Mi Box vs Roku: Review and Comparison

Two of the most popular smart TV devices currently available in the market are Xiaomi’s ‘Mi Box’ and the Roku streaming stick. While Roku TV provides great services like free channels and numerous smart features, Xiaomi Mi Box lets you download content and save it in the hard drive.

Roku Ultra, Mi Box S, etc are great devices from both sides. So it can be said they both provide a great deal of services in their own way. And as a user of devices from both kinds, now I am going to put down a descriptive comparison between Roku and Mi box devices.

Comparison Chart: Mi Box vs Roku

Let’s have a look at the comparison chart between these two systems.

Ground of Comparison Mi Box Roku
Streaming System Online Streaming Sites Online Streaming Sites
Free Channel Providing No Yes
Ultra HD/ 4 K Yes Yes
Need for Internet Access Yes Yes
Hard Drive Space Yes No
Content Downloading Option Yes No
Need for Antenna No Optional
HDR HDR10 HDR10
Dolby Atmos Audio Yes Yes
DTS Yes No
Installation HDMI Port+ Power Outlet HDMI Port+ Power Outlet (Optional)
Search Manual+ Voice Manual+ Voice
Smart Playback No No
Custom Feed & Menu No Yes
Voice Control Remote+ Google Assistant Remote+ Google Home+ Amazon Alexa
Free Headphones No Yes
Customized Remotes No Yes
Remote Shortcuts Yes Yes
Remote Finder No Yes
Remote Mic Yes Yes
Private Listening Only Bluetooth Remote + App
Guest Mode No Yes
Mirroring/ Casting Yes Yes
Pricing Lower than Roku Higher than Mi Box

How do these smart devices operate?

As there are many kinds of devices and some of them operate as a streaming stick, and some of them operate simply as an exclusive box which can be connected with your TV.

And after you connect them to your TV, you can have access to numerous streaming services, local cable channels, many free channels offered by each device, and many more.

For instance, if you connect a Roku stick with your smart TV and have a proper internet connection, then you will be able to watch a free Roku channel on your TV which offers a wide range of stuff.

You will also be able to access many streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. Even local cable channels can be accessed by subscribing to the SlingTV app.

Mi Box vs Roku

Even if they are both smart streaming devices that are used with smart TVs, we can easily tell that they are a lot different from each other just from their names. Earlier Roku products looked like a portable small device that could easily be connected with a TV via HDMI port. But the latest Roku ultra has a design like a box, very similar to the Mi box.

However, both devices have to connect with the internet while using the TV. And with both of these devices, you can stream many popular streaming sites including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Chromecast, Hulu. YouTube, HBO Max, Spotify, etc.

And not only that, but you can also watch your local cable channels with both of these devices if you subscribe to the SlingTV app. But still, with specs and features, they have differences among themselves. So I will now compare these two popular smart TV devices, discuss their similarities and differences as I have noticed.

Can I use Mi Box and Roku both at the same time?

You can connect your Mi Box and the Roku device at the same time as your TV if the TV has multiple HDMI ports. And as most smart TVs have at least 2 HDMI ports by default, you can easily connect these two devices together.

But you can’t have access to both devices at the same time. You will have to keep one off while using the other, as two won’t work simultaneously at the same time.

What is the major difference between Mi Box and Roku?

There are several differences between Mi Box and Roku devices. But there is a major difference that exceeds all others. So before diving into the deeper comparison between these two smart streaming devices, let me discuss the major difference they have.

You already know that you will need an internet connection to run both devices. And with Roku devices, you can only stream different services or watch local cable TV channels, or play games while it is connected to the internet.

As Roku devices have no hard drive storage, you simply can not download anything from the streaming sites other websites with download options and watch them later. You will always have to stream different shows and movies with your Roku device on your TV and an internet connection is a must.

But on the other hand, Mi Box devices provide an interesting and intriguing advantage in this matter. And the difference from the Roku devices is, Mi devices have hard drive spaces where you can save different movies and shows after downloading them.

So unlike Roku devices, the Mi Box devices provide downloading options for your favorite movies or shows, and the option of watching them even without an internet connection, which is a great feature for a streaming device.

So, when you are having connection problems or something similar, you can easily start your Mi Box without the help of the internet and then browse the device’s hard drive to watch the shows you downloaded previously.

