cultural trends, it would give you more flexibility, be better compliant, and be appropriately designed for local audiences.

For example, instead of setting up multiple country and language sites within the EU under one domain set up for the EU market, it is probably easier to manage the website design and content for a specific audience in each country in the EU.

Central and South American countries may be another target market that works with one domain with multiple country sites.

Considering the multiple characteristics of the Chinese market – from Baidu’s capability and algorithms to connection speed, website registration policy, and cybersecurity law (a.k.a. “Great Firewall of China”), it may make sense to create a separate Chinese website for many companies that consider China as one of their important markets.

When you have a particular website, you can host it in the country to help improve the download speed.

It is easier to obtain ccTLD with the website registered with the Chinese government and provide the content designed specifically for the Chinese audience.

Final Thoughts

Having a separate website for each target country offers many more options and the flexibility to comply with local laws and policies and reflect local interests in the content and website design.

These are also great for geotargeting in SEO, which is one of the biggest concerns for many global website owners. However, it comes with an increased overhead cost.

It is not impossible to meet the local laws and policies with one global domain website.

As Apple and other global corporations do, you can provide unique local content even with different website designs.

Using the same domain doesn’t mean having the same design or using the same CMS. It is possible to have the localized content on the same CMS and add local-only unique content using a different CMS on the same domain site.

When deploying global or local sites, meeting local regulations and accommodating local audiences’ interests are essential.

Once you set up websites, track the performance data from each local site and content and make adjustments as needed.

Suppose the data indicates that having a global site limits the business potential due to different local interests and requirements or that having local sites is too costly. In that case, you need to reconsider the options.

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Roku Vs Chromecast: Which Streaming Platform Is Right For You?

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

While there are a lot of media streaming devices on the market, the chief rivalry in the budget space is arguably between Roku and Google’s Chromecast. You can have a great experience with either platform, so here’s what you need to know before making the leap.

On the surface, Roku seems to have a gigantic lineup compared with Google, but most of its standalone devices (we’re ignoring integrated Roku or Google TVs, here) are just variants of a few core products.

Roku streamers

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Roku Express (Amazon): The cheapest model at $30, it comes with an infrared (“simple”) remote, and lacks support for 4K HDR. You can’t do Dolby or DTS audio unless you use HDMI passthrough, and it lacks volume leveling or night mode options.

Roku Express 4K: This one is increasingly hard to find, but it’s the cheapest with both 4K and HDR, the latter in the form of HDR10 Plus. Audio format support is largely the same, but you do get volume leveling and night modes.

Roku Express 4K Plus (Amazon): The only difference versus the regular Express 4K is the addition of Roku’s voice remote, which makes search easier and includes its own power and volume buttons.

Roku Streaming Stick 4K Plus (Amazon): Going with the Plus gets you the Voice Remote Pro. That includes a headphone jack for private listening, customizable shortcut buttons, and a finder function if you lose it in the couch cushions. The remote is rechargeable too, so you won’t burn through batteries.

Roku Ultra LT (Amazon): The main reason to go with an Ultra is performance — you get Roku’s fastest processor, its best Wi-Fi, best HDR compatibility, and an Ethernet port if you want maximum bandwidth. The Ultra LT only comes with Roku’s standard voice remote, though you do get the option of private listening through Bluetooth or the Roku mobile app. The LT is harder to find these days, but if you’re determined, you can still get one via Amazon or Walmart.

Roku Ultra (Amazon): This is the top of the line if you don’t want integrated speakers. Upgrades over the LT include the Voice Remote Pro, Dolby Atmos surround sound, and private listening via the remote as well as Bluetooth and the Roku app. If you’ve got media on a USB drive, you can plug it directly into the set-top.

Roku Streambar (Amazon): The Streambar is effectively an Ultra built into a soundbar, upgrading your TV’s audio and streaming tech simultaneously. Accordingly there are HDMI, USB, and optical ports, as well as improved audio options, namely speech enhancement and Dolby Audio processing. There are some odd sacrifices — you don’t get Dolby Atmos, and HDR is limited to HDR10 (not HDR10 Plus). You also only get Roku’s standard voice remote, limiting private listening to Bluetooth and the Roku app.

Roku Streambar Pro (Amazon): The major upgrade here is sound quality. Whereas the regular Streambar uses four 1.9-inch drivers, the ones in the Pro are sized at 2.5 inches, giving them more punch. An upgraded remote adds a headphone jack to private listening options, as well as customizable shortcut buttons and a finder function through the Roku app. Oddly enough the Pro doesn’t expand HDR support, or enable any form of surround sound. At least without buying additional Roku speakers, that is, but that’s true of the regular Streambar too.

Chromecast streamers

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Chromecast with Google TV HD (Amazon): Google TV is an enhanced version of Android TV. The base $30 Chromecast dongle limits resolution to 1080p, but does support HDR in the form of HDR10 Plus and HLG. Its remote offers built-in Google Assistant.

