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Xiaomi’s new 4K Mi Box Android TV platform is officially on sale in the US

by on October 4, 2016
 

Stephan Jukic – October 4, 2016

After an accidental premature release in some Walmart locations nearly two weeks ago for a retail price of $69, the new Xiaomi 4K Mi Box Android TV smart streaming platform is finally officially on sale in the U.S.

Buyers who want to grab one of these fairly comprehensive new 4K content set-top boxes can do so now right from Xiaomi’s own official Mi Box sales page or wait a little bit more until the set-top box goes on sale at (predictably) Walmart locations across the country for the same price but minus the fairly low shipping fees.

Some users did however get lucky enough to notice the 4K Mi Box during its apparently accidental premature sales period in Walmart locations and have already gotten their hands on one of these little content platforms well before the rest of the consumer crowd. In any case, the Xiaomi Mi Box actually has a fair bit to offer if you’re interested in one more 4K content solution for your ultra HD home entertainment system.

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The new Mi Box is obviously enough capable of streaming 4K ultra HD content from assorted internet streaming apps and along with this basic functionality, the new set-top device also offers support for high dynamic range and Google Cast (much like many Xiaomi 4K TVs do already as well). Due to the Mi Boxes Android TV smart platform, the box is particularly friendly with the Google Play store and comes with other Google features like Google Voice Search and 4K content compression capacity for the VP9 codec used by YouTube’s 4K video submissions. Other specs include support for 4K video at 60 frames per second, HDMI 2.0a and USB connectivity and support for Microsoft PlayReady 3.0 DRM hardware technology for wider access to copy protected ultra HD content sources.

Xiaomi has also given the Mi Box audio support in the form of Dolby Digital Plus and DTS Surround Sound and has allowed for USB connectivity, which lets users store media on external drives connected to the set-top box.

The specific high dynamic range standard supported by the Mi Box is HDR10 and this means compatibility with a majority of current ultra HD HDR content from assorted apps like Amazon Prime and Netflix. On the other hand, we don’t yet know if the 4K Mi Box will also support the Dolby Vision HDR standard but the possibility is strong and would likely require little more than a later firmware update to the new set-top streamer.

The Mi Box also supports numerous other content channels and media sources with apps for HBO, Showtime, Vudu, Hulu Plus and others like Pandora and Sling also found on its smart interface. Basically, with its Android TV smart interface, the new Mi Box supports maybe thousands of movies, shows, documentaries and other programming even if much of it isn’t available in native 4K resolution. This however shouldn’t be a problem with ultra HD TV owners since all 4K televisions do a fairly good job of upscaling these lower resolutions on their native UHD displays.

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The Mi Box also offers up a broad selection of non-video content like music and so forth and Xiaomi has sweetened the pot for new buyers a bit more by presenting the following deals from some of the content partners of the Mi Box:

“Sling TV: sign up to watch your favorite live channels and get $50 credit towards your subscription

Pandora: listen to your favorite music with a 3-month free trial

VUDU: rent, buy or watch your favorite movie or TV show on demand with $5 credit”

With the release of this new Mi Box, it’s interesting to note just how much competition on the 4K set-top device market is again moving forward in late 2016, just like it did in mid to late 2015. At the same time as the 4K Mi Box was unveiled, Google also let the curtain drop on its new Chromecast Ultra 4K and HDR-capable streaming media thumb drive and streaming set-top leader Roku has also released four new set-top boxes for the 2016 market, three of which are capable of both 4K and high dynamic range.

Story by 4k.com

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