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Xiaomi 4K HDR 'Mi Box' (Android TV set-top box)
#1
wrxtasy MOD EDIT:

Mi Box (2016 Model) - with Android TV Oreo 8.0 / (2018 Model S) 8.1 :

Updated 22nd June 2019 - Mi Box - Firmware....that now includes Kodi auto Frame Rate Matching.

Xiaomi are slowly fixing bugs...

The Downright Ugly First - Serious Bugs:
  • Fixed:
  • NTFS or exFat formatted - direct connected USB Hard Drives are not readable by Kodi & other Apps.
  • WiFi connectivity problems & dropouts with FW 2303 (the most recent public release) Seems Fixed !
  • USB3 > Gigabit adapter connectivity issues after waking from sleep.
  • Bluetooth remote > Mi Box wake up from deep sleep issues - still an annoying problem.
  • 5.1 DD+ Netflix - bitstreaming audio dropouts, and also in other Apps with DD+ audio, including Kodi.

Not Fixed:
  • A Xiaomi Bug results in Kodi Leia Auto Frame Rate matching - mistakingly switching to 4K resolution every time even if you are watching non-4K content. The end result is inferior 720/1080p > 4K picture upscaling vs what a 4K TV can produce with it's superior upscaling hardware.
    Perfectly fine for 1080p only TV's.
  • Noticeable frequent video stuttering (vs other media players) during 1080p video playback with the Netflix App @ 60Hz. Seems to be a 3:2 pulldown timing issue.
  • Deceptive Dolby Audio advertising by Xiaomi....
  • No 5.1 Netflix audio if you use a Dolby Digital only HDMI connected audio receiver, even tho the Mi Box is Dolby Audio Licensed. 2.0 OK in that scenario.
    Make sure you have a DD+ audio receiver for 5.1 Netflix (or Prime Video) audio.
  • Android OS settings - has No SPDIF audio output option, expect 5.1 audio SPDIF problems. 2.0 OK
  • Deinterlacing for Broadcast TV is not working properly in Live Channels, Kodi PVR's and the HDHomerun App for all versions of Oreo Firmware.

The Good:
  • Xiaomi are still providing Firmware updates, even if they are a bit slow coming - 2.5+ years after 2016 Mi Box release Smile
  • After users requests - they now patiently run a Beta Firmware test program before widespread public FW updates.
  • Long pressing the middle "o" home button in 2016 Mi Box remote shortcuts to installed Apps. Really handy !
  • Kodi Leia, SmartYoutube, Plex & other Apps (not Netflix) now have auto Frame Rate matching working properly for silky smooth video playback. Nod
  • The user interface is reasonably snappy for such a cheap ATV device.
  • Google Voice Assist works.
  • I do like the cleaner looking more modern Oreo user interface. Oreo - Channels is a powerful tool when used with Kodi smart playlists.
  • MrMC is also now installable from the Playstore and runs well, especially FFWD and RWD thru video.
  • 4K high bitrate Bluray Krypton video playback works better when used with a (Ugreen) USB3 > Gigabit LAN adapter
  • 4K HDR > SDR mapping works. Color output results WILL vary depending on different TV'S used.
  • Support for 5.1 AC3, DTS (all Mi Boxes) and HD Audio Passthrough, inc. Atmos (2016 Mi Box only)
  • RGB 8bit video output now supported for those with older problematic Philips/Sony TV's.
  • Amazon appears to have relaxed Prime Video App video streaming device restrictions and the App can be Sideloaded, there may however still be problems...
  • 4K HDR support added for use with Apps like Kodi, Netflix, and Sideloaded Prime Video (click), and the Smart YouTube App (click)

The Bad
  • No LAN port, extra hardware must be purchased.
  • Kodi Auto Resolution switching NOT working properly.
  • Old VC-1 Bluray Rips and mpeg4 will cause playback issues.
  • OTA TV Deinterlacing (using AMLogic Mediacodec) is still half motion and mpeg2 picture quality is blocky if used with Kodi Krypton/Leia PVR's or the TvHeadend Live Channels App. There is also stuttering deinterlaced video playback. This is a long standing AMLogic Android bug.
  • 2018 Mi Box S only - no longer has IEC61937 audio support for Kodi - Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA audio passthrough.

