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.