Android TV Box vs Firestick: Which is Better?
With the explosion of streaming services and media players, thereâs neverbeen more choice available for those looking for a simple way to watch theirfavorite movies and more. Amazonâs Firestick and Android TV boxes are twopopular choices â but when it comes to Android Box vs Firestick, which isbetter?
What is a Firestick?
The Amazon Fire TV Stick is a USB-sized streaming media player that plugsdirectly into your TVâs HDMI port. You can use it to stream movies fromservices like Netflix and Amazon Prime, play games and more. The Firestickruns FireOS â Amazonâs own operating system based on Android.Thereâs quite a few iterations of the Firestick out there, though for thesake of this comparison, Iâll be focusing on the newer 4K firestick.
What is an Android TV box?
An Android TV box is a media player that runs a version of the Androidoperating system (OS). Thereâs actually two versions of Android that areused: * Stock Android: This is the same version of Android youâd see on your smartphone or tablet. Whilst itâs not specifically designed for TV use, most TV box manufacturers include a TV-friendly user interface and youâll get access to a much wider variety of apps compared to Android TV. * Android TV: Googleâs TV-optimized version of the OS. Android TV is designed from the ground up for TV use. This means that its interface is designed to be used with a remote. Youâll also get TV-optimised versions of apps such as Netflix, though the app selection on Android TV is far smaller than stock Android.Theyâre often used to stream movies and TV shows from services like Netflixand Amazon Prime or watching your own content using a TV-friendly frontendsuch as Kodi. However, they can do much more.For more information about Android TV boxes, I recommend reading my detailedintroduction to Android TV boxes.
Android Box vs Firestick Comparison
| Android TV Box| Amazon Firestick —|—|— Processor| Varies (Fastest is Tegra X1)| 1.7GHz Quadcore Processor Connectivity| Typically Wired & Wireless| Wireless Only Portability| Not Portable| Portable Remote| IR/Bluetooth| Bluetooth Voice Remote Support/Updates| Varies based on Manufacturer| Excellent Android TV boxes come from a number of manufacturers with an even largervariety of configurations. This makes explicit comparisons of Android TV boxesvs Firesticks difficult. However, there are some common things that Iâll befocusing on.
Android TV Box vs Firestick for Kodi
When it comes to Kodi support, Android TV boxes win out.ÂAmazon isnât a fan of Kodi and the app hasnât been available on the AmazonApp store for some time so youâll need to sideload it â this is somewhattechnical which might scare off some users.That said, Amazon users can use the MrMC app for a Kodi-like experience thoughincluding automatic framerate switching â though youâll lose the abilityto stream using add-ons as this function isnât supported.Android TV boxes donât have this restriction and can install Kodi directlyfrom the Google Play store. However, support for more advanced features suchas automatic frame rate switching heavily depends on the deviceâs firmware.Better supported Android TV boxes such as the Nvidia Shield or Zidoo deviceswill offer better Kodi experiences.Those who want the ultimate Kodi experience on their Android TV box can bypassAndroid entirely, installing the alternate OS LibreELEC or CoreELEC (thoughthis is typically restricted to a handful of Android TV box processors likethe Amlogic S912 and S905).When it comes to choosing a Firestick or Android TV box for Kodi, I have togive Android TV boxes the edge.
Fire Stick or Android Box: Is an Android Box better than Fire Stick?
