Several years after Xiaomi first released the Mi Box in China, and now after a few versions later, it is finally arriving in the US. This is Xiaomi’s big push into the Western market, spearheaded by their VP Hugo Barra. You still cannot buy a Xiaomi smartphone in the US, but maybe, just maybe things are going to change soon.
The China-based electronics giant is using Google’s I/O developers conference to highlight its Mi Box, a new Android TV-powered 4K set-top box. While official pricing and release date have yet to be announced, the Mi Box, not to be confused with a different model available in China even though it looks near identical, will be available in “other global markets” in addition to the US.
Xiaomi introduces Mi Box, based on Android TV
Mi Box is a sleek device perfect for the living room. The innovative Mi Box design has received the internationally-renowned Red Dot and Good Design awards. Thanks to Android TV 6.0, Mi Box comes with a rich library of content with thousands of movies, shows and games from Google Play, YouTube and other apps.
Xiaomi has sold over 10 million smart TVs and set-top boxes in China since 2013. As a clear sign of the company’s global ambitions, Mi Box — the first Xiaomi device with Android TV — will be available to consumers in the US and other global markets. Details regarding the availability of Mi Box will be released soon.
Smooth video playback in 4K and HDR
Mi Box supports 4K UHD video content playback at 60 frames per second, for the sharpest image quality and smoothest video playback. In addition, Mi Box supports the latest HDR10 standard (to be enabled from Android N onwards) and the updated HDMI 2.0a specification. With supported content being made available by leading content providers such as YouTube, Netflix, Vudu and FandangoNOW, high dynamic range (HDR) TV technology promises improvements in color and contrast, delivering a significant leap in picture quality.
Equipped with a quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU and Mali 450 GPU, as well as 2GB DDR3 RAM and 8GB eMMC flash, Mi Box provides powerful performance for a smooth streaming and gaming experience. Users can also add as much additional storage as they need to Mi Box via USB.
Mi Box also delivers rich and vibrant audio with Dolby Digital Plus and DTS Surround Sound, creating a cinema-like experience right within the living room.
Movies, shows, music and games from Google Play, YouTube and many apps
Users have no lack of entertainment options in 4K and HDR on Mi Box thanks to Google Play for Android, where popular streaming apps such as Netflix and Hulu can be downloaded. Mi Box ships with the official YouTube app, which offers a wide range of support for 4K and HDR content for a great viewing experience. Mi Box will also come with video and music streaming apps that offer special perks, including Sling TV, Pandora, Vudu, and more to be announced.
With personalized recommendations on Google Play, YouTube and other apps appearing automatically on the home screen, users can effortlessly discover new favorite content. Mi Box also has built-in Google Cast technology that lets users easily cast TV shows, movies, music and games from their mobile device to the big screen — thousands of Cast-enabled apps are available for Android and iOS.
Accessories: Bluetooth voice remote and Mi Game Controller
Mi Box comes with a Bluetooth remote control that supports voice search and commands. Users can simply speak into the remote to search for content by description — try “Leonardo Dicaprio’s Oscar movie” to find exactly the right movie, or ask “who played Aragorn in Lord of the Rings” for search results. Users can also change channels, go directly to a TV show or movie, do Web searches, and launch apps by just speaking into the remote. The Bluetooth remote can also be used as a controller for the huge catalog of games that work on Android TV. For those who want a console-style gaming experience, Mi Game Controller, which supports Mi Box and any Android device, will also be available separately.
Hugo Barra, Vice President, Xiaomi Global said: “This is a significant milestone for Xiaomi and I am really excited to be working closely with Google to bring such a great product to our fans in the US. I believe US consumers will truly enjoy the Android TV experience on Mi Box, which brings stunning 4K HDR video and a wide variety of content to your living room.”
Mi Box will launch first in the US, with other global markets to follow. Details about its availability and pricing will be announced soon.