Chromecast with Google TV 4K (Amazon): Largely identical to the HD, this upgrade adds 4K and Dolby Vision for the best possible picture. You can also buy it in “sky” or “sunrise” colors, not just the “snow” (white) of the HD.

Roku vs Chromecast: Software

Roku

Roku devices are based on Roku OS, which is relatively simple-looking compared to other streaming platforms, but that’s actually a benefit — it’s easy to learn, and runs smoothly on any recent hardware. There are several key features:

The Channel Store is where you go to find apps, since Roku refers to everything as “channels” regardless of whether it involves video, audio, or gaming. Confusion aside, the Store hosts over 4,000 titles, covering most major services and many niche options.

Voice search is deeply integrated into the platform, using either the Roku app or compatible remotes. It shows an array of viewing options in results, including subscriptions, purchases, and rentals.

In the US, UK, Canada, and Mexico, The Roku Channel offers a mix of live and on-demand programming, most of it free but ad-supported. In some cases you may be able to subscribe to outside services (like Showtime or Shudder) through the Channel, which are then centrally billed to your Roku account.

The Roku app serves many purposes, including finding and installing channels, and controlling devices connected to the same Wi-Fi network. It’s your best friend if you can’t find your physical remote.

In the US, Roku has partnered with Wyze to sell smart home accessories like lights, security cameras, and video doorbells. While you can use an app, Amazon Alexa, or Google Assistant for control, the novelty here is support within Roku OS. If someone rings the doorbell, for instance, you’ll get an alert on your TV and the ability to tune in directly.

There’s a limited amount of streaming control through third-party platforms including Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Assistant. If you link an Echo speaker to a Roku device, for example, saying “Alexa, open YouTube” will both turn the Roku on and launch the YouTube app.

A Live TV Zone directs you to live programming. New with Roku OS 12 is a US-only Local News option, and a Premium Subscriptions section for signing up to paid live services.

Another Roku OS 12 addition is an improved Continue Watching row (under What to Watch) that makes it easier to resume viewing titles on services like Netflix, Max, and Prime Video.

The homescreen automatically groups movies and shows according to your habits, likewise offering recommendations.

There’s a centralized watchlist, which makes it easy to add items from multiple services for later viewing. Roku has an equivalent feature called the Save List, but Google still has the edge, not the least because you can add items from any device signed into Google Search on the web.

Google Assistant is a big one. While Roku devices offer limited integration with Assistant, Alexa, and HomeKit, you get full control of a Chromecast from any device with Assistant installed, including smart speakers and displays. Accordingly, that maximizes possibilities in smart home automation — imagine a “Hey Google, it’s movie night” command triggering a search for action movies while simultaneously lowering the blinds, cranking speaker volume, and dimming the lights to a faint orange glow.

Google Cast was the original Chromecast’s raison d’être, and while that technology is now present on many other devices (Rokus included), you’re guaranteed to get full compatibility with Google hardware, including moving media from room to room with your voice.

Extensive parental controls will only matter to some people, but through tools like Family Link you can limit app and media activity, including setting bedtimes to keep kids from streaming all night.

As you’d expect, Chromecasts are designed with hooks for Google services such as Google Photos and YouTube TV. In fact they’re the only way you can get a dedicated YouTube Music app on non-Google TVs, though you can always just play tracks in the primary YouTube app.

Roku vs Chromecast: Content

Most things you want to watch on Roku can be found on a Chromecast, and vice versa. There are some notable exceptions — Twitch is available on Android/Google TV but not Roku, for example — but you’re not going to be wanting for major services like Netflix, Max, or Spotify. Check the availability of your favorites before committing to a purchase.

Both platforms have access to YouTube, YouTube TV, and YouTube Music, though as we indicated, listening to Music on Roku involves using the main YouTube app. Roku only really sets itself apart by way of the Roku Channel, as well as host of extremely niche apps for content like church services or old cartoons. You probably won’t miss those on a Chromecast, and even the Roku Channel can be hit-or-miss, sometimes forcing you to sift for a while to find quality material. We wouldn’t depend on it as our only source of video.

Neither platform is good for gaming. Google killed off Stadia cloud games in January 2023.

Google Maps Vs Apple Maps: Which Navigation App Is Right For You?

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Google Maps and Apple Maps are two of the most widely used navigation apps today, offering a range of features to make traveling easier and more convenient. However, each app has its unique strengths and weaknesses. In this Google Maps vs Apple Maps showdown, we’ll compare both apps’ features, user interface, navigation accuracy, car integration, and more.

Google Maps vs Apple Maps

If you own an Android phone, you’ve likely been using Google Maps, which is pre-installed on most devices. Although, it can be easily downloaded from the Apple App Store for iOS devices. On the other hand, while Apple Maps is a native app on iOS devices, it is not officially available for Android devices through the Google Play Store. However, there are workarounds to access Apple Maps using web-based solutions, though the experience may not be as seamless or feature-rich as on an iOS device.

Already, Google Maps gets bonus points for near-universal availability. While the decision between Apple Maps vs Google Maps is likely faced more often by iPhone users, the comparison between navigation apps is still a worthwhile investigation regardless of which device you have. Let’s find out which app does a better job of getting you from point A to Point B.