When trying to choose between a Fire Stick or Android Box, which one is betterreally depends on what youâre wanting to use it for.The Amazon Fire Stick offers an excellent user experience for a budgetfriendly price and its support for streaming services is consistent withdedicated TV-optimized apps and high resolution video support.Iâd recommend the Amazon Firestick if youâre looking for the followingfeatures: * Simple user experience: Amazonâs simplified setup process, intuitive UI and support for popular streaming apps make the Firestick perfect for someone who wants something that just works. * High quality streaming: The Firestick can support high resolution streaming for services such as Netflix, Hulu and Prime Video. * Heavy Amazon integration: Itâs unsurprising that Amazonâs own Firestick is heavily biased towards the companyâs own Prime Video offerings. If you regularly enjoy Prime Originals or have smart home products connected with Amazon Alexa, the Firestick is the perfect choice.Iâd recommend an Android TV box if youâre looking for the followingfeatures: * Kodi use is important (and streaming services arenât): Android TV boxes generally do a better job supporting Kodi so if you watch most of your content through everyoneâs favorite media center, an Android box is probably the better option. Just be aware that most cheap Android boxes donât support high definition streaming so youâll need to look at something like the Xiaomi Mi Box S or Nvidia Shield TV. * Customisation: Android TV boxes offer far more flexibility in terms of setting everything up how you like it. Donât like the UI â just install another launcher or a completely different OS like LibreELEC (for Kodi users) or Lakka (for Retro gamers) * Raw performance: Most Android TV box hardware will outperform Amazonâs Firestick so if you use your media box for demanding tasks such as gaming, youâll want to pick up an Android TV box.If youâve got the budget and want the absolute best, I highly recommend theNvidia Shield TV as youâll get the best of both worlds. The Nvidia Shield TVprovides an excellent Android TV experience with dedicated streaming apps,solid Kodi support and the best gaming performance of any Android boxcurrently on the market.Those on tighter budgets will need to make some compromises but thereâsplenty of excellent Android TV boxes out there. Michael is a technology expert with over 15 years of experience in IT, HomeTheatre and Automation. Feel free to send Michael a message here.Xiaomi Mi Box VS Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K: Which one is better?Many of the affordable smart TVs are actually quite dumb. Many often lacksupport for one or more of the popular OTT apps or don’t support 4K, or attimes even HD, streaming across them. In fact, Xiaomi’s own TVs couldn’t runNetflix and Amazon prime for a very long time. Xiaomi’s Mi Box will make regular TVs smart and smart TVs smarter, just as theFire TV stick (review) does. So, which one of the two is better? Let’s comparethe Fire TV stick and Mi Box in detail in order to help you decide.
Mi Box vs FireTV stick 4K: Design
The Mi Box is a box and would require additional space in front of your TValongside your set-top box and an additional cable to manage. The Fire TVstick is something you connect directly behind your TV and then forget aboutcompletely. If you have a wall-mounted TV and space constraints, this is something you’dwant to ponder over. Both the Amazon Fire TV stick and Mi Box require a powerinput. The Fire TV stick can accept power from the TVs USB port, and the MiBox 4K comes with a proprietary charger.Both Xiaomi Mi Box 4K and Amazon Fire TV Stick 4k come with separate remotecontrols.Also Check: Google Chromecast 3 Review
Mi Box vs Fire TV stick 4K: Audio, Ports, and connectivity
Xiaomi Mi Box 4K supports Dolby Audio and DTS 2.0 audio and has digital audioout to directly connect with home theater systems. The Amazon Fire TV stick 4Ksupports Dolby atmos.Mi Box also has an extra USB port that you can use to directly connect USB pendrives. This should prove quite useful because USB ports on TVs are oftendifficult to access, especially when TVs are wall-mounted.Fire TV stick 4K has the latest Bluetooth 5.0 while the Mi Box has Bluetooth4.2 LE.
Mi Box vs Fire TV stick 4K: App support
All popular apps in India – Disney+hotstar, Netflix, Prime Videos, YouTube –are supported on both Mi Box and Fire TV Stick 4K. While we are yet to test MiBox, we are assuming that Fire TV has a few extra global apps since it’savailable many more markets and has been around so much longer.For instance, Apple TV is available only on Fire TV stick in India. We’d alsolike to check support for music streaming apps like Spotify, Ganna, etc on MiBox 4.
