This guide will let you in on the major points between the Mi Box and Amazon’s Fire TV and why one might be better than the other.

We’ll go over getting the fastest speeds, running Kodi media server, 4k formats and more.

Finally, we’ll cover why one of these boxes might not be the best solution if you’re looking to future-proof your purchase.

Best For Alexa

Fire 4k TV Box

Best For Prime Users

Specs & Price: See Here

Best For Google Home

Mi Box 4k Android TV Box

Best For Android Users

Specs & Price: See Here

Bottom Line Up Front:

If you’re in a rush, here are the main reasons to purchase one product over the other.

Amazon Fire

  • You are a Prime subscriber and want an easy way to access Amazon’s content
  • You want easy setup and a simple to use interface
  • You want to future proof your purchase

Mi Box

  • You want to install Kodi Media Server (it’s getting harder to load it on the Fire TV by the day)
  • You've invested in the Android ecosystem (Android phone, Google Home, etc.)
  • You don't want to be locked into the Amazon platform

Mi Box & Amazon Fire TV Specs

Amazon Fire TV

Mi Box

Video: 4k UHD 60fps HDR-10 

Video: 4k 60fps

Processor: 1.5Ghz Quad-Core

Processor: 2.0GHz Quad-Core

Storage: 8 GB

Storage: 8 GB

Smart Home Control: Echo

Smart Home Control: Google Home

Connect: Wifi / Optional Ethernet Adapter

Connect: Wifi / Optional Ethernet Adapter

Key Features - Amazon Fire

Ethernet Ports - The Difference That Makes The Difference

The most significant difference between the Fire TV and Mi box used to be the fact that the Fire TV had an ethernet port directly integrated into the hardware. You now have to purchase a separate ethernet dongle (which stinks in my opinion), but it is well worth it.

Adding an ethernet connection will speed up the download speeds and more importantly, reduce dropped connections. Nobody likes getting to the best part of the movie, and the internet connection drops off.

Now with 4k, your connection needs to be spot on because of the larger file sizes that these types of formats hog up.

Prime Video - (Amazon's Secret Weapon)

You also have full access to all the video content vault if you are a Prime subscriber. While you can access Prime content on other Android TV, it’s not nearly as seamless as it is on the Fire TV.

You can also easily purchase content on Amazon marketplace which is where I like to get my movies. You can watch movies that you bought from Amazon on the Mi Box and other Android streamers but to purchase you have to either log into Amazon from your computer or a web browser. Another step that I would just prefer not to take.

Smart Home - It's Coming For You!

If you don’t have a smart home device in your residence right now, you soon will.

This is where the Fire TV shines. 

If you have an Amazon echo, you can control the television with your voice.

Here are some of the things you can do with voice commands to the Echo with a Fire TV:

- Open Fire TV
- Play a movie
- Search for a movie or TV show
- Control playback
   - Play
   - Pause
   - Stop
   - Resume
   - Rewind
   - Fast-forward
   - Go next
   - Watch from the beginning
- Control live Tv

Another REALLY cool thing you can do is switch to a live video feed of any compatible front door or security camera you have installed.

So if someone rings the front door, you can command the Echo to pull up the video of the front door. Pretty awesome!

There is more smart home functionality with the Fire TV, and you can be sure that Amazon is going to add more features in the future.

If you want a device that will help you “future proof” then the Fire TV is the one to get.

Kodi - Amazon Hates It!

The major downside to getting the Fire TV is the fact that it is more challenging to install Kodi.

You have to go through a lot of technical steps that might be a bit more frustrating for the average user.

Amazon also has a vested interest in blocking people from streaming illegal copyrighted content so expect it to become even harder to install this type of software in the future.

Pros

  • check
    User-friendly interface
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    Easy access to all Amazon prime content if you have an account
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    Tight integration with the Amazon Echo

Cons

  • Kodi & other content servers are challenging to install
  • Locked into the Amazon ecosystem
  • This is a bunch of text for the con of the item

Key Features - Mi Box

Xiaomi is the designer and manufacturer of the Mi Box. A name that doesn’t ring too many bells in North America.

While most have not heard of Xiaomi, it is, in fact, a huge brand. They are the number one smartphone company in China and the 5th largest in the world.

Okay with that out of the way, let’s get into this Mi Box review.

Ethernet Ports - Do What Must Be Done

Just like the Fire TV, you will not find an ethernet port on the Mi Box. You have to purchase a separate dongle and hook it to the back of the Mi Box via a USB port.

A full USB connector and not a USB mini which means that the system is a bit bulkier.

I highly recommend spending the extra fifteen bucks or so on the dongle as it will considerably decrease Wifi drops.

Video Options - The More The Merrier

You can watch most content on the Mi Box including 4k video.

Google has a decidedly more open ecosystem; Amazon locks you into buying content on their platform exclusively.

You have access to all the major channel apps like CBS all access, Netflix, etc. and you can install the Play store for the option to purchase movies, TV shows, and music.

Chromecast - (Android TV's Secret Weapon)

If you have an Android phone or computer with Google Chrome installed, you can beam content from these devices to the Mi Box.

I like being able to use my computer keyboard when looking at specific content (like youtube) because it’s much easier to type in what I’m looking for.

This is also a useful feature if someone with an Android phone comes over and wants to show you pictures, videos, etc.

Mi Box & Kodi - (Free!)

Because of the more open nature of Android TV, you can feel pretty safe that Kodi and other media server software programs will work in the future.

It’s also much easier to install on the Mi Box Android TV because you don’t have to do any sideloading (installing software to the box via USB, Bluetooth, WiFi or by writing to a memory card for insertion into the streaming box).

You will also have a smoother experience and easier time updating the software when the time comes.

Smart Home - Just Let It Happen 🙂

If you have a google home, you can control a number of functions on the Mi Box.

Just like with the Echo and Fire TV you can:

- Open Fire TV
- Play a movie
- Search for a movie or TV show
- Control playback
   - Play
   - Pause
   - Stop
   - Resume
   - Rewind
   - Fast-forward
   - Go next
   - Watch from the beginning
- Control live Tv

It also has (certainly) excellent control over the content on Youtube.

Fight... Fight...

Amazon typically doesn't like to sell competing products on it's e-commerce mega hub. For instance you won't find the Google Home in the store.

For that reason you will have to look elsewhere. You can usually find the Mi Box at Walmart or Jet.com.

Pros

  • check
    Excellent processing power
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    Wide array of apps
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    Tight Google Home integration

Cons

  • No high-quality access to competing content (such as Amazon Prime)
  • For non-Android users, the interface is not as intuitive to use
  • Must purchase separate dongle for ethernet

Conclusion: Wrapping It Up

There are two main things to consider when deciding between the two...

1. Do you want to install Kodi

If you want an easy to setup and install streaming box for use with the Kodi media server, then the choice is clear.

Go with the Mi Box Android TV.

If you have a bit more time or are technically savvy and want the added benefit of smooth Prime access, then go with the Fire TV.

2. Which ecosystem you want to use
(Either now or in the future because trust me, at some point you will probably want to own a smart speaker).

If you already have an Echo, the choice is automatic. You can easily control the functions of your television with your voice and Amazon is really on top of adding new features and functionality to its already robust set of tasks.

If you have a Google home go with the Mi Box. You can Chromecast (if you have an Android phone) and you have easy access to the Google ecosystem.

If I HAD to choose, I’d go with the Fire Tv. It’s just more natural and intuitive to use, and I don’t have to worry about software updates that crash my system or other similar problems that come with an open ecosystem like Android.