Features and Abilities

Google Maps offers various features such as real-time traffic updates, voice-guided navigation, offline maps, Street View for an on-the-ground first-person perspective, and live location. It also integrates with Google services like Google Assistant for hands-free control and Google Earth for satellite imagery.

Apple Maps, on the other hand, has similar features like real-time traffic, voice-guided navigation, offline maps, and Look Around. However, it also includes Apple-specific features like indoor maps for public places like airports, Flyover for a drone-like view of major landmarks and cities, and Siri integration for hands-free control. Both apps use a dark mode to make it easier for your eyes during late-night driving.

User Interface

Both Google Maps and Apple Maps have user-friendly interfaces. Google Maps is a bit more cluttered, with more information displayed on the screen at once. Along the top screen is the search bar, with your account profile accessible from the left. Below you’ll find dedicated buttons for things like restaurants or gas stations, which can be helpful.

At the bottom of the screen is a menu to access the Explore and Commute features, saved locations, local news, and the option to contribute reviews and feedback for local amenities. If you find it all a bit much, you can tap the center of the screen, and it will all disappear.

Navigation Accuracy

Traffic Information

Public Transport

Google Maps’ robust public transportation system offers comprehensive information on transit routes, schedules, and estimated travel times. Apple Maps has improved its public transport information in recent years, but it still lags behind Google Maps in terms of coverage and accuracy. It can tell you the location of, say, a bus that’s en route, but it can’t tell you how crowded that bus is, which Google Maps can. Either way, they’ll both tell you what stop to get off at and suggest alternative ride-share options.

Assistant Integration

Google Maps integrates seamlessly with Google Assistant, enabling voice commands and personalized recommendations based on your Google account. Apple Maps integrates with Siri, offering a similar experience for iPhone users. Both assistants offer comparable functionality, with the choice mainly coming down to personal preference and ecosystem loyalty.

Siri does work with Google Maps, but you will have to specify which app you want directions from, or else it will default to Apple Maps. You can turn Siri off and download and set up Google Assistant on your iPhone, so you don’t have to say “directions to X from Google Maps” every time, but it is a bit of a hassle either way.

Street View vs Look Around

Google Maps Street View provides panoramic street-level imagery, allowing users to explore locations virtually from a first-person perspective. Apple Maps’ Look Around offers a similar feature with high-resolution, 3D imagery. Both are valuable alternatives to the typical top-down view of maps that give you a better sense of the terrain, especially while traveling to new areas.

While both features serve the same purpose, Google Maps has more extensive coverage since it has been around since 2007. More users have had more time to contribute images from streets worldwide. Apple’s Look Around has only been around since 2023, and the number of places you can actually use the feature is far less. Google had a head start and has managed to document more places, but Apple Maps should catch up to be just as robust with time.

Business Information

Both Google Maps and Apple Maps offer detailed business information, including addresses, phone numbers, hours of operation, and customer reviews. With Google Maps, you’ll find discovery options for specific categories below the search bar and a general overview of everything available from the Explore tab at the bottom. Apple Maps has a Fine Nearby feature that works similarly to Explore, but the information is paltry in comparison.

Google Maps has a more extensive database due to crowdsourcing user contributions through reviews and ratings. Contact information, opening hours, menus, and more are all at your fingertips. Also, because Google knows where people are at any moment, it can estimate how busy a place is, which is helpful if you want to avoid crowds.

Apple Maps has curated guides that source relevant editorial content online to help familiarize you with an area, which can sometimes provide higher-quality recommendations. Still, you certainly get more quantity of user feedback and tips from Google Maps discovery.

Privacy Car Integration

Google Maps is available on Android Auto, while Apple Maps works with Apple CarPlay. Both systems offer a similar experience: voice-guided navigation and easy access to music and communication apps on their vehicle’s infotainment system. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are available on many car models and work seamlessly with your vehicle’s controls. The choice between the two largely depends on your smartphone platform and personal preferences.

Google Maps vs Apple Maps: Which one is right for you?

Both Google Maps and Apple Maps offer a range of features to make navigation and travel more convenient. While Google Maps has an edge in areas like traffic information, public transport, and business information, Apple Maps shines in terms of privacy, user interface, and seamless integration with the Apple ecosystem. Ultimately, the choice between Google Maps and Apple Maps comes down to personal preference, the devices you use, and the specific features you prioritize. It’s worth trying both apps to see which one best suits your needs and preferences.

Which navigation app do you prefer?

719 votes

Yes, you can use Google Maps on Apple CarPlay. To do this, you must install the Google Maps app on your iPhone and a CarPlay-compatible vehicle. Once connected, you can select Google Maps from the CarPlay interface to use it for navigation.

Yes, you can use Google Maps on Apple Watches with WatchOS 5 or higher and iOS 10 or higher. You must also turn on location services to use Google Maps on your Apple Watch.

