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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  • Demi9OD - Monday, October 10, 2016 - link

    I ordered online and when I went to pick it up they had cancelled my order because they couldn't find it. Told the customer service rep they were brand new and showed her a picture of the orange box, then she was able to find it in the back. No ethernet dongle but 5ghz is working fine for me on difficult 1080p scenes (snow, confetti, heavy film grain). Reply
  • syxbit - Friday, October 07, 2016 - link

    I don't get the complaints here.
    If you want a cheap Android TV, get this. If you need more features, storage, RAM, performance, Ethernet etc.. Get a Shield. I personally bought a Shield last Black Friday on sale for $150 with both remote and controller. It's a fantastic device that my family uses every day. The cost is totally justified.
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Saturday, October 08, 2016 - link

    All I see complaints about is ethernet. So they can either spend $150 on sale like you to get ethernet. Or they go for an Amlogic S905 TV Set-top-box that does the same thing this unit does with ethernet for $30. If all they want is a 4k enabled streaming device. Reply
  • jmelan - Saturday, October 08, 2016 - link

    Exactly, no reason that this device cannot include Ethernet for $69 Reply
  • UberCrew - Sunday, October 09, 2016 - link

    I agree there is no good reason for Xiaomi to omit an ethernet port on this device. They already omitted a microSD slot and only included one USB 2.0 port. Reply
  • wilson2888 - Saturday, October 08, 2016 - link

    want to know which one is better? PROBOX2 Air or Xiaomi Mi? Reply
  • dzeek - Saturday, October 08, 2016 - link

    Good question. The PROBOX2 Air seems to have the same CPU/GPU combination and some other much better specs (ethernet, more storage 16 GB eMMC and TF card reader, optical output, HDMI 2.0b). Possible downside is comes with IR remote even though it supports bluetooth. Reply
  • dzeek - Saturday, October 08, 2016 - link

    Forgot to mention...other possible downsides are the cost and external WiFi antenna although these seem minor if you want the other better specs. Reply
  • nirolf - Monday, October 10, 2016 - link

    Do not forget about 4k Netflix, it's available on a limited number of devices: https://help.netflix.com/en/node/13444 Reply
  • dzeek - Saturday, October 08, 2016 - link

    Just watched a YouTube video which shows it running several different launchers but not leanback. I'm not sure, but another downside might be that it doesn't appear that to run Android TV. Reply

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