So the internet connection is not always needed to use the Mi Box devices.  And you can watch your favorite movies or shows anytime you want if you keep them downloaded to the hard drive.

Whereas with Roku, you can’t download anything with a view to watching them during internet problems. You simply have to wait for a proper internet connection to watch anything with Roku devices. So, if you’re looking for download facilities, now you know which one to choose.

Do Mi box devices offer free channels like Roku?

In this segment, Roku devices have an upper hand over the Mi Box devices. This is also one of the biggest and most important differences between the Roku and Mi Box devices.

And the difference is, Mi Box doesn’t provide any free streaming services with it, whereas Roku devices provide several free channels for its users, including Roku’s very own the Roku Channel.

Even though Mi Box devices let you download things, so that you can later enjoy them even without an internet connection, you have to pay subscription fees for the streaming service you’re using to download them in the first place.

Also, you can not download everything you want, as the hard drive space is not really big enough. So you have to stream most of the shows anyway, but you can’t stream any of the shows online for free.

As whatever you streaming service you choose to use like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu for streaming shows online or streaming sites like SlingTV for watching like local cable channels, you have to buy subscriptions before using them.

You can’t watch any of them for free and there’s any service on Mi box that can be accessed for free. So, if you are looking for some free services after buying a smart device for your TV, then Mi Box isn’t the right one for you.

On the other hand, Roku has its own free channel named Roku channel, where you can watch different movies or shows. And you will get to stream it without any subscription or cost, you can start streaming it just after buying the Roku stick.

And even if you don’t subscribe to any of the other channels, you can keep watching the Roku channel for free and use the device forever.

And not only Roku channel, after buying a Roku stick you will get a number of other free channels and streaming services that won’t need any paid subscription. Global TV, Tubi, CBS News, FOX, Al Jazeera, Sky News, Vmedia, etc are some of the free apps or channels you will get with your Roku device. So if you are looking for free services after buying a smart TV device, Roku is perfect for you.

Descriptive Comparison between Specs and Features of Mi Box and Roku 

We have already seen the major differences between the Mi Box and Roku devices, which also happen to be two of their most important features. Now let’s look at the other similarities and differences they have. And we will look at their specs and features and then compare them accordingly.

Mi Box vs Roku: Ease of Installation

Mi Box vs Roku Installation_soundboxlab.com

The ease of the installation process is quite the same for both Mi Box and Roku devices. Even though the earlier Roku devices have a bit easier way to get connected with the TVs, later devices are more like the same as the Mi Box devices and the process is not hard at all.

Mi Box

Like most other smart TV devices, Mi Box devices also get connected through HDMI ports and it needs to be connected with an external power outlet. After connecting with the TV, an on-screen animation will guide you through the way by pressing different buttons on the remote as instructed.

You can also install it through your phone by using the app. Also, you can sign in with your Google account on TV, to start getting things to work. An internet connection is needed for the setup, and it connects with the internet through wifi.

Roku

Like Mi Box, Roku also uses the HDMI port to get connected with the TV. But with earlier Roku devices, the process is easier as they are like USB devices and can easily be just inserted into the TV’s HDMI port.

But with later ones they have to connect with HDMI cable. They don’t need their own power source to operate, but they can be connected with an external power outlet if you want better output.

And it won’t need an extra internet connection, it works fine with TV’s internet. So after connecting the device to your TV, just open a Roku account and you can start enjoying the system. You can use the Roku app to set things up too.

After using items from both sides, it felt like Roku devices have an upper hand in the ease of the installation sector.

Mi Box vs Roku: Quality of Content

We already know that you can stream various content with both Mi Box and Roku devices. But the video quality and audio quality are also of great importance while you are streaming content through a streaming device. So it’s time to review the video and audio quality provided for the content by these devices.

Mi Box

Mi Box provides great quality with its contents regarding both audio and video. As with Mi Box devices you can have access to a wide range of channels and apps, video and audio quality is a matter of concern.

And Mi Box will ease your concern with its 4K quality videos, and also they support HDR10 regarding HDR. And most importantly regarding audio quality, Mi Box support Dolby Atmos surround sound and also DTS sound, which is really amazing and can make you get immersed in the show you are watching.