Mi Box 4K vs Amazon Fire TV stick: verdict
What shall unequivocally work in Xiaomi’s favor is the aggressive price of MiBox 4k. At Rs. 3,499, the Mi Box is even cheaper than Amazon’s regular FireStick (1080p) that costs 3,999.There are some differences in features between the two streaming devices, butyou should also factor in what you need, what your TV already has, and whichassistant you prefer – Google Assistant or Alexa Alexa – before decidingbetween the two.Points in favor of Xiaomi Mi Box 4K * Significantly cheaper * USB port to directly connect flash drives; Digital audio out * Built-in Chromecast Ultra for directly casting from apps on your phonePoints in favor of Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K * Compact design, simpler cable management * More global apps supported (Apple TV, HBO, etc.) * Supports Dolby Atmos audio
4 Best Fire TV Stick Remote Apps for Android and iOSFire TV Stick comes with a remote controller right inside the box. But as thisis 2020, we can expect a bit more user-friendliness. It’s always a task tosearch for anything with the remote controller. So having the TV connected toyour phone is a much better option as we can use the phone’s keyboard for aquick search. You can operate the TV without having to jiggle around for apiece of plastic. But you need Fire TV Stick remote apps for Android to use iteffectively.
Best Fire TV Stick Remote Apps for Android and iOS
Amazon already has its own Fire TV remote app that can completely replace thecontroller Fire TV that came with the box.
CetusPlay is a third-party remote app that works great with Firesticks andAndroid TV devices. This app can be a much better option than the Fire TV appfor a one-sole reason, it supports different controller modes includingGamepad which makes playing games on the Fire TV much more enjoyable.Just like the first-party Fire TV controller, CetusPlay also supports app viewto open apps instantly with a single click. So you are not losing on theoptions that the Fire TV app provides.Though the app has volume keys, if you are using Fire TV Stick lite, theydon’t work as the Firestick lite itself does not have control over your TVSettings.Additionally, it also offers an App Store which makes sideloading apps likeChrome onto your Firestick a much easier process. But before that you need toopen settings on the Fire Stick > My Fire TV > Developer Options > InstallUnknown apps and turn on “Cetusplay for TV”.In order for this app to work, you need to first enable the ADB Debugging. Youcan do that from settings > My Fire TV > Developer Options and click on “ADBDebugging” to turn it on. Once done, you can just open the Cetusplay app onthe phone and connect to the Fire TV from there. It only shows you the IPaddress of your device. If you own multiple fire sticks, you can check IPaddress of your Fire Stick in Settings > My Fire TV > About > Network. Nowjust click on the icon with the IP address that you want to connect to. That’sit, the remote will be connected to the TV.Pros: * Ability to open apps instantly * Option to sideload apps from the inbuilt app store. * Supports many modes including game controllerCons: * Ads * Alexa doesn’t work * Only available on AndroidDownload CetusPlay (Android)Also Read: Xiaomi Mi TV Stick vs Amazon Fire TV Stick – Which One to Buy?
Wrapping Up: Fire TV Remote Apps
You can also check other apps like Fire TV Remote, Fire Remote, etc. that aresubscription-based and don’t offer value for it. On the other side, there areapps like Droidmote that are great and have gamepad support but have too manyconnectivity issues with Fire TV that you need to figure out every time youuse the remote app.Also Read: 5 Best File Manager Apps for Amazon Fire TV StickHow to Access Google Play Store on Fire TV StickIn our comparison between Android TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick, we had notedthat Google Play Store is one of the main features that differentiate the twoTV platforms. It houses thousands of apps and has a much larger library ofapps than Amazon’s Appstore. That said, both platforms essentially run Androidunder the hood, and APKs are used for packaging and installing apps. So theremust be a way where you can access Google Play Store on Fire TV Stick. Well,we bring you a detailed guide on how to install Play Store on Fire TV Stick.So without further ado, let’s jump to the steps.
Install Thousands of Apps on Fire TV Stick From Google Play Store
So that is how you can access Play Store’s library on Fire TV Stick andinstall endless Android TV apps and games. In my testing, the whole processwas pretty glitch-free and I didn’t face any error. However, Aurora Store’sapp icon was broken due to a bug in Fire TV Stick so keep that in mind.Anyway, that is all from us. If you want to learn how to add free live TVchannels on Fire TV Stick then head over to our linked guide. And if you haveany questions then let us know in the comment section below.Amazon Fire TV Stick vs Xiaomi Mi Box: A ComparisonWhich is the “go-to” media device for your digital signage displays? It’s aquestion we get asked a lot. There are so many great hardware choices outthere that it can be difficult for the average consumer browsing online toknow which one they should add to their shopping basket. Here, we’ve taken twoof our favorite devices at ScreenCloud—the Amazon Fire TV 4K Stick and the MiBox S— and compared all of their pros, cons, and superpowers to give you arounded view.
