Last month, rumors began to float that Xiaomi’s long-awaited Mi Box — a set-top box powered by Android TV — would arrive in October, and would sell for less than $100. Both of these rumors turned out to be true, as the streaming box is available now, and sells for under $70.
“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,” Xiaomi vice president Hugo Barra said in a statement. “We believe everyone is entitled to benefit from technological breakthroughs, and Mi Box is a reflection of that belief: an incredible entertainment experience at an unprecedented price of $69, less than the cost of a single night out for two.”
Compared to the recently released Roku Ultra, the Mi Box’s specs are fairly impressive. It supports 4K and HDR (available after the box is updated to Android N) at 60 frames per second, as well as Dolby Digital Plus and DTS Surround Sound. Both the Mi Box and Roku Ultra only support HDR10, with no word of support for Dolby Vision coming via a future update. Roku’s premium box sells for $130, while its offering that is closest in price to the Mi Box, the $80 Roku Premiere, doesn’t feature HDR support.
The Mi Box is powered by Android 6.0, and features both voice search and built-in Google Cast support. In addition to the usual apps like Netflix, YouTube, and others, thousands of apps and games are available via the Google Play Store. The Mi Box also recommends videos based on your YouTube and Google Play preferences.
To sweeten the deal for potential buyers, the Mi Box comes with a few extras. Owners will get a $50 credit toward a Sling TV subscription, a three-month free trial for Pandora, and a $5 credit for Vudu.
The Xiaomi Mi Box is available now via Xiaomi’s Mi.com website, and will be available at Walmart retail locations and through the Walmart website early this month.
Update on 10-05-2016 by Kris Wouk: Edited to clarify that HDR will only be available once the Mi Box is updated to Android N