Roku

There a range of Roku devices and different Roku devices supports different qualities of video and quality for the content. All the Roku devices support HD content, and more advanced of the devices support Ultra HD 4K video quality for their contents.

Roku devices also feature HSR support. And regarding HDR, Roku devices also support HDR10. And the audio quality provided by Roku devices is also really top-notch as they support Dolby Atmos Studio surround sound, even though they don’t support DTS sound like Mi Box devices do. So, Mi Box has an upper hand here.

So, based on both video and audio quality, Mi Box devices take this round as they provide better quality in audio, though they have the same quality regarding the video.

Mi Box vs Roku: Interface

Mi Box

Mi Box devices have a basic and minimalist interface. It doesn’t show any ads. A decent android TV interface is one of the main traits of Mi Box devices. You will see all the popular streaming channels or apps on the home page.

However, there will be a “Mi Box recommends” row of apps or channels, that you can’t get rid of. Overall, the interface is decent, not too heavy with channels and stuff.

Roku

If you use a Roku device, you will find its interface really minimalist and clean. The focus of the interface remains always on the functionality of the apps, no unnecessary design elements, or frills.

But you can modify the theme if you want and you can also arrange the apps on the Roku interface based on your preferences. The speed of Roku devices remains good due to the lightweight interface.

The Roku Feed is another great function of the Roku device. With this, you can follow different movies, shows, and contents and get updates about them. So it also helps to access and follow related shows.

But if you want to search for something specific, it will be hard as you will have to find them from a separate menu. But the search navigation of Roku is really smart and you can use the Roku remote to search for anything you are looking for.

Both provide a minimalist and decent interface, so this one is a tie.

Mi Box vs Roku: Remote Control

Mi Box vs Roku Remote Control

The remote control system is one of the most important parts of smart TV devices. If the remote control system is not convenient enough, you might find it hard to use a particular smart streaming device. So let’s see how the remote system of Mi Box and Roku work.

Mi Box

There aren’t many buttons in the Mi Box remote, which can be a good thing as you don’t have to get exhausted looking for your wanted button. You can use a directional pad over player controls as to your wish.

There are built-in volume controls and also a different power off the only button which is quite different from others. And not to mention, the microphone button of the remote helps you to navigate voice search. However, you can’t customize the remote as you wish.

Roku

Roku device remotes are not usually aesthetically pleasing in design and kind of old fashion with clunky buttons, as they are not much updated. You can use the Roku device remotes as dual remotes since you can control the TV with the Roku remote as well.

You can control the power and volume of the TV through Roku remotes. And with the remote microphone feature of the Roku devices, you can use voice commanding options for searching for something.

And other than all these, there are shortcut buttons for some popular streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, etc. And some devices provide a personalization option for the shortcut buttons so that you can set up for what purpose the customization supported buttons will be used.

There is also a remote finer feature in some Roku devices which helps you to find the remote by playing music if you tap a button on the device.

So, as per the discussion, we can easily say Roku is the winner, as Mi Box devices have way simpler remote control systems than Roku, but some of you might like simple things than complicated ones.

Mi Box vs Roku: Smart Features

All the smart TV devices provide some special smart features such as voice assistant, mirroring from your phone or computer, private listening, guest mode, etc. Let’s have a look at the smart features provided by Mi Box and Roku devices and then compare them.

Mi Box

Voice assistant is one of the most important features a smart TV device can provide. And by supporting Google Assistant, Mi Box devices give you access to the voice assistant feature.

And with a voice assistant, you can easily navigate searching through voice command. You can search for your favorite movies or shows without pressing any remote button. You can play/ pause with the help of google assistant.

Mirroring or casting is another important feature. With this feature, you can cast something on your TV that’s played on the screen of your phone or computer. So, you can play anything on your TV from the phone with casting, and supporting the Chromecast Mi box provides this feature. And this feature can take your smart device experience to a new height.

Private listening is a feature that lets you listen to shows personally with a headphone, so you don’t disturb others. But sadly Mi Box devices don’t support this important feature.

But if you have a Bluetooth earphone, you can try connecting it with the Mi box. Another important feature that’s not supported by Mi box devices in guest mode. Guest mode allows you to watch a limited number of shows without setting up an account, which you can’t do with Mi Box devices.