Amazon Fire TV Stick
We wrote an in-depth guide to the Amazon Fire TV Stick, including what it isand how it works. An Amazon Fire TV Stick is a small HDMI device that, whenplugged into a TV or computer, makes the device smart by connecting it to theinternet.You can buy the Fire Stick for around $40 on sites such as Amazon (go figure)and in stores such as Target, Best Buy, and Currys.
Which is better for Digital Signage?
We like both devices here at ScreenCloud as they’re compatible with oursoftware. There are some small differences in features between the twostreaming devices, and your decision simply boils down to your preference forusing Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.But for digital signage purposes we recommend the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K orthe Chromecast with Google TV. If you are looking into a more business readydevice, then we suggest our ScreenCloud OS device.If you’re still wondering which device to buy, here’s a digital signage-ledcomparison of the two.
Both devices are “plug and play” which means they’re both pretty easy toinstall. To use, you’ll need to plug the device into the HDMI port of yourscreen, plug in the power adaptor, and connect to WiFi. One difference toconsider is that the Amazon Fire TV 4K stick can accept power and be supporteddirectly from your TV’s USB port, whereas the Xiaomi Mi Box needs to besupported through its standard charger.As you’d expect, you need an Amazon account to set up the Amazon Fire TV Stickand a Google account to set up the Mi Box S.The Amazon TV Stick also has Alexa built into its latest version, so if you’reinto voice control, this can be a great addition. In contrast, the Mi Box Scomes with a built-in Chromecast Ultra, allowing you to issue commands usingGoogle Assistant.When launching or rebooting the screen, both devices will load either theAmazon Home screen or the Android TV home screen first before automaticallyloading ScreenCloud. Both streaming devices can push 4K content. However,since the Mi Box S is affiliated with Google and runs on Android TV, you’ll beable to take full advantage of Android TV’s ecosystem of apps, which can bemore appealing than the Amazon Play store.
The Amazon Fire TV Stick runs well with ScreenCloud, but it isn’t as powerfulas the Mi Box S. As you’ll see below, the Mi Box S has more processing powerand RAM available than the Fire TV Stick.Tech spec of the Mi Box S vs the Amazon Fire TV Stick
If your digital signage setup is limited and you have space constraints,perhaps the Amazon Fire TV Stick is the better option. As mentioned before,you can simply power your stick through your TV, whereas you’d need an outletto use the Mi Box S.Secondly, although both streaming devices support HDR content, the Fire TVStick has a slight advantage in this area as it also supports Dolby Vision. Onthe other hand, the Amazon Fire TV Stick doesn’t support proxy networks,except via sideloading, which isn’t intuitive.When it comes to screen mirroring, Amazon has completely removed this optionin the latest Fire TV Stick 4K. Hence, if this is a feature you need, wesuggest going with the old Fire TV Stick Gen 2. As mentioned earlier, sincethe Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is only available in certain regions, if you’reunable to purchase it but still prefer this type of setup, the Fire TV StickGen 2 Basic Edition should do the job.
Upgraded to Android 9 Pie
As soon as I powered up my Ematic AGT419, it started upgrading itself toAndroid 9 Pie.I’ll be honest, one of my big concerns with this TV box was that it wasrunning Android 8.1 out of the box. Android 8 has been notoriously buggy whenmigrated to TV boxes.Other than making it more stable, Android 9 doesn’t have very many featuresfor TV users.Most of the improvements moving from Android Oreo (8) to Pie (9) were gearedtowards smartphone and tablet users. For example, apps were able to managepower more efficiently and save battery life.The upgrade process took about ten minutes to complete, and didn’t require anyinteraction from me at all. It was so easy, it reminded me of updating myNVIDIA Shield TV’s.That’s a pretty high compliment.”