Apple Maps is not officially available for Android devices through the Google Play Store. However, there are workarounds to access Apple Maps using third-party apps or web-based solutions, but the experience is not as seamless or feature-rich as on an iOS device.

Roku Buyer’S Guide: Which Roku Streaming Device Is Right For You?

What is Roku?

Roku is a line of set-top boxes, streaming sticks, and smart TVs that enable media streaming from a variety of online platforms. The set-top boxes paved the way for the small, inexpensive streaming sticks that millions of consumers around the world now use to watch Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, and others.

The first Roku device, released in 2008, was developed in collaboration with Netflix, which started its online streaming business a year earlier in 2007. Rather than release it under the Netflix brand, it was spun off into a separate company to avoid any potential licensing issues.

Roku devices were ahead of the curve in 2010, offering HD streaming with the Roku HD-XR, at a time when few streaming services supported it. In 2024, the Roku 4 was released: the first device to support UHD (4K) streaming.

Since then, Roku has expanded its offerings to include a range of devices at varying price points. One of the main things that separates them from competitors is support for nearly all streaming platforms and an included remote control.

Why is it called Roku? What does Roku mean?

The origin of the brand name comes from the company’s founder Anthony Wood. The word Roku means six in Japanese, and it was the sixth company he started. Wood still remains the CEO and Chairman of Roku, inc. as of 2023.

Best Roku channels

Apple TV Plus — Apple’s platform is filled with exclusive TV shows and movies, available for a small subscription fee, and easy to watch on Roku.

Crackle — This free ad-supported platform has a solid list of popular movies that rotates frequently.

CuriosityStream — A subscription streaming service filled with great documentaries and other non-fiction content.

Disney Plus — Disney’s subscription service includes all of its animated classics, as well as the Pixar, Marvel, Nat Geo, and Star Wars catalogs.

Max — HBO’s impressive library of original TV shows and movies is available for a monthly fee, along with the expanded Max and Discovery Plus catalog from Warner Bros. Discovery (the stand-alone HBO channel is no longer available).

Hulu — A great selection of TV shows and some movies, with both ad-supported and ad-free plans available.

chúng tôi — One of many subscription sports channels on Roku, enabling streaming of all Major League Baseball games.

Netflix — The largest subscription streaming service in the world. Streaming quality depends on which subscription plan you choose.

Prime Video — Amazon’s service includes a library of content behind a subscription fee, as well as the ability to buy and rent individual titles.

The Roku Channel — Free, ad-supported access to a rotating list of movies and TV shows. The Roku Channel can also be accessed by Roku customers on mobile devices thanks to dedicated apps for Android and iOS.

YouTube — The largest video platform functions largely the same as the phone app or website, allowing you to stream well over a billion hours of content free of charge.

What about DVR?

Roku devices are fairly low-cost streaming options, and as such don’t have DVR capabilities built-in. Most have very little onboard storage. Only the more expensive models like the Roku Ultra offer SD card memory expansion.

However, in today’s age of streaming ubiquity, there is another way to get DVR on your Roku device — cloud DVR. Many services, like YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV, and fuboTV, allow you to save live content on the cloud and stream it whenever you want.

This is great because it eliminates the need for on-device storage, and allows you to stream in other rooms of the house (or other houses entirely). However, it also means that you won’t be able to stream them offline, which is one of the major draws of DVR in the first place.

Every Roku device

Before getting into the best Roku devices, here’s a breakdown of every device and major accessory currently available:

Roku Express

Roku Express 4K+

Roku Premiere

Roku Premiere+

Roku Streaming Stick 4K

Roku Streaming Stick 4K+

Roku Ultra

Roku Streambar

Roku Streambar Pro

Roku Wireless Speakers

Roku Wireless Subwoofer

Roku offers a line of streaming devices at different price points, including set-top boxes, streaming sticks, and even other types of products like smart speakers. Odds are if you’ve found your way to this Roku buyer’s guide, you’re looking for a streaming device, so let’s start with those.

Below we’ve listed our picks for the best Roku streaming devices you can currently buy. A bit further down we’ve also included details about other Roku products like the soundbar and Roku TVs. Note that all of these are available in the US, Canada, and Mexico, but international availability may differ.

Roku Premiere

4K TVs have become more and more affordable over the years, and if you want a Roku streaming device that supports this resolution, you’ll want to look at the Roku Premiere. It’s the cheapest model to offer UHD 4K streaming with HDR.

Apart from that, it’s virtually identical to the Roku Express. You get the same basic remote with no voice controls, and it connects via single-band Wi-Fi. The good news is that it’s a slightly older model, so you can get your 4K streaming fix also for just $34.99.

Roku Streaming Stick Plus

If there’s one Roku device that’d we’d have to pick for most users, it would be the Roku Streaming Stick Plus. It has a smaller, USB stick-like appearance that plugs into your TV’s HDMI port so it won’t clutter up your entertainment system. It can also be plugged directly into your TV’s USB port for power (although you should make sure your TV supports this first).

Despite its small size, Roku Streaming Stick Plus packs a lot of features: UHD 4K, HDR, and a premium remote with voice controls. That’s a lot of convenience, though the device does come in around $50.

