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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  • nirolf - Friday, October 07, 2016 - link

    Will the Netflix app play 4K shows? I remember that this has to be allowed by Netflix on each device. There are a lot of Chinese 4K Android players (same CPU usually) that run Netflix, but they are limited to FullHD by the app. Reply
  • jmelan - Friday, October 07, 2016 - link

    no MPEG2...no ethernet port, why can't anyone get this stuff right, how are you going to have a reliable 4k stream over wifi??? Reply
  • nathanddrews - Friday, October 07, 2016 - link

    Because a compressed 4K stream only needs around 25Mbps. Even G should manage that OK.
    https://help.netflix.com/en/node/306
    Reply
  • jmelan - Friday, October 07, 2016 - link

    wifi typically does not provide a stable 25 Mbps signal for a long duration of time. ever try to watch cable on WMC over wifi? just does not work, whereas Moca (preferred) or powerline are completely stable Reply
  • BrokenCrayons - Friday, October 07, 2016 - link

    Most streaming content is buffered on the local device before playback. Interruptions are therefore smoothed out and not noticed by the viewer in much the same way a portable CD player protected from skipping by reading ahead of the audio and storing it in a small RAM cache. Interruptions in content playback would require very unreliable wireless connectivity which usually means the end user has problems with their internet connection, the local router, or the placement of the router relative to the streaming device. Reply
  • Johnny Lumber - Friday, October 07, 2016 - link

    Some devices are just horrible at connecting to WiFi. The Amazon Firestick being one. Bottom line is if you have enough room on the device for an ethernet port, put one in. My Firestick is sitting within inches of my Netgear dual band and at least several times a week will drop the connection and doesn;t even see the signal when I check network settings. Wifi reliability is a major complaint against this item and no device is immune. Even iPads and iPhones. Reply
  • sprockkets - Friday, October 07, 2016 - link

    MPEG2 is something than any SoC can decode from like, forever. It's not worth mentioning. A crappy 333mhz Pentium III from like, 18 years ago, can decode it. Our ARM stuff is WAY faster than that.
    I can get behind the Ethernet part, but streaming stuff via wifi isn't hard at all.
    Reply
  • jmelan - Saturday, October 08, 2016 - link

    Only if the manufacturer licenses it for use, Nvidia shield and nexus player could not use mpeg2 hardware decoding at launch, was added later. No way this device can handle 1080i without hardware decoding. Reply
  • shabby - Sunday, October 09, 2016 - link

    A 333mhz pentium 3 could not decode anything... because it did not exist. Reply
  • trentbg - Friday, October 07, 2016 - link

    Duno where do you see it available, but its still not available anywhere. Reply

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