October 4, 2016
Chinese CE company Xiaomi introduced its first product geared for U.S. customers yesterday — the $69 streaming Mi Box, an Android TV STB that supports 4K video playback, HDR, and includes a Bluetooth voice remote. The company first unveiled the Mi Box at this year’s Google I/O developer conference. Since it’s based on Google’s Android TV, the device provides access to apps for Hulu, HBO Now, Netflix, Sling TV, YouTube and others. It also supports Google Cast for launching playback from mobile apps and makes recommendations based on a user’s YouTube and Google Play preferences.
The company’s website promises “super smooth streaming” with 4K decoding at 60 fps: “A powerful video decoder is like having a high performance processor. Mi Box can handle up to 60 frames per second — that’s double what other set-top boxes can do. It’s an advantage you’ll notice naturally when you watch NBA live or play a racing game.”
“Google hasn’t had much luck with standalone Android TV devices,” notes Variety. “The company’s Nexus Player was discontinued earlier this year, and Razer’s Android TV device failed to take off as well.”
However, the $69 price tag for the Mi Box could help it compete with more expensive offerings from companies such as Amazon, Apple and Roku.