Summary - updated 24th March 2019

Xiaomi have finally realised after a very buggy initial July 2018 - Oreo Firmware update that the Mi Box is getting a LOT of bad press, especially when they were trying to relaunch a virtually hardware identical - the 2018 Mi Box S on to the market.

They now have decent competition as well with a cheap Android TV Oreo - Ematic Jetstream 4K Ultra HD, that also has better connectivity.
And then there is the more powerful, cheaper - Android FireOS based - 2018 Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K to consider.

With decent ongoing Xiaomi Firmware support - the Mi Box is quite stable now for casual use, and for 1080p TV users is great for Kodi Leia now it has working Kodi Auto Frame Rate Matching.
Be aware tho the newer 2018 Mi Box S - now has No Kodi HD audio passthrough.

Kodi Leia is pretty snappy and you get 4K 60fps HDR Youtube with the Smart YouTube App.
For those that are not too demanding, the Mi Box is now a decent device for those that want a cheap entry level, properly certified Android TV Oreo experience.
I still love the really responsive, reliable BT remote.

W.



Mi Box Firmware Archive (click)

Australian - Android TV extracted Apps (click)

Want to improve WiFi reception sensitivity with some minor DIY ? (click)

Xiaomi Mi Box:

Tech Specs (click)

Mini Review - Updated May 2018

The Xiaomi Mi Box is running Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 with AMLogic S905X hardware & Firmware update 1st July 2017

Tested with SPMC 16.7.1 and Kodi Krypton 17.6....

The Good:
  • A Quality, well engineered little device, Xiaomi really should have called it the "Saucer" - its not a box !
  • The Android TV OS launcher and its specifically designed for TV, easy to use Apps, no damn Air Mice needed.
  • The ultra responsive - Bluetooth Voice Remote really is excellent - in fact the best on the market for Android TV.
  • A reasonably snappy device for $69, when navigating around the Android TV user interface and Kodi.
  • Chromecast / Googlecast built.
  • Reliable 5.1 DD+ Audio / 4K Netflix confirmed working when connected to DD+ HDCP2.2 capable AVR / 4K TV.
  • 5.1 / 7.1 AC3 / DD+ / Dolby Atmos/TrueHD, DTS:X/HD-Master Audio passthrough confirmed working with Kodi Krypton
  • 8/10bit 720/1080p Kodi / SPMC playback is fine. You can even Voice search a SPMC media library with the remote. Smile
  • AC WiFi is excellent, with great WiFi receiver sensitivity, no issues streaming 1080p Blurays via a MIMO Apple Extreme (N) router.
  • There is an undocumented IR receiver, hidden on the front lower edge of the Mi Box.
  • Harmony IR remotes programmed as a Xiaomi Mi Box3 mirror exactly the included Bluetooth remote functions.
  • Tested out an old, (relatively power inefficient) 500GB 2.5" Hard Drive and have no issues with it running reliably on the Mi Box from the USB2 port due to the Mi Box's 5.2V / 2.0 Amp power pack.
  • ASIX AX88772 Chipset - USB to Ethernet Adapters such as this cheap (Apple clone) one have been confirmed working on the Mi Box
  • Other ASIX AX compatible adapters listed HERE and HERE. The Ugreen USB3 adapter seems to work properly.