Roku Ultra

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

The Roku Ultra supports Full HD, 4K UHD, and HDR streaming. While it’s not the only Roku streaming player to support such resolutions, this is the top-of-the-line and best Roku streaming player you can buy.

The Ultra is the only Roku streaming player with an Ethernet port. It’s also the only option with storage expansion through a microSD card slot or full-size USB port. Even the remote is unique since it features personal shortcut buttons, a remote finder, buttons for TV power, volume, mute, and a headphone jack for private listening. On that note, you’ll also be happy to learn it comes with some nice JBL headphones.

Roku also offers a Walmart exclusive Ultra LT, which offers many of the same features at a lower price point. It drops a few programmable buttons from the remote, and you won’t find a USB port, but the savings are worth the difference.

Other Roku devices

Roku

Although streaming devices are by far Roku’s most popular products, the company offers several other gadgets as well. These range from premium streaming speakers to full-on smart TVs with a Roku-based operating system. Some of these are manufactured by Roku itself, but the TVs are always made in partnership with established brands like HiSense or TCL.

Perhaps the most attractive is the Roku Streambar. It solves two problems with a single device. Not only does it enhance your existing TV’s speakers, but it also has built-in 4K streaming support, and comes with a remote. It costs $170, with an additional Roku subwoofer and Roku speakers available. These extra speakers are also able to connect to Roku TVs, eliminating the need for any other streaming devices.

There are a variety of Roku Smart TVs on the market too, and some of them start as low as $180. They are a solid alternative to streaming devices for people who have outdated TVs and want an upgrade.

Roku was one of the first companies to blaze a trail into the unknown wilderness of streaming media a decade ago. Nowadays, there are many more options available. Some of these are coming from the biggest companies in the world like Google, Apple, and Amazon.

If you’re not entirely convinced by any of the Roku devices above, we’ve broken down a few of the best alternatives below. Not included are Smart TVs, which often have many of the same capabilities but are far too numerous to list here.

Google Chromecast

Google launched its first Chromecast streaming dongle in 2013 and has since expanded the line to include two models. The cheapest, called simply Chromecast, costs $35 and allows up to HD quality. The Chromecast Ultra, costing $70, allows 4K streaming and has an ethernet port for a more consistent connection.

Price-wise, this makes Chromecast devices comparable to Roku’s streaming sticks, but in practice, they work completely differently. First, there is no operating system or channel store. In order to stream to your TV via Chromecast, you need to “cast” media from a smartphone or a computer. Most streaming apps support casting, so compatibility isn’t much of an issue.

An even bigger difference is the lack of a remote on most models. Just like you need another device (usually your phone) to start streaming via Chromecast, you also need it to control playback. Google solved this problem by releasing the Chromecast with Google TV, which comes with a remote and uses a slightly different UI. At just $40, it’s a fantastic alternative to a Roku Ultra.

Apple TV

Way back in 2007, before Roku had even entered the streaming game, Apple had already released a streaming set-top box called Apple TV. Today, there are two Apple TV devices currently available: the Apple TV HD and the Apple TV 4K.

Apple TV devices work very similarly to Roku devices, with a built-in OS and an app store to navigate streaming services. They both come with a physical remote, but you can also use a normal remote control or a remote app on your smartphone.

As expected from Apple-brand devices, they start at a much higher price point than those of most competitors. The HD model costs $144, while the 4K model has two versions with 32GB of storage ($179) and 64GB of storage ($199). However, all new purchases come with three months of Apple TV Plus for free.

Amazon Fire TV

Amazon, not to be outdone by other tech giants, currently offers three streaming devices under the Fire TV brand. They run on the Android-based Fire OS, which has channel support similar to Roku OS. However, Fire TV doesn’t support nearly as many channels.

There are two streaming sticks on offer: the HD-only Amazon Fire TV Stick at $40, and the Fire TV Stick 4K at $50. There’s also a set-top box called the Fire TV Cube, which adds integration with Amazon Echo smart speakers and costs $120.

All three come with Alexa voice-enabled remotes, making them a great alternative to Roku streaming devices. They’re best for people who have already bought into the Amazon home ecosystem, or for people who just love using voice commands to control everything in their homes.

NVIDIA Shield TV

There are countless Android TV devices available on the market, but the NVIDIA Shield TV is easily the best. It takes a unique approach by including a Tegra X1+ processor, which is more powerful than the processor found in Nintendo Switch consoles. It allows you to play a variety of games and, more importantly, upscale 720p content all the way to 4K with help from NVIDIA’s AI neural network.

The two latest models available are from 2023. The first is the standard Shield TV with 8GB of storage and 2GB of RAM, which costs $150. The more powerful Shield TV Pro costs $200, with 16GB of storage and 3GB of RAM. Both models come with a comfortable remote control. Newer models used to come with a gamepad, but NVIDIA has dropped it on the Shield TV and Shield TV Pro.

