Xiaomi Mi Box Now Available in U.S.: Android TV 6.0 with 4Kp60 Output for $69by Anton Shilov on October 7, 2016 10:00 AM EST
- Posted in
- Media Player
- Android TV
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|
|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
|Video Output Connector||HDMI 2.0a|
|Video Output Resolution||1080p
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|
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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close - Sunday, October 9, 2016 - link5GHz has lower range unfortunately. Attenuation through walls is worse so they're good for high throughput with line of sight connections. Usually streaming to the TV falls in this category since plenty of people have the router and TV in the same (living)room.
Cinnabuns - Friday, October 7, 2016 - linkI have not found 802.11n to be reliable for even 1080p streaming. Real world performance is far lower than theoretical limits of 802.11n. It may be OK for "HD" from Netflix but not high bitrate content streamed via Plex or other means. Ethernet solves the issue.
emceephi - Friday, October 7, 2016 - linkIt's time to upgrade to AC. It's waaaay faster than n.
phoenix_rizzen - Friday, October 7, 2016 - linkWireless works great for things that move around a lot. Wired works great for things that don't move.
The TV is wired into the wall (power, cable, etc).
The media box is wired into the wall (power) and the TV (HDMI, audio, etc).
Neither of them move, so why not include an Ethernet port? I've run Ethernet to all my rooms (flat cables slip under baseboards for no-tools-required installation). Thus, if a device that plugs into the TV doesn't have an Ethernet port, it doesn't get purchased.
Wireless is a limited resource that's reserved for mobile devices (laptops, tablets, phones, Chromebook).
UberCrew - Friday, October 7, 2016 - linkEthernet is the most reliable way to stream video. The cost of adding an ethernet port to the Mi box would have been negligible. Only having one USB port on a device with no microSD card slot and no ethernet port was a mistake. I would have considered buying the device but the paltry internal storage, no ethernet port and only one USB 2.0 port make it a non option for me.
dsraa - Friday, October 7, 2016 - linkI concur as well. Wifi for me sucks donkey balls when the router is more than 10-15ft away in another room, or another floor entirely, and Ethernet is just vastly superior in terms of throughput speed alone. For streaming, the extra 5-10mpbs sometimes makes all the difference due to buffering.
ezridah - Friday, October 7, 2016 - linkYou can use a USB ethernet adapter if you want. Even with the extra ~$10 that costs, this still seems like an all around better solution than the Chromecast Ultra unless you absolutely have to have it powered by USB.
Something like this would work:
Samus - Saturday, October 8, 2016 - linkI don't really get why Ethernet is missing, either. All of these companies are basically cloning the Apple TV, which has ALWAYS had Ethernet.
Really for me I'd rather used a hard connection when I can just to free up the spectrum for all the other WiFi devices in my home that HAVE to be wireless (cameras, locks, lights, garage door opener, other smart appliances.)
close - Saturday, October 8, 2016 - link@Samus, I don't think the only way to do it is Apple's way, nor do I think that after more than a decade of media players as we know them today there's any room for such generalizations as "they're all cloning the Apple TV". Especially since today's media box is the natural evolution to media-player only from the old set top boxes, VCRs, "Internet Terminals" or consoles that existed for decades.
The iPhone7 is basically cloning the iPhone6 which ALWAYS had a 3.5mm jack. So your argument isn't doing very well.
Is every laptop out there cloning the Epson HX-20 (first laptop ever) or even IBM/Compaq (HP) laptops? It's called evolution. Or if it's easier for you to understand it like this we can call it "courage" ;).
nathanddrews - Friday, October 7, 2016 - linkThis and the Chromecast Ultra both seem neat, but I'm apprehensive about buying any of these gadgets. In addition to some of the first-generation handshake issues between HDR devices and content, it really feels like we're in HDR beta testing territory. The approach by hardware makers and content providers really feels like each one of them is trying to corner the market rather than push for wide adoption.
Right now, aside from AMD and NVIDIA having HDMI 2.0 and DP 1.4 ports on their GPUs, AMD has demoed PC HDR gaming content at shows and NVIDIA claims that HDR game streaming through the Shield is coming. However, not one HDR PC game exists that I can buy on Steam or Windows Store.
I would expect that any game supporting HDR on consoles will get support on PCs with capable hardware (Pascal/Polaris), but so far it doesn't seem like PC is getting any HDR love. No games, no streaming video, no UHD Blu-ray. Still no HDR monitors either (excluding HDR TVs). Maybe 2017 will be the year?