Infomir MAGs are some of the most robust streaming media players out there. Streaming enthusiasts love them for their speed, ease-of-use, and outstanding streaming performance.
Thanks to their support of the Stalker middleware, they can be used with an almost endless choice of IPTV streaming service providers. However, we get asked the same question over and over again: Which MAG should I buy? In this post, we’ll review both by comparing the MAG 254 vs MAG 256.
What is a MAG set-top box?
Before we get into the specifications of both IPTV set top boxes, discuss how their differences affect the real-life use of these set-top boxes and provide our view of which streaming box you should buy, let’s quickly look at what a MAG box is.
A MAG box is a set-top box from Infomir for streaming media to your television. Also, you can play offline media files from a storage device through the USB port. Most users choose a MAG over an Android box because of its native support of the Stalker middleware. This allows you to connect to IPTV servers to watch live TV or stream VOD movies. It also provides EPG functionality and overall is the best option if live streaming via Stalker is the main use.
So which device should you get, the or MAG 256? If you don’t want to read the full comparison, the short answer is: Either performs really well as a streaming set-top box. Already an owner of the MAG 254 and thinking about upgrading? You can but you certainly don’t have to. If this is your first purchase, go for the faster 256 and you’ll be a happy streamer!
MAG 254 vs MAG 256 – Comparison
So, let’s have a look at the specs of both streaming boxes.
|Width/Depth/Height||127/87/30 mm||132/87/26 mm|
|Weight||190 g||190 g|
|Processor||STiH 207||ARM Cortex A9 1.5 GHz|
|RAM||512 MB||1 GB|
|Flash Memory||256 MB||512 MB|
|Operating System||Linux 2.6.23||Linux 3.3|
|Middleware supported||Stalker, Netup, SmartLabs, Netris, Beenius||Stalker|
|Interfaces||Audio output S/PDIF, HDMI 1.4-output, Composite + stereo A/V output, Ethernet 100 Mb/s, USB 2.0 (WiFi-adapter can be connected)||HDMI 1.4a-output, Composite + stereo A/V output, Audio output S/PDIF, Ethernet 100 Mb/s, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 (WiFi-adapter can be connected), Built-in WiFi 2.4 GHz/5 GHz ac (optional)|
|Video Codecs||MPEG1/2 MP@HL, H.264 HP@level 4.1, MPEG4 part 2 (ASP), WMV-9 (optional), VC1 video, XviD; HD video supporting (up to 40 Mbit/s and above)||MPEG1/2 MP@HL, H.264 HP@level 4.1, H.265 (HEVC), MPEG4 part 2 (ASP), WMV-9 (optional), VC1 video, XviD; 3D and HD video supporting (up to 40 Mbit/s and above)|
|Video Modes||1080i, 1080p, 720p, 576p, 480р, PAL, NTSC||1080i, 1080p, 720p, 576p, 480р, PAL, NTSC|
|Video Containers||MKV, MPEG-TS, MPEG-PS, M2TS, VOB, AVI, MOV, MP4, ASF, QT, WMV||MKV, MPEG-TS, MPEG-PS, M2TS, VOB, AVI, MOV, MP4, ASF, QT, WMV|
|Price||Check on Amazon|
As you can easily tell from the comparison table, there are only small differences between both devices. And that is a good thing. Infomir built upon the proven design and reliability of the MAG 254 and added small upgrades to its bigger brother in places where they matter.
This set-top box has been around for quite a few years now. Yet, it is still very popular with streaming enthusiasts. This is in part due to the 254’s remarkable reliability. Plug it in, set up your streaming service, and it just works. The interface is responsive, channel switching is fast and you get all the features needed to get the most out of IPTV streaming.
It might have limited processing power when compared to the 256 and certainly in comparison to the latest Android boxes. But you are not going to jam dozens of apps onto this device. Instead, you use it as a traditional cable box. Turn it on and stream TV and VOD content, only that you don’t pay through your nose for an expensive cable subscription! So if you were hoping to play games on any of the MAGs, look elsewhere…
Thanks to its two USB ports you can also hook up external media sources. And the 254 plays pretty much anything you throw at it. It is even capable of playing 3D content.
