Chinese electronics maker Xiaomi is introducing a low-cost Android TV-powered streaming dongle at a pretty good time.
The $50 Xiaomi Mi TV is arriving in the marketplace before Google executes its widely reported plan to debut its own HDMI plug-in based on its Android TV video operating system.
Meanwhile, Xiaomi is introducing its cost-conscious gadget as the two latest streaming wars service launches, HBO Max and Peacock, are shut out of the two most popular OS platforms, Roku and Amazon Fire TV.
In short, Xiaomi Mi TV is addressing the here-and-now demand for a low-cost device that supports the HBO Max and Peacock apps.
Plugging into the HDMI port of any standard-issue living room display (TV or projector), the Mi TV delivers 1080p resolution (no 4K). It’s guts include a quad-core Cortex A53 processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. It supports both Dolby and DTS audio compression technologies.
Perhaps most notable to Peacock and HBO Max users, apps for both streaming services can be found in the Google Play Store, which is a central component of Android TV.
Currently, Android TV-powered dongles, set-top boxes and smart TVs enable less than 10% of connected TV usage in the U.S. Roku backs about 45% of usage, while Amazon Fire TV supplies around 20%, according to figures from research company Conviva.
But with Roku and Amazon entering tricky territory with their programming partners—for example, the legacy HBO Now app might not even be supported by Amazon after July 31 when the current distribution deal expires—Android TV has an opening.
Notably, there are other low-cost Android TV device options out there, but not as low as the Xiaomi Mi TV. TiVo’s new TiVo Stream 4K, for instance, is also currently priced at $50, but that’s only an introductory promotion. The price shoots up to $70 starting on August 1.
The Nvidia Shield has been one of the more popular Android TV streaming devices to date. But the base prices is around $150. Dish Network’s AirTV Mini, meanwhile, is priced at $75.
Xiaomi also markets the $599 Mi Smart Compact projector, which also has native Android TV integration.
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