Xiaomi’s 4K Mi Box, with Android TV, Google Cast and HDR coming to the US market

by on May 18, 2016

Stephan Jukic – May 18, 2016

In the growing market for 4K ultra HD set-top box technology, the number of specific device offerings is growing almost monthly it seems, and what’s even more interesting to see are the different streaming content platforms being attached to these new set-top boxes.

The latest example of these two trends converging is the new 4K Mi Box from Xiaomi and its partnership with none other than Google and its Android TV streaming media and gaming platform.

Recently, Google Announced that it is partnering up with a number of new hardware makers for the delivery of Android TV and Google Cast to users homes so they can watch web content on their TVs. For users of 4K UHD TVs and HD TVs, the content options in these two Google solutions is also quite robust. Naturally enough, 4K set-top boxes figure importantly in this equation.

This is where the Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi’s 4K Mi Box comes into the picture. It will be one of these Google partners and its newest set-top box not only offers 4K content support but will also run on the Android TV platform when it ships to US customers soon. Earlier versions of the box offered nothing more than Full HD support and were only available to customers overseas (mainly on the Asian market) but the new 4K Mi goes beyond both of these limitations in a very smooth, cool way from what we’re hearing.

The 4K Mi operates through a Bluetooth remote control that comes with voice recognition and comes with Google Cast as a built-in feature, allowing for content downloads from both Android and even iOS devices. Naturally enough, with Android TV and its own built-in 4K content support, the 4K Mi Box will also offer access to a whole host of ultra HD content apps that include all those found in many other Android TV-powered 4K TVs or other devices.

This new development will also make the 4K Mi-TV into what is to date only the second set-top box with Android TV as its smart platform along with 4K content compatibility. The competition is thus only the NVIDIA Shield 4K gaming platform/set-top box. 4K TVs from brands like Sony also offer Android TV and 4K content streams but no other set-top boxes do.

The new Mi Box will also come with support for the same streamed games found in the NVIDIA Shield and its remote control doubles as a game console, much like Amazon’s Fire TV box gamer’s combo or the NVIDIA Shield itself with its own gaming control device.

Furthermore, the new 4K Mi Box comes with 2GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage that can be expanded through a USB port and will almost certainly include support for HDR 4K content as well as all the latest connectivity features now common to 4K set-top boxes. These include HDMI 2.0a, HDCP 2.2 support, HEVC and VP9 (Google’s alternative to HEVC) decoding (especially since this is a set-top device with Google’s own 4K and other content streaming platform) and some other features which we have yet to know.

the 4K Mi box and its two controllers, for content and gaming

the 4K Mi box and its two controllers, for content and gaming

Moving back to Google, Its Android TV platform has already gained some serious traction in the 4K market thanks mainly to integration with Sony’s popular 4K TVs since late 2014. This new inclusion in more than one 4K set-top box will only further entrench this excellent smart content platform as a competitor to other smart TV OS systems in home entertainment devices.

Google Cast on the other hand is the second major advance in Google’s streaming video endeavors, and it offers an affordable, mobile-driven option for casting content from a mobile device to an HD or 4K TV screen. However, unlike Google’s other streaming system Chromecast, Google Cast doesn’t require a plug-in dongle and can be used directly between a compatible TV or set-top remote and the 4K TV or box in question if both are compatible with this Google streaming technology. One notable user of Google Cast as the backbone of smart TV functionality in its 2016 4K TVs is Vizio, which has developed this feature into all of its major 2016 ultra HD Television releases like the excellent P-Series, through their mobile remote control/smart TV platform SmartCast.

These Google staples are what you can look forward to in the Xiaomi 4K Mi Box when it arrives.

For now, Xiaomi is hesitating to reveal deeper details about the 4K Mi Box and we don’t yet have a release date or expected price for the U.S market.

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