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The only thing that does stand out negatively is the price. When going purely by the specs, the MAG254 does seem to be leaning on the expensive side. However, given this streaming box’s quality and reliability, it is still a good buy and will likely outlast any Android box that you might get at this price. Plus, you will have a smoother IPTV streaming experience, guaranteed!
The Powerhouse: MAG 256
So what does the MAG 256 do better to justify the upgrade? The key difference is processing power. Infomir equipped the 256 with an ARM Cortex A9 1.5 GHz. That is a significant upgrade over the slower processing unit of the 254. Additionally, you get double the amount of RAM, a solid 1 GB.
Does all this make any difference? Yes and no. The MAG 256 won’t play content better. The same stream will look identical on either box. But you do get a snappier interface. Navigating the menus just feels better. This might also be due to the updated Linux version running on the newer model.
With the 256 you also get the option to play video files using H.265. This means that your media can be stored at a higher compression rate, allowing you to store more content on e.g. a thumb drive. However, you can forget about this if you are solely going to stream via Stalker as H.265 is irrelevant here.
Speaking of thumb drives. One key addition to the 256 vs the 254 is USB 3 support. Again, this won’t have any impact on streaming experience or video playback. But it does allow for faster read speeds and browsing of folders on attached drives.
MAG 254 / 256 vs Dreamlink T2 & BuzzTV XPL 3000
With the rise in IPTV’s popularity, new players joined the Stalker middleware set-top box game. Which is a good thing. The more competition, the better for us consumers. But can third-party manufacturers beat the original developer of the Stalker ecosystem?
The answer is yes and no. Dreamlink released the fabulous T2 (read our full review here) and has even improved upon its flagship model with the Formuler Z7+ and Formuler Z8. Both of these devices are great at IPTV and add a lot more to the base package of just being able to stream from IPTV services. Similarly, BuzzTV XPL 3000 is another set-top box that natively supports Stalker middleware.
What sets them apart from Infomir’s MAG 254 and 256 TV boxes is that they run on Android OS. This opens up a whole new world of entertainment options as it gives access to countless apps that can be installed (Kodi being an obvious one). So, in terms of flexibility and being able to do more than “just” IPTV streaming, Dreamlink and the other Android boxes are the better choice.
However, the design of the MAG boxes has been trialed and tested for many years and they do one thing extremely well: streaming from IPTV services. Sure, all other boxes have native Stalker support, but the MAG boxes just feel a bit closer to the real cable experience. But, this is not to say that some of the competitors are improving on some aspects, e.g. better EPG layout.
So which one should you buy?
The truth is, for the purpose of streaming IPTV content, it doesn’t matter. Either will do a great job. The MAG 256 outshines the 254 in terms of an overall smoother experience. But the 254 still is a very solid streaming box that gives you access to the same content as its older brother.
Our advice: Compare the latest prices at Amazon for vs MAG 256. If the extra dollars don’t hurt you, go with the 256 for its higher processing power. Want to save a few dollars and buy the MAG 254? That’s fine, you will still enjoy this very capable box.
If you want more flexibility and make use of Kodi and other third-party streaming applications, have a look at the latest Formuler Z8 and the BuzzTV XPL 3000. They both run on recent Android versions and stream IPTV right out of the box.
A word of advice
There are countless cheap counterfeit MAG boxes available on any of the big e-commerce sites. While you might save a dollar or two by buying them, we recommend to always opt for the original set-top box.
These products are offered at a lower price for a reason. They are of inferior quality, built with cheap components and materials. Chances are they’ll break quickly and you end up buying a second box. More importantly, Infomir has built a great ecosystem of software and hardware that is easy to use and performs exceptionally well. Support them by buying a genuine MAG box!
Last update on 2023-03-24 at 03:05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.