Capable of running demanding Android games and AAA titles via the GeForce Now streaming service, NVIDIA Shield TV devices are a great option for those who want to stream media and game from time to time. The streaming device doesn’t hold a candle to the next-gen PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles, but it’s still one of the best Android TV boxes out there.

Other FAQ

Yes, there is a channel for Disney Plus. Read more about it here.

Yes, there is a free channel for YouTube.

Yes, there is another channel for YouTube TV.

Yes, HBO Max took a while to come around, but the streamer is now available on Roku devices. Learn more about HBO Max here.

For most users, the Roku Streaming Stick Plus HE is the best option. It offers UHD 4K streaming and a remote with a headphone jack for just $60. Its only downside is that it can only be purchased at Best Buy.

Some Roku channels, like Pluto TV, PBS Kids, Crackle, the Roku Channel, YouTube, and others are available for free. Many subscription channels like Crunchyroll and Cartoon Network have limited ad-supported libraries, too.

No, there are no browsers available on the Channel Store. There have been web browsers in the past, but they have since been removed.

Yes! There are no additional subscription fees after buying your device, which you can do for as little as $30. Certain channels may pull support for older models, but this isn’t something you should worry about with new devices.

The easiest response is to reset your roku; if you need help with that or are experiencing another issue, check out our guide to solving the most common Roku problems.

Which Tablet Is Best For You?

For this comparison, I set aside raw hardware specs. Processor speed, RAM, and ports certainly matter, but a tablet can have great specs and still be awkward and unpleasant to use. What makes or breaks a tablet is its operating system, which determines whether answering e-mail, watching video, and surfing the Web will be a pleasure or a frustration.

Several tablet operating systems are poised to battle it out. While most tablet OSs come on only one brand of tablet each, Google’s Android 3.0 is the choice of a growing number of manufacturers, some of which add their own custom interface as HTC does with Sense UI and Samsung does with TouchWiz.

For this article I tried the iOS 4.3-based Apple iPad 2, the BlackBerry Tablet OS-based RIM BlackBerry PlayBook, and the Android 3.0-based Acer Iconia Tab A500, Motorola Xoom, and T-Mobile G-Slate. I didn’t have a final version of the WebOS-based HP TouchPad (due out this summer) for unlimited testing, but I was able to spend some time with a preproduction unit.

Home Screen

Advantage: BlackBerry Tablet OS, Android 3.0

You’ll go to your tablet’s home screen again and again, so it’s critical for the screen to look good and work efficiently.

Android 3.0‘s home screens (you get six of them) are very different from the BlackBerry offering, but perfect for people who want detailed control over how their tools are organized and presented. The new home-screen design is cleaner than that of previous Android versions, and it makes moving app icons and widgets across the six screens easy. Widgets are a compelling addition to Android, too: Google and app developers can use them to put regularly refreshed information–such as your calendar, your most recent e-mail messages, or the latest weather–directly on your screen. Tap the widget, and you’ll proceed directly to the related app itself. These shortcuts are finger friendly, but the frequently winking updates could become more clutter than convenience.

Oddly, the back button doesn’t behave as you might expect: Nowhere does Android note that using the back button exits an app entirely, but that’s the action it performs. The button for recently accessed apps, often erroneously referred to as the multitasking button, brings up thumbnails of the five apps you’ve used most recently; but even though this is intended as a shortcut, it can make your finger travel more, not less, to return to an app.

The Apple iOS home screen is way behind the competition in many respects. It’s staid and consistent, but not at all dynamic. The bottom area has room for a maximum of six docked apps, while the rest of your apps spread across one of the multiple (up to 11) home screens. App icons are static, and unlike Android 3.0, iOS doesn’t allow for widgets. iOS has no set location for notifications, either; instead, it passes along alerts in intrusive pop-up boxes. Organizing apps on different screens or into folders is tiresome, whether you’re trying to do so on the iPad itself or in the iTunes desktop software. And unlike other mobile OSs, iOS buries oft-used settings under the layers of the settings menu; you’ll find no shortcut here.

Mail

Advantage: Android 3.0

Although Apple’s Mail app looks good and is easy to navigate, it annoyingly behaves in a different way based on whether you’re holding the tablet in landscape or portrait mode: In landscape, it shows you two panes, while in portrait it has a pop-up pane for moving through messages and inboxes. Compared with Android, iOS puts many more limitations on what you can download, and what you can do with a downloaded file. It will save JPEGs, PDFs, and Microsoft Office documents, but you can open those files only in specific apps that are written to hook into the Mail app (for example, Pages, iBooks, or Evernote). And you can’t attach a file directly to a message; to send a photo, for instance, you initiate the message from the image in the Photo Roll, not from the e-mail app.

BlackBerry Tablet OS stumbles due to the fact that it lacks an integrated e-mail app. The BlackBerry Bridge feature lets you pair a BlackBerry phone with the tablet, so you can view your phone’s BlackBerry Messenger e-mail, contacts, and chats on the PlayBook’s larger screen. When you decouple the tablet and phone, the Messenger data disappears from the PlayBook–a feature that might frustrate consumers but should appeal to corporate IT honchos who want to limit the spread of sensitive information.