The Bad
  • All Android TV devices will only output Netflix 5.1 DD+ Audio when HDMI connected to a DD+ capable AVR / TV. DD only, HDMI connected Audio equiptment will result in 2.0 PCM only Netflix audio.
  • 99% of Android devices cannot Auto Resolution switch 1080p/4K for optimal quality picture outputs on a 4K TV.
  • No Netflix HDR support
  • Chromecasting is not that reliable on Android TV devices vs proper Google Chromecasting Hardware.
  • NO Kodi dynamic refresh rate switching.
  • You will NOT get ultra smooth Kodi / Plex video playback. 3:2 Pulldown judder is evident for those sensitive to this type of video playback.
    You can still switching TV refresh rates manually in Android settings for 23.976 / 29.97 / 59.94fps video output.
  • Problematic Hardware deinterlacing when using Kodi/SPMC and Live TV. Use TvHeadend Live Channels App but you will still have poor deinterlaced picture quality, especially for 25fps Oz / N.Z. / Euro TV.
  • Workaround - SPMC TvHeadend - Software De-Interlacing tips for SD mpeg2 OTA TV - click HERE
  • This device is locked down tight with Android SELinux, you cannot Root it. So I cannot even test my Bluetooth PS3 controller for compatibility. It will not work via a USB connection either. Other Android controllers reported to work fine. (see Reddit).
  • Unless users have good home - N or AC WiFi - then 4K Netflix video streaming needs Ethernet for reliability. A USB to Ethernet adapter should be used. A reminder Android Settings > Display > Screen Resolution - need to be set to a 4K2K resolution.

The Downright Ugly:
  • Because the Mi Box does not have a LAN/Ethernet port, trying to playback High Bitrate 4K video with HD Audio will be poor and unreliable even when using a USB > 100M Ethernet adapter. Do NOT buy the Mi Box for High Bitrate UHD Bluray 4K Kodi video streaming !
  • Retesting needs to be done with a UGREEN USB 3.0 Combo—USB 3.0 Giga Ethernet + 3 ports USB 3.0 Hub to see if that allows better streaming datarates.

Summary:

With about 4 Firmware updates since October 2016 the Mi Box has turned into a fairly reliable media streamer. You get all the bells and whistles of an officially licensed Google Android TV product in a nice snappy package with a really excellent Bluetooth wireless remote.

Its looks like Xiaomi and AMlogic are actually providing decent Firmware support. The lack of Kodi (auto) dynamic refresh rate switching really is a PITA for those that love ultra smooth video playback. (can still switch manually). Hardware deinterlacing is still broken when using both SPMC and Kodi with TvHeadend.

The Mi Box cannot run LibreELEC Kodi due to a SELinux secured, locked down bootloader.

I would classify the Mi Box a "Kodi lite" media player for mainstream, not too demanding 1080p Kodi users.
For non-tecchy, real easy to use Android TV Apps. It is a nice little budget streamer box. Smile



What do all those Android Video settings mean ?
Click HERE for an explanation.


UGREEN USB 3.0 Combo—USB 3.0 Giga Ethernet + 3 ports USB 3.0 Hub

USA Sales from...

Wally World !

International delivery - USD $57 from lightinthebox.com

For those looking to purchase from outside the USA then this is the International version, same spec as the USA Mi Box (Model MDZ-16-AB) we talk about in this thread:

£63 including DHL express delivery from Xiaomi's Official Online Webstore Store

if you are in the UK, then the Solutions Shop also sells the same Mi Box:

Solutions Shop



May 19th, 2016

Looks like there will be another Android TV box soon to contend with the Shield and Nexus Player.

Xiaomi announced today during Google I/O that they are releasing a new 4k device soon in the US market called the Mi Box.

Specs released as of this post:

60fps 4K video decoding
HDR10** and HDMI 2.0a support **Netflix HDR support needs a Nougat Firmware update
Dolby Digital Plus + DTS surround sound
Bluetooth voice remote
USB port for additional storage
802.11ac Wi-Fi
Optional Mi Game Controller for a console-grade gaming experience.
Google cast support

I will try to update when more becomes available. Hopefully it'll be a good Kodi alternative to the Shield/Nexus Player.
Crossing my fingers for gigabit ethernet/USB 3.0. Just happy to see more Android TV devices being released, tbh.