Roku

Roku is not any behind than the Mi Box device in having a voice assistant feature. Apart from using a remote mic for using search navigation, you can use the voice assistant to search for specific things while using Roku devices.

With voice assistants you won’t even have to go near the remote, just ask the assistant to do the task for you using your voice. And Roku devices support both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

Though Roku devices don’t support Google Chromecast, they still support mirroring from your phone. So you can enjoy this feature with Roku too, though Chromecast could’ve made the mirroring better.

And private listening is also accessible by Roku devices as the remote of Roku comes with a built-in headphone jack where you can connect your headphone and listen privately.

You can also access this feature with your smartphone with the Roku app. With the app, you can bring the sound to your phone, and then you can listen privately by connecting a headphone with your phone.

Guest mode is also available with Roku devices so it allows creating a guest account with your Roku device with a specific sign-in and out date. So, feature-wise Roku devices come with more smart features than Mi Box devices, so Roku has the upper hand.

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Mi Box vs Roku: Channels and Services

Mi Box and Roku both offer a huge number of services including many online streaming sites like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Go, etc, smart TV apps, apps that help you to watch live TV channels, gaming options, etc.

SO, basically, Mi Box and Roku provide the same kind of services. But Roku devices have one additional thing to offer, which makes Roku win the game. Roku offers its own free TV channel, which is the Roku channel.

You can have access to many free movies and shows with this channel. And not only this, Roku provides many other free channels as discussed earlier, which Mi box devices fail to do. You have to pay for the channels you can watch on Mi Box.

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Overview of Some Mi Box and Roku Devices

Now let’s look at a brief overview of some Roku and Mi Box devices that are currently available in the market so that it can help you to choose which one to buy for your TV.

Mi Box S

With a price of 69 USD, you will get great value for money with this device. It has 2 GB RAM and * GB of hard drive space along with a 2 GHz processor. The remote control system is great and you get google assistant too. However, even though the video quality is good, it can lag a bit while playing 4K content.

Mi Box 3

All the features are the same as Mi Box S, except the design as is priced at 47 USD only.

Roku Premiere

Roku premiere is one of the modest of the Roku devices as it doesn’t support all the latest features of Roku. It provides a great amount of video quality as it supports 4K and HDR. It doesn’t have the voice control option like other better Roku devices. Roku Premiere is priced at USD 38.

Roku® Streaming Stick™+

Roku Streaming Stick+ is one of the advanced products of Roku as it brings the voice assistant system on board. By default, it provides access to all the basic streaming platforms and smart features along with 4K and HDR quality videos. The price of Roku Streaming Stick+ is 49.99 USD.

Roku Ultra

Among all the Roku devices, currently, the most advanced smart streaming device is Roku Ultra. Almost all the smart features are provided by this device such as personal customizable shortcut buttons on remote, private listening, etc.

However, most of its features and quality of content are all the same as Streaming Stick+, so you can just stick with that one. And Roku Ultra is the most expensive at the lot, being priced at USD 99.

Final Verdict

You may have already guessed which one is better in terms of most of the aspects. Roku devices provide better services than Mi Box devices, except regarding audio. But we have to keep in mind that, Mi Box devices have way lower prices than Roku devices, and this is what makes Mi Box a great choice.

You will get great value for money and can enjoy a great streaming experience at a low cost. Though there’s no free channel on Mi Box. So, overall Mi Box is also a great choice if you want to save your budget. However, if you have no concern for money, Roku devices are for you without any doubt.

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FAQ

Are there any hidden charges for Mi Box devices?

Ans. No, there’s no hidden charge. Just charge for the services you subscribe to.

How much Roku cost per month?

Ans. Roku has no monthly subscription cost. You can enjoy free content provided by Roku forever without any cost. But if you want to access platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. through Roku. Then you’ll have to subscribe to those platforms with their respective subscription fees.

Can I use Mi Box with a mobile hotspot? Or Wi-fi is a must for using it?

Ans. Yes, you can use a mobile hotspot. It also has a data saver feature to alert you as well.

Do you need a VPN to use your streaming devices?

Ans. No, you don’t need a VPN. But specific services and shows might not be available in your region, then you will need it to access them. However, it is discouraged

Do Roku devices come with any warranty?

Ans. Yes, they do. They provide a two-year warranty and it starts from the date you activate your Roku device.

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