One of my friends bought 小米盒子 (Mi) in HK and brought it back to me to compare with TVPad. I actually think 小米盒子 is not bad but I want to summarize the difference:
1) Cheap ~ roughly you can get one for $50-70 USD in HK
2) Lots of apps you can install for HK, TW, CN movies, TV, Sports, Games, etc
1) Too complicated for elders to use-it is more like iPlayer, which depends on installing apps to watch free stuffs.
2) If you installed 泰捷视频 and VST聚合 then you can watch TVB and live TV streaming for free, but it has tons of problems that it still stops every 10 mins or so when I tested it.
3) Most of the free movies are limited to certain resources that are filtered by Chinese Government. (like sohu, tudou, etc)
4) When you buy it in HK or China, please ask them to “jailbreak” for you in order to watch HK TV. Yes, there are so many versions of apps that can install but I think if you want to watch TVB, you have to ask them to “jailbreak” it.
I can’t say TVPad is much better in terms of stability, but on the “normal” days most of the people can watch free TV smoothly without any problems. I feel like on the national holidays (in China/HK) or even during World Cup, the streaming starts to have problems.
Also, my parents and my relatives who are in the 50-70s range know how to use TVPad easily, vs iPlayer they don’t want to deal with it. I am fine with 小米盒子 but I keep it for myself, not for elders.
Here’s a very good video comparison on youtube and you get an idea what to expect in 小米盒子 in Cantonese.