Here's a few pics:
Image

Here's the optional gaming controller you can purchase separately:
Image

Image
Reply
#2
Was price range mentioned at all?
Only 4GB of eMMC? Interesting...
http://www.mi.com/en/mibox/#param
Reply
#3
No not yet! Will try to update when they announce it.
Reply
#4
Netflix HD or UHD support?
Reply
#5
I'm hoping it compares to the Shield but I doubt it will..
Reply
#6
Will most likely have Amlogic or MediaTek SoC.
Reply
#7
(2016-05-18, 23:28)noggin Wrote: Netflix HD or UHD support?
Not sure. Hopefully it has Netflix HD support since it's not some generic Chinese box running a tablet version of Android, but actually Android TV.

(2016-05-18, 23:33)BORIStheBLADE Wrote: I'm hoping it compares to the Shield but I doubt it will..

I was hoping so as well, but I am starting to doubt it. I think if anything it's looking to be a "beefed up" Nexus Player that supports 4K HDR.
Depending on the price, it might be a good alternative for those who are looking for a Nexus Player to run Kodi on.
Reply
#8
(2016-05-18, 23:22)shabuboy Wrote: Was price range mentioned at all?
Only 4GB of eMMC? Interesting...
http://www.mi.com/en/mibox/#param

I don't believe those are the specs of this new box that is coming to the US markets. I think it's a box of the same name they sell in China.
That shows only 1080p and Android 4.2 whereas this new box will be up to 4K and running Android TV 6.0
Reply
#9
If it doesn't support Netflix 4K, I don't know what else will support HDR10? YouTube? It is highly unlikely that we will see Amazon Video on these devices. Vudu will likely be only Dolby Vision for a while.
Reply
#10
Good to see someone finally announcing a new Android TV set top box product, as it appears that the Shield is the only Android TV based device that you can actually purchase anymore. As far as I can tell, the Nexus Player is no longer for sale anywhere, and doesn't appear to be coming back or being replaced with an updated model either. I would be glad to learn otherwise.
Reply
#11
Someone on another forum, pointed out, there is NO Ethernet port.
Reply
#12
Wouldn't surprise me if Google was banking on this to replace the nexus player to be honest. Also should easily be able to use a usb ethernet device if there is no ethernet port on board.
Reply
#13
(2016-05-18, 23:36)Wheresthebeef Wrote:
(2016-05-18, 23:28)noggin Wrote: Netflix HD or UHD support?
Not sure. Hopefully it has Netflix HD support since it's not some generic Chinese box running a tablet version of Android, but actually Android TV.

(2016-05-18, 23:33)BORIStheBLADE Wrote: I'm hoping it compares to the Shield but I doubt it will..

I was hoping so as well, but I am starting to doubt it. I think if anything it's looking to be a "beefed up" Nexus Player that supports 4K HDR.
Depending on the price, it might be a good alternative for those who are looking for a Nexus Player to run Kodi on.
Yeah honestly The way I look at it is.. If any new box doesn't at the least support HD Netflix and HD audio passthrough what's the point?
Reply
#14
Agree... you may as well get Shield if that's the case, if Netflix is important to you.

Here's what caught my eye...
Quote:H.264 MVC, up to 1080P at 60fps
Supports HDR10/HLG HDR processing (software upgrade required)
Up to 7.1 pass through

MVC! ... and HD audio via SPMC? If so, it would be an alternative to Shield and HiMedia Q10 Pro.

So, HDR requires a f/w update... and what the heck is HLG? Yet another HDR competitor?

Would be nice to know what SoC is powering this thing.
Reply
#15
(2016-05-19, 03:08)hdmkv Wrote: So, HDR requires a f/w update... and what the heck is HLG? Yet another HDR competitor?

Would be nice to know what SoC is powering this thing.
Yep, another HDR format. HLG - Hybrid Log-Gamma developed by BBC and NHK. I will not go into any details because I very well know the @noggin will be doing that Smile

HDR10 & HLG = Amlogic S912 SoC Well... it could be one of these: Amlogic S905X/905D/912. Based on the other specs from Xiaomi's website, it looks like it may be S905X. Xiaomi has used Amlogic SoCs in the past.
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