Media streamers are ubiquitous these days and thanks to companies like Roku, Apple, and Amazon it’s easy to find a streamer for every budget. However, Xiaomi is hoping to shake things up with its new $69 Mi Box Android TV. Currently available at Walmart, it comes bundled with a generous Sling TV, Vudu, and Pandora credit that practically pays for the device itself. It’s a pretty great deal, and we like Android TV.
If you’re not familiar with Xiaomi, it’s one of the largest smartphone manufacturers in the world and renowned for offering high-end devices at very affordable prices. Back in June of 2015, the Chinese company launched its first U.S.-based online shopping portal and just this past summer, it announced it would soon enter the U.S. smartphone market.
However, before launching its first U.S. smartphone, Xiaomi has decided to release the Mi Box Android TV set-top media streamer. This Android-based box gives popular streamers from the likes of Roku and Amazon a serious run for their money. Like many of today’s high-end streamers, the Mi Box Android TV supports 4K Ultra HD resolution. After a quick software update to Android Nougat, the Mi Box will also support high dynamic range (HDR) imaging at 60 frames per second, as well as Dolby Digital Plus and DTS Surround Sound.
By comparison, Roku’s newest top-of-the-line streamer, the Roku Ultra, sells for a significantly higher $130. Meanwhile, the streamer closest to the Mi Box, the Roku Premiere, sells for $80, but doesn’t offer HDR support.
The Mi Box is powered by Android 6.0 and offers support for voice commands and Google Cast. The latter feature means it’ll cast onto your HDTV whatever video is playing on your Android smartphone or tablet.
Powering Xiaomi’s streamer is a quad-core CPU coupled with 2GB of RAM, 8GB of storage space, and a Mali 450 GPU. There’s support for the usual apps like Netflix and YouTube and you can also download and play games from the Google Play Store. An optional Mi Game Controller lets you turn your Mi Box into a makeshift gaming’console.
Currently, this Mi Box bundle is only available via Walmart and it includes a $5 movie credit from Vudu, a $50 Sling TV credit (it requires that you pre-pay three months of Sling TV), and a three-month Pandora trial.