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
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
Video Up-Conversion Unknown
Audio Output HDMI
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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  • close - Friday, October 7, 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...
  • Death666Angel - Saturday, October 8, 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.
  • close - Saturday, October 8, 2016 - link

    I never implied they're lying. Just that the issues are not inherent to wireless like they suggest but rather to their setup and this means they might be able to fix it instead of avoiding any number of good products because they are WiFi only.
  • Death666Angel - Saturday, October 8, 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..."
    To me, that's a nice way of saying they are lying. Especially with those "..." at the end. But if you say so....

    And of course those issues are inherent to wireless. It is a much more error prone and environment dependant technology compared to wired connections. And a lot of things can be out of your control: optimal reciever / transmitter placement may not be possible due to aesthetic complaints from the people living with you; having tons of interfering wifi signals is not in your control, having heavily shielding walls in your house or flat is not in your control.
    And the specific comment you replied to mentioned game streaming. I haven't read a single review of that technology that liked doing game streaming via wifi, except for high latency tolerant game types like strategy, turn based etc.
  • close - Sunday, October 9, 2016 - link

    Well Death66Angel between the 2 of us who do you think would know better what *I* meant? Are you accusing me of lying right after telling me that I can't accuse others of lying? Are you the only one here allowed to challenge what others say or is it just because your vocabulary doesn't include the word "hypocrisy" yet? Let me help you, it's what you're doing right now.

    The article is about a *media box*, not game streaming. I didn't recommend using 802.1a/b for transferring terabytes of data back and forth or to connect your NAS to the network. It's about streaming audio and video that *any* properly set up network (wired or WiFi) can handle. So no, I'm not calling anyone a liar, I am saying that in 99.99% of cases the "inherent issues" of WiFi are in fact bad network design, bad equipment or bad configuration. For example if your router is on another floor like one guy said it means you most likely don't live in a radio polluted zone and common sense and best practices would dictate you use an AP or extender. Just like you don't use 150m stretches of worn out Cat 5 cable and then complain about how wired networks suck.

    BTW, wired is also heavily impacted by the environment since you have walls to drill through, doorways or windows and distances to cover. You have to lay the cable carefully, you have to drill holes, hide cable under floorboards (which might damage it at installation or over time). You have to power your network equipment like switches and routers that you place around the house so you don't lay bundles of cables all over the house. And not least of all of wired's inherent weaknesses is that it can only connect a tiny fraction of the devices on the market right now. And since in this day and age you really can't avoid having WiFi it might pay off to do it right.

    So don't put your reading comprehension failures and hypocrisy on me. The problem is that everybody thinks that if they can plug in a router and connect to WiFi then they've already done a good job and anything not working is "an inherent issue". It's an inherent PEBKAC issue.
  • chipped - Saturday, October 8, 2016 - link

    Get off the meth. I have a 115Mbit connection and my main PC and HTPC are in the living room 15M from my router. It also downloads over UseNet and looking at the history it averages maximum speed. So definitely no troubles there.

    I always max the download speed, I can have four 4K stream from Netflix and some spare for whatever I need.

    All you need is a good router and decent clients.

    I use a USB 802.11ac adaptor from 3 PC'a positioned above the desk (behind metal case hurts signal quality/strength)

    iMacs and MacBooks are fine as they come with high end dual and three stream wifi adaptors already.

    Windows laptops vary largely. My work Toshiba Sattelite "Pro" has a bargain basement no name single stream 802.11n 2.4GHz adaptor.

    So, learn what you're buying and do some research before spewing out crap, wireless is more than capable of doing 4K and bluray.

    P.S - Even 802.11n three stream is capable, at 5M 2011 iMac can transfer at 25Mb/sec reliably. At 15M it's about 15-20Mb/sec easily.

    Router is a ASUS RT-AC3200 with smart wifi enabled to balance and move clients around bands depending on congestion, signal strength, other clients etc
  • UberCrew - Sunday, October 9, 2016 - link

    No matter how much you want to rant is not going to change the fact that Wifi is more prone to interference and is not as reliable as ethernet for streaming video. If you are happy using Wifi then good for you but for those who want a solid streaming box with a real ethernet connection, they will most likely not be considering the Mi box.
  • close - Sunday, October 9, 2016 - link

    So what you're saying is that none of you guys can use your phones or tablets to stream media in your home? Wow, Apple, Samsung et al. were so courageous removing the Ethernet port from their phones and tablets with all them people choosing "solid [devices] with a real ethernet connection" because WiFi is just "not as reliable as ethernet".

    People are always willing to blame technology for their lack of ability. Most don't install and configure their own computer but somehow they all think that setting up WiFi *properly* is just a matter of putting the router on the table, powering it on and using the password on the box. It's a lot more that that and when you don't know this you're here whining about how it's unreliable.

    If you heard someone complaining about how the water, electricity, heating systems that they installed are malfunctioning because of "inherent issues with water and electricity" (like that they can electrocute or drown you) you'd think the same thing people with properly set up WiFi think when reading your comments. ;)
  • UberCrew - Tuesday, October 11, 2016 - link

    Another rant that still won't change the fact that Wifi is still not as reliable for streaming high bit-rate video such as UHD as a wired connection would be. You are not streaming UHD video to your phone or tablet, sorry buddy. It's a scientific fact that wireless is more prone to interference than hard wired networks.

    Switching wireless channels, positioning the router and or antennas, installing wireless access points etc. can alleviate some of the interference issues. It's still not going to change the fact that a hard wired connection is going to be more reliable. Why would I go through all that trouble anyway when I can just buy another device from a company smart enough to give customers more options.

    Just because you are happy dealing with the higher latency and interference prone wifi signal doesn't mean that other people want to deal with it.

    You should do more research about networking before ranting and trying to make yourself look like some tech genius. :)
  • eek2121 - Saturday, October 8, 2016 - link

    Use 5 GHz. Trust me, it solves everything.

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