Xiaomi updates their Android TV Mi Box with new remote and Google Assistant

In the sadly neglected world of Android TV, the NVIDIA Shield TV remains the only impressive option for a set-top box running Google’s television operating system, but its daunting price is looking more and more antiquated as Amazon and Roku have lowered the 4K HDR media player entry point to below $50. Xiaomi is hoping to appeal to those looking for a more affordable Android TV media player with their slightly refreshed Mi Box S.

The new Mi Box S is nearly identical to the original Mi Box released in 2016. It has all the same specs including the same quad-core CPU, GPU, 2GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, and ports. It still supports 4K and HDR10, but is still lacking support for HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos.

In addition to a new housing for the box, what has changed is the software and the remote. The Mi Box S ships with Android 8.1 which includes the Google Assistant. The new remote now features a Google Assistant button where the old remote had a microphone button that was used for voice searches. Also added to the remote is a dedicated apps button that launches directly into the app grid interface, which is a bit more difficult to get to in newer versions of Android TV than it was in the past. Xiaomi has also added a Netflix button and a “Live” button, but it’s unclear what the latter does.

The Mi Box S will cost $59.99 and is available to pre-order from Walmart. It will be released on October 19th.

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18 comments
  1. hdmkv says:

    Meet the new box, same as the old box ;). I somehow see all the issues plaguing the Mi Box also plaguing the S.

    • TechyChris says:

      To set the record straight, I own a MiBox (old version, fully updated). Maybe I’m just lucky but I have never experienced a single problem, the box has always performed flawlessly. I also own 2 Fire TVs, I am not biased towards either type of hardware. Also I do not stream in 4K but I’m aware that the MiBox does struggle with this.

      • LTM says:

        i must have got a bad box, or at least that’s what it felt like, because the previous mibox that I owned struggled with even local playback using a flash drive or usb hard drive. Anything I played, from SD to 1080p was never smooth. My WDTV live from 2010 was superior in every way in the picture quality running mp4 mkv or avi content as smooth as butter. Upgrading the O.S on the mibox didn’t change anything and just made it even buggier. I’ve used enough android and android tv boxes to be skeptical when anyone tells me that the playback quality is smooth. Maybe through streaming it’s fine, but direct playback from a local source leaves a lot to be desired. Only reason I tried it in the first place was because the Fire tv didn’t support NTFS unless rooted, but I still think my Fire TV 2 is on a different performance level, probably due to Amazon’s control over the O.S, than the mibox. Since the newer version has the same S905x SOC, I’m not expecting much of an improvement with the new model.

  2. clocks says:

    I feel like they are essentially charging people for the OS upgrade.

    • tim says:

      Kind of an ignorant comment.

      The current Mi Box and the new one are both on Oreo.

      There is no different between Android TV 8.0 and 8.1 unless its an operator box and not a set top box.

      So no you are wrong.

  3. adasdasdasd says:

    I love that they added the live button. It probably opens live channels

  4. Thom says:

    I just want the remote for my shield

  5. James P Updike says:

    8GB of storage is kind of a deal killer

  6. Charlie says:

    Still no Ethernet.

  7. shwru980r says:

    Many folks were reluctant to buy two-year-old hardware.

  8. Carter S. Johnson says:

    $59 for $24.99 worth of OTT hardware. There are better boxes running the same OS than this stripped down Xiaomi clunker.

  9. Dan says:

    Please release Fire TV Cube copy with real Universal Remote function.

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