Did Google just kill the Chromecast (or simply Cast) Ultra before the $70 4K streaming dongle could even go official? Well, not directly, but the search giant clearly worked in conjunction with Xiaomi on the latter’s first ever product available stateside through authorized channels.
For the time being, the Xiaomi Mi Box can only be purchased online from Mi.com, though soon enough, Walmart will also stock the Android TV set-top box, both in physical retail locations and for e-store order fulfillment.
Pricing is set at a crazy low $69, or a whopping $130 south of the NVIDIA Shield Android TV’s starting tag. Meanwhile, the fourth-generation Apple TV digital media player costs $150 and up (sans 4K support), and the “full-sized” Amazon Fire TV sells for $100 (with 4K Ultra HD capabilities).
Amazingly, the Xiaomi Mi Box has more going for it than affordability and “super smooth 60fps 4K decoding”, with “select HDR content” for watching videos “in detail like never before”, built-in Google Cast functionality, and yes, voice controls also in tow.
The Bluetooth voice remote doesn’t cost extra either, and of course, in addition to seamlessly, wirelessly playing stuff from iPhones, iPads, Android devices or laptops to HDMI-connected TVs, the 176-gram Mi Box can access a wide range of popular services and apps, including Netflix, YouTube, Sling TV, Vudu, Hulu, Vevo and Pandora.