Xiaomi has officially started to sell its Google Android TV 6.0-based set-top-boxes in the U.S. The Xiaomi Mi Box STB boasts with a rather powerful SoC, an HDMI 2.0a (4K, 60 fps, HDR) video output, a Bluetooth remote with voice search feature as well as a $69 price tag. The combination of modern, capable hardware and a relatively affordable price will improve chances of Xiaomi’s STB to become popular among those who use Google's Android TV platform.

The Xiaomi Mi is powered by Amlogic’s S905X-H SoC (four ARM Cortex-A53 cores at 2.0 GHz, five ARM Mali-450MP clusters) and is equipped with 2 GB of DDR3 memory, 8 GB of NAND flash, a wireless module supporting Wi-Fi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0, a USB port as well as an HDMI 2.0a output with HDCP 2.2 and CEC. Xiaomi bundles a Bluetooth remote with a mic and voice search feature with its STB for extra convenience. In addition, the company sells its Mi Game Controller for those, who would like to play Android games on TV.

Since the STB runs Android TV 6.0, it supports various popular streaming services (including those from Google, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, VUDU and so on) and TV channels via apps (such as CNN, Disney and ESPN) out-of-the-box. Furthermore the box is also capable of acting as a Google Cast receiver, which allows it to work with applications that support casting but not stand-alone Android TV. This is especially notable since Google also announced their similarly priced Chomrcast Ultra this week, whose primary feature is 4K support as well. This gives the Mi Box a leg up on paper, since it should be able to do most of what the Chromecast can do while adding its Android TV capabilities on top of that.

The hardware and software of Xiaomi’s Mi Box supports the latest codecs and standards, including VP9 Profile 2, H.265, and  HDR10 (but not Dolby Vision). So owners of appropriate subscriptions and TVs can access more or less every audio/video format under the sun, including 4Kp60 video with HDR metadata or 1080p60 video with DTS 2.0 or Dolby Digital Plus audio (the STB also has an S/PDIF optical out and a 3.5-mm out for audio).

The Xiaomi Mi Box Specifications
  Mi Box
OS Google Android 6.0
(Google Cast compatible)
SoC Amlogic’s S905X-H SoC

Four ARM Cortex-A53 cores at 2.0 GHz
3+2 ARM Mali-450MP clusters
RAM 2 GB DDR3
Storage 8 GB of NAND
USB 2.0
Wi-Fi Dual-Band 802.11ac
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0
Video Output Connector HDMI 2.0a
Video Output Resolution 1080p
4Kp60
Video Up-Conversion Unknown
HDR HDR10
Audio Output HDMI
Optical
3.5 mm jack
Audio Features DTS 2.0+ Digital Out, Dolby Digital Plus
Up to 7.1 pass through
Remote Bluetooth remote with voice search
Video Decoding Capabilities VP9 Profile-2 up to 4K x 2K at 60fps
H.265 HEVC MP-10 at L5.1, up to 4K x 2K at 60fps
H.264 AVC HPat L5.1, up to 4K x 2K at 30fps
H.264 MVC, up to 1080P at 60fps
Supports HDR10/HLG HDR processing (software upgrade required)
Power Consumption up to 11 W
Price $69

At present, there are not a lot of 4Kp60-capable Android TV media players. In fact, until now only NVIDIA’s SHIELD Android TV console supported 4K at 60 fps along with HDR, so the launch of the Xiaomi Mi Box gives owners of UHDTVs a second Android TV option. The Mi Box is nowhere near as powerful for non-video tasks, but at $69, it's considerably more affordable than the $199 console from NVIDIA.

The Xiaomi Mi Box is available right now from Mi.com and will also be sold by Walmart in the coming days or weeks.

Sources: Xiaomi, CNX Software.

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  • mmrezaie - Friday, October 07, 2016 - link

    did they out-google, google? not bad with remote. why should one chose the chromecast over this? Reply
  • close - Friday, October 07, 2016 - link

    Well if you want a small dongle type device that can be powered from the TV's USB you won't go for a media box. Reply
  • smikwily - Friday, October 07, 2016 - link

    You don't have to have something else to "process" the videos, etc. You can do more than fling to an Android TV box, but you also have that ability as well. Reply
  • sprockkets - Friday, October 07, 2016 - link

    Chromecast ultra comes with ethernet via the power cable :) Reply
  • GhostOfAnand - Friday, October 07, 2016 - link

    No ethernet. No buy. Reply
  • djsvetljo - Friday, October 07, 2016 - link

    +1 Reply
  • close - Friday, October 07, 2016 - link

    The only reasons I can think about for the need for Ethernet is that either you're constantly moving a huge amount of data between the two points and you need to do it fast or you have no WiFi available.
    Even 802.1n or less is enough for 4K streaming. I can assume you don't plan on moving 10TB of data through the media box. And if you do maybe it's time to rethink your network setup.
    Reply
  • webdoctors - Friday, October 07, 2016 - link

    Wifi never seems reliable for me, regardless of routers or placement in my house. Especially when doing game streaming. Ethernet has already solved this issue and ethernet ports are cheap. Not having one is definitely a deal breaker. Reply
  • close - Friday, October 07, 2016 - link

    Seeing how everybody complains about "unreliable WiFi" more than 3-4m (!!!) away I guess I can only praise the wireless gods for my 8 year old 802.1n router that somehow still manages to stream at a steady ~40Mbps. The newer router ($100 TP-Link) manages a steady 70-80Mbps on 2.4GHz (enough even for 4K BR assuming I'd ever want to do it) and ~130-150Mbps on 5GHz albeit at just 4-5m.
    I have to say I find it really strange that no reputable reviewer or sites like smallnetbuilder ever came to the same conclusion that's transpiring in this discussion: that WiFi simply can't stream reliably...

    But to each his own. Just as a suggestion, picking a good router and configuring it properly will go a long way and maybe save you the effort of laying "flat cables under baseboards" throughout the house. There's a limit to how many cables and switches you can or want to lay around and more and more devices are mobile or all-wireless simply because WiFi is good enough... for people who don't have a huge collection of 4K Blu-Rays that they need to send to a TV on another floor...
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Saturday, October 08, 2016 - link

    "I have to say I find it really strange that no reputable reviewer or sites like smallnetbuilder ever came to the same conclusion that's transpiring in this discussion: that WiFi simply can't stream reliably..."
    Wireless is heavily impacted by your environment, wired not. To imply that people are lying about their bad wifi experience when it can be easily explained is just petty.
    Reply

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