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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  • SquarePeg - Friday, October 07, 2016 - link

    USB to ethernet adapters are only $10 bucks. A $69 dollar price point means some corners are going to be cut. Reply
  • UberCrew - Friday, October 07, 2016 - link

    USB to ethernet is all well and good until you want to add more storage. On this device your only option for additional storage is also from the same USB port. Now you need a USB hub to run your ethernet and USB drive. A USB 2.0 port can theoretically handle both ethernet traffic and I/O from the hard drive, however in real world situations you could run into some issues. Wouldn't have cost much more just to add an ethernet port. If not then they could have used a USB 3.0 controller instead of USB 2.0. USB 3.0 with it's higher bandwidth would have been a much better option. Reply
  • Xajel - Sunday, October 09, 2016 - link

    If you do some googling, you will find a USB hub with Ethernet and power on the same device, it gives you 2x USB type-A ports + 1 Ethernet Port + Power port and a microUSB cable to attach it to what ever thing you need... reviews stated it works normally on multiple devices including Android... being powered by Android ( not a Chromecast ) it's easier to find a compatible Ethernet adapter as Chromecast require specific chipset for this functionality to work... Reply
  • UberCrew - Sunday, October 09, 2016 - link

    While a USB hub may work it is still running off the single USB 2.0 port on the MI box. This means the max speed of all devices running off that bus will be 480Mbit/s, however your real world speeds will be slower. The USB 2.0 bus should be able to handle the max 100Mbit/s network speed but may increase read/write access times and overall performance of any USB drive connected to the hub. This could cause issues when trying to play games or streaming high bitrate video off the USB drive. So for me using a hub is too much of a compromise. Not that they care but by saving at most maybe a dollar per device by not including an ethernet port, Xiaomi lost me as a potential customer. Reply
  • __Miguel_ - Monday, October 10, 2016 - link

    USB adds latency to both operations, not only because of the nature of the protocol but also because Ethernet and disk I/O would be competing for time and bandwidth.

    Also, as the original Raspberry Pi taught us, having both Ethernet and disk I/O on the same USB bus is a recipe for disaster. The amount of kernel panics and freakouts that kind of load caused rendered any setup that had any prolonged use of network and disk I/O over USB completely useless, because the machine would stop responding after a few hours. Even today, it's a clunky solution, even with USB 3.
    Reply
  • NeBlackCat - Sunday, October 09, 2016 - link

    Doesn't it have both standard (host) and OTG (host or device) ports? So you could use one for Ethernet and the other for storage. No need for a hub. Reply
  • UberCrew - Sunday, October 09, 2016 - link

    All traffic is still going to run through the Mi box's single port USB 2.0 bus. Which means the maximum bandwidth is still 480Mbit/s. Reply
  • Shylok - Friday, October 07, 2016 - link

    Anyone notice you can't actually buy it... Reply
  • briand095 - Friday, October 07, 2016 - link

    I went to my local Wal-Mart and picked one up, seems like you have to go in there to get it, the workers don't seem to know nothing about it Reply
  • __Miguel_ - Monday, October 10, 2016 - link

    Does it come with the Ethernet dongle? The instruction manual someone else posted shows composite, S/PDIF, OTG and Ethernet cables, but it's unclear if they come in the box or not. Reply

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