The PlayBook ships with icons for AOL Mail, Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo Mail (along with Facebook and Twitter), but these icons are misleading since they don’t bring you to actual apps–they’re merely shortcuts to those services in the Web browser. The browser interface for the mail services is a poor substitute for a mobile-optimized app. For example, I couldn’t add an attachment in Gmail, though I could do so–with some graphics issues–in AOL Mail. I could save attachments from Web-based e-mail, but finding those documents again was difficult, and sometimes they didn’t open properly.

Web

Advantage: Android 3.0

In comparison, iOS 4.3 and BlackBerry Tablet OS feel stuck in the dark ages of Web browsing. Since their respective native browsers access only one Web page at a time, you must exit one page before you browse to another. Switching among pages is much faster and smoother in Android’s tabbed design than it is on either iOS 4.3 or BlackBerry Tablet OS. And neither of those OSs updates a page dynamically.

The WebOS browser on the TouchPad works much as it does on WebOS cell phones. Each browser window behaves as its own activity card, and you can stack those cards together or view them individually.

Multimedia

Advantage: None

I didn’t pick an outright winner simply because no one mobile OS gets enough right in this respect. Which mobile OS you deem best for media management will depend in part on your shopping habits and on how you plan to use your tablet.

The iPad’s tight integration with the iTunes store makes buying new audio and video on Apple’s tablet exceedingly easy. Love it or hate it, iTunes is the dominant marketplace for digital media, and the iPad benefits greatly. iTunes desktop software remains fairly good at organizing and tracking your media, as well as at syncing that media onto your tablet. However, although you can add your own videos and music–as well as photos–to the iTunes library on your PC, in order to play that media on your iPad you have to sync the tablet with your PC’s iTunes library. You can’t just do a quick drag-and-drop file transfer, as you can with Android 3.0. Nonetheless, if you already have an iPod or iPhone, and you shop in iTunes, the iPad will fit in perfectly with how you buy music and video.

Unfortunately, since Android 3.0 lacks a dedicated video player, your videos are meshed into the Gallery with your photos. And the version of Android 3.0 that ships on all of the tablets I tried has a major imaging bug: Android 3.0’s Gallery app doesn’t render images clearly–images look unsharp, and fuzzy. A Google rep told me that the company was aware of the problem, but offered no timeline for a fix. Sure, I like how the Gallery lets me view image EXIF data, but that information doesn’t do me much good if I can’t tell whether the image is actually sharp.

BlackBerry Tablet OS’s media handling is a mixed bag. It does some things extraordinarily well: For example, the OS can power two different graphics activities simultaneously, so you can output 1080p video via HDMI to a TV and still surf the Web on the PlayBook. In my hands-on tests, Flash video played fine inside a Web page, though it occasionally had sizing issues that made it difficult for the in-browser Flash player on YouTube (and chúng tôi video) to resize to the PlayBook’s screen.

You can buy music on a PlayBook through 7digital, the same DRM-free store you can use via a BlackBerry phone. RIM plans to offer a video store, but it isn’t ready just yet.

RIM makes getting content onto the PlayBook fairly easy. You have to install an app on your desktop, and then use it to transfer files to the device wirelessly (it acts as a wireless hard drive) or use the app’s guided sync and transfer options. Impressively, it grabbed music from my iTunes library, skipping over some songs only because those tracks were protected by digital rights management. The music player built in to BlackBerry Tablet OS looks fine and operates smoothly, though its layout took a little getting used to and building playlists on the fly wasn’t as easy as I’d like.

Apps

Advantage: IOS

RIM says it launched BlackBerry Tablet OS with 3000 apps in its AppWorld store. Unfortunately none of the apps I downloaded particularly impressed me–some appeared to be simple, almost DOS-like in their design. RIM says the PlayBook will be able to run Android 2.x apps, but not 3.0 apps, sold via its AppWorld store; but the Android Player emulator that will enable the function, as well as the emulator that will run BlackBerry phone apps, won’t be available until later this summer. At launch, the PlayBook lacks compelling apps to complement its (mostly) compelling hardware and mobile OS.

Best Overall Impression

I find a lot to like among all the contending tablet OSs, and wish I could cobble those appealing elements together into a single, awesome mobile OS.

But barring that, I believe that Apple’s iOS remains the best tablet operating system overall. That may be a surprise to you, given that I prefer other OSs for many of the individual functions I looked at. On the whole, however, iOS delivers the best-formed environment for both productivity and entertainment.

Meanwhile, businesspeople who already depend on BlackBerry phones should value the way those handsets will interact with the PlayBook, as well as the built-in security of the platform–and for that audience, such capabilities will outweigh many of the PlayBook’s other weaknesses.

Hardware Options

Galaxy Tab: Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 Android 3.0 slate is 0.2mm thinner than the iPad 2. This 10.1-inch model, due in June, costs $499 for a 16GB Wi-Fi unit (an 8.9-inch one is coming too). I like its thinness–and many of Samsung’s interface tweaks.

