Xiaomi has announced the arrival of its Mi Box streaming media player for the U.S. market, with 4K Ultra HD video capabilities as well as support for Google Voice Search and Google Cast.
The Mi Box player, which was unveiled Oct. 3, is available immediately on Mi.com or through Walmart stores or Walmart.com starting early this month.
Through its integrated Android TV technology, the Mi Box includes access to thousands of movies and shows from popular streaming apps including Netflix, HBO, Showtime and VUDU, as well as games from Google Play, the company stated in its announcement. U.S. consumers can also gain access to live TV channels including ESPN, CNN and Disney without a cable subscription through Sling TV on the device.
The Mi Box features a quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU and Mali 450 GPU, 2GB of DDR3 memory and 8GB of eMMC flash storage. Additional storage can be added to the Mi Box via a USB connection. The device also includes Dolby Digital Plus and DTS Surround Sound for a cinema-like listening experience.
The Mi Box supports 4K Ultra HD video content playback at 60 frames per second for sharp image quality and smooth video playback, and also supports the latest HDR10 standard, which will be supported by Android Nougat, for improved picture quality when used with compatible TVs, according to Xiaomi. The device also supports Microsoft's hardware-based DRM technology PlayReady 3.0, which protects 4K and HDR content and enables a rich viewing experience for 4K Ultra HD video content.
"We are thrilled to bring Mi Box to our fans in the U.S. in collaboration with Google," Hugo Barra, vice president of Xiaomi Global, said in a statement. "This is a significant milestone for Xiaomi, as it is our first opportunity to demonstrate to consumers here in America the power of what makes Xiaomi extraordinary: our promise of innovation for everyone."
The Mi Box comes with a library of content with thousands of movies, shows and games from Google Play, YouTube and other apps. It also includes a wide range of preinstalled popular streaming apps including Netflix, Pandora, VUDU, Pluto TV and Red Bull TV.
The device includes built-in Google Cast technology that lets users easily share their small screens, casting TV shows, movies, music and games from their mobile device to the big screen with one tap, according to Xiaomi. It also includes a Bluetooth remote control that supports voice search and commands.
The Mi Box, which comes in Black, is 3.97 inches long, 3.97 inches wide, 0.76 inches thick and weighs 6.22 ounces. It runs on Android TV 6.0 and includes WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band WiFi 2.4GHz/5GHz and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. It includes one HDMI 2.0a port, a USB 2.0 port, an SPDIF out port and a 3.5mm audio output.
The streaming media player market continues to get more crowded. In late September, Roku announced five new streaming video players to its product lineup, giving customers a wide array of options beyond the company's original Roku Streaming Stick and its Roku TV models. The latest streaming players, which range from $30 to $130, are aimed at customers who want to stream video without having to have cable or satellite television services. The new devices include the Roku Express and Express+, the Roku Premiere and Roku Premiere+, and the Roku Ultra.
In September 2015, Apple unveiled a new version of its Apple TV, and in May 2015, Lenovo unveiled its first Cast streaming video hub, which was aimed directly at Google's $35 Chromecast dongle, Roku's products, Amazon's $40 Fire TV stick and other competing devices.