In these modern times social media can be a place of conflict and argument. It seems that no matter what position you take on an issue you can bet that someone will call you derogatory names for taking the position that you take and having the gall of sharing your opinion.
I too, recently, have been the victim of harassment for my view on controversial positions, and usually in the heated exchange between two people with opposing views things gets said and accusations are made regarding the legitimacy of ones birth are often shared.
My crime? I suggested to someone that a Mi Box was a better choice for an individual than a NIVIDIA Shield.
Already I can feel the sudden rushing of air as thousands of Shield owners all collectively take a deep breath due to an individual making such a statement in public, but please allow me this opportunity to make my case as to why I made the suggestion and why I have not invested my own personal finances into the purchase of a streaming device which clearly has more capabilities than the Chinese Google based operating system knock off.
So lets get the basics out of the way:
Quad Core processor rated at 2.2 GHz
3 GB RAM
16 GB or 500 GB Storage depending on the model you purchase.
Xiaomi Mi Box:
Quad Core processor rated at 2 GHz
2 GB RAM
8 GB Storage
Looking at the specs its obvious that the Shield’s more powerful CPU, extra GB of RAM and significantly more storage with either model places it at a higher performance level than the Mi Box, figures don’t lie.
Similar but different
The RAM and CPU are strong enough to run Netflix and other popular streaming services with no problems. So if deciding between the two options you’ll not have issues with streaming with either one.
Things that are the same about the Mi Box and Nvidia Shield
Both Run Android TV
Android TV is Googles Smart TV operating system found on multiple TV models and a number of set-top boxes. Mi Box and Shield are two examples of products that utilize it. The OS offers a vast array of TV-based apps video and audio streaming apps organized in its Google Play Store. The advantage of Android TV over say the devices that use Androids phone and table based system is that every app in the store will work with a basic directional button remote control and be formatted for a TV Screen as opposed to a touchscreen device.
Both Can sideload Android Apps
Are you looking to use Android apps designed for touch screens? You can still add them to either box. You will just need something that allows you to fo navigate the apps once they are on your system. Possibly a 3rd party air mouse or keyboard.
Both systems include Google Assistant. This means if you have any Google Home powered devices the consoles can turn them on and off etc. Both devices will also employ Google Assistant when tasked with console related requests starting shows, searching and so on.
Looking at the entry-level Shield you see that it has twice the storage capacity of the Mi Box. But the Mi Box gives you the ability to put media on a USB to watch using Kodi or VLC player, a feature that I do use occasionally. I’ve also connected my 1 TB external hard drive filled with movies to my Mi Box and watched all sorts of raw and converted video files using this method. Mi Box, just like Shield, also gives you the ability to use a USB to provide additional storage if you deem it necessary.
As of right now, Amazon Prime is the only app I’m aware of that you can install on Shield but not available on Mi Box. Shield is the only Android TV device in general that carries the Amazon Prime App.
Shield can be used as a Plex Media Server. It is the only streaming device that does this. As a huge Plex Server advocate, this holds a great deal of attraction to me. As for Mi-Box, The Plex app can be installed on Mi Box and used like it is on Apple TV, Roku, Fire and the multiple smart TV’s.
Personally, I need substantially more storage for a Plex Server than Shield offers. I’m currently sitting at 5 TB of storage and I’m in the process of expanding my storage to 9 TB in the hopes of getting it to last me a couple of years. I’m a heavy Plex user, I need it to have the ability to transcode and stream to multiple devices at the same time, often over the internet so even a dual-core CPU and a couple of TB of storage is a potential bottleneck. Shield would not meet my high demands. But to be fair it would meet the demands of the casual Plex user and I can’t ignore that aspect.
Shield Is Built For Gamers
The NVIDIA Shield has another feature that make it very different than other streaming devices out there. This is the appeal that Shield has for gamers. First of all, NVIDIA has its own game store packed full of top console level video games. The games are not available on the Mi Box or any other device. Even more though, is the ability of the Shield to interact with a full powered gaming PC and deliver nearly flawless gameplay through the shield to a large screen TV. Gamers can play their favorite PC games from the couch with a controller or Keyboard on a huge 4k TV instead of being anchored to a desk with a much smaller screen. The Shield also ships with a gamepad. It gives the people who insist real gaming takes place on a computer a chance to have their cake and eat it too,
The price difference between the models is also a strong consideration as well:
Other models can reach as much as $200.00
Xiaomi Mi Box
*The cheapest Shield model that Walmart has to offer model has 16 GB of storage according to website.
Why I Side With Mi Box
Now let’s be clear. This isn’t intended to be an anti-Shield POV. This is simply looking at things through the view of getting the best bang for your buck.
In my view, Shield benefits a limited target buyer; heavy gamer/streamer and casual Plex user. I simply don’t fall into that category, I’m a heavy Plex user and light gamer. And I believe most cord cutters or streamers fall in line with my use example especially those new to the streaming community.
In the case of a new cord cutter/streamer or an individual who’s simply looking at moving beyond Roku, Apple TV or some other streaming device it makes more sense to look at the Mi Box over the Shield. It is a cheaper way to cut their teeth on the Android TV streaming devices. If they decide that they need more storage than their Mi Box offers, a likely proposition, installing a thumb drive with a couple of GB storage and formatting it to act as additional storage will easily and cheaply meet those needs with a simple jaunt to the local store and laying a few bucks on the desk next to the cash register. If they want to play a game that requires the game-pad they can order it online and have it in just a couple of days. All of this would still cost less than the Shield does.
If you’re a serious cord cutter who is intrigued by the idea of what a Plex Media Server may offer and like to play games above and beyond what a typical streaming device offers, then NVIDIA Shield may be the perfect device for you to get. Especially if you want the added benifit of playing PC games on the TV. If you’re a new cord cutter or looking to see what else is out there besides Roku or Apple TV then Mi Box is a better pick. It still gives you an opportunity to expand to near Shield abilities without the financial obligation and do so at your own pace. With a nearly identical layout and access to almost everything that Shield can provide to you without as much thining of your wallet.
If you decide to get a Shield later on, you can move the Mi Box to the bedroom and stream the videos from the Shield.