PlayBook: RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook gets a lot right, but it also feels like a work in progress. For now it’s constrained by a limited app selection, software glitches, and choices in functionality or design that might reduce the tablet’s popularity among consumers.

G-Slate: Also called the LG Optimus Pad, the 8.9-inch, Android 3.0-based G-Slate tablet for T-Mobile stands out thanks to its two rear cameras. The cameras enable 3D video capture; you can view the videos through the included anaglyph video glasses.

Flyer: HTC’s upcoming tablets–the Flyer for Best Buy and the EVO View 4G for Sprint–were unveiled with Android 2.3, but Sprint has hinted that its slate will carry Android 3.0. Support for HTC’s Scribe pen lets you capture notations digitally.

Iconia Tab: In early demos, Acer’s Iconia Tab A500 Android 3.0 tablet seemed promising. The Wi-Fi-only tablet has an aluminum build and carries familiar-sounding specs, including Adobe Flash 10.2 support and a 1280-by-800-pixel display with a 16:10 aspect ratio.

What About Windows?

Neither the default Windows interface nor the applications are finger friendly, and battery life is an issue. But the appeal of Windows on a tablet remains, as much for its novelty as for its interoperability with the software on a laptop or desktop.

The longer Microsoft waits on providing tablet optimization, the more ground it will cede as tablets steal the thunder from traditional PCs and consumers come to rely on mobile OSs instead of on Windows.

Responsive Website Vs. Mobile App: Which Is Best For E

Due to the majority of the online shoppers that are making mobile phones for browsing, research, and buy any product, e-commerce is taking the place of m-commerce. When almost 50% of the e-commerce sessions are seeking a place on your smartphones, the mobile app or site is indispensable for the online merchants. You are in confusion about what is best for your responsive website or mobile app for your online store.

Advantages of Mobile Application User-friendly

Increase loyalty

By displaying the icon of your brand consistently, mobile apps will enhance the dedication of the customers towards your e-commerce store. The app will collect the data of the customers like shopping time, location, etc., and will offer a more personalized shopping experience. Rewards and expertise of the client will make the continued use of your mobile app. You can also implement loyalty programs to boost loyalty and will increase repeat purchases by online shoppers.

Conversion rate increased

It collects the customer data and gives the push notification quickly. The push notification will help you in recovering the 70% of abandoned carts.  The online merchants can send notifications about the new offers, discounts, and few pieces left in their stock to grab the attention of the customers towards them.

No internet access

Once the app installed, the mobile apps will make it easy for the customer to browse the products, even offline. It will permit the online shopper to view the products and the details without the internet.

Drawbacks of mobile application Cost of an app development

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Benefits of Mobile Website Cost-effective

E-commerce mobile app is that they need money for implementing a native or hybrid app on different platforms. It will also give solutions to these problems by providing cost-effective development. You can contact the top and reputed e-commerce website designing company for getting the mobile e-commerce site created with all functionalities at a reasonable price.

Access in smart devices

Mobile websites are also providing the all-device accessibility. You do not to be downloaded or installed on your device and do not require storage on the mobile even that it can be loaded anytime in the browser. The customers can browse the e-commerce site anywhere, be it on their Android phone, iPhone, or even on their laptop or tablet, the site will be easily accessible anywhere, anytime without any prior installation required.

Search Engine optimized Slower Loading

In comparison to mobile apps, responsive websites can be more reluctant to load. E-commerce websites have loaded with high-quality images and extensive descriptions, which will make the page slower while loading it. Almost 75% of consumers will be stating that a slower page load will create a negative impact on your website and drop down the sales.

No offline Accessibility

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Maintenance

You have the requirement of the skilled professional expert for constant maintenance & support. Images & videos of the product need to be optimized, require a monitored continuously, and SEO for the promotion of your site. There are multiple teams for the maintenance, which will cost a lot for the e-commerce merchants.

Elements Responsive website Mobile app

Compatibility Mobile version of a site is viewable on all browsers, despite the device model Need the development of several applications for the different platforms

Audience All types of device required an internet connection Only tablets and smartphone

Cost Payment for domain & hosting Require developer licenses in the app store

Ease of use Do not require installation & download Installation & downloading is a must

Offline work No, it supports on all gadgets It works offline also

Support, update and fixing It is easy to update, maintain and repair the bugs It is complex to update & monitor the application after download also. Bugs are set only in the next version

It is usage Average Better in compare to responsive website

Conclusion

By the benefits and drawbacks of the responsive site and mobile apps have their unique functionalities and features. Online vendors cannot substitute one another. For expanding your business, increasing sales, repeat purchases, a mobile app solution, and a responsive site is a must. The mobile e-commerce site will get you more customers, and the app will help them to turn into loyal and will fetch more sales.

Jitendra Kalal

I’m Jitendra Kalal, Digital Marketing Strategist working with Addon Solutions – An Mobile Application Development Company in India, I spend my spare time on the web to learn about the modern online internet marketing and love to share my knowledge with others through my content.

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