Celebrated Chinese low-cost smartphone maker, Xiaomi, has unveiled a set-top box, called "Xiaomi Hezi" or "Xiaomi Box", which retails at 399 yuan (US$64).
A Sina Tech report Wednesday said the new device will officially go on sale in December but Xiaomi is offering 600 test units for sale starting Friday. Xiaomi handset owners who purchased their smartphones through the official Web site can buy the set-top box at a discounted price of 299 yuan (US$48), the company said during the launch at its Beijing headquarters. Consumers can also pre-order a unit.
According to the official Xiaomi Box Web site, the set-top box features "Milian"--a technology which allows users to wirelessly stream videos, images, and music content to the television. It supports wireless streaming from Android phones running on the MIUI operating system, Apple iPhone and iPad, and personal computers.
The device also allows online video streaming from Xiaomi's content partners which offer a collection of more than 100,000 licensed movies, dramas, entertainment, animation, and documentaries. The content is refreshed daily, the company added.
Besides video content, Xiaomi Box comes preloaded with games and apps such Douban Music, Plants vs Zombies, Bejeweled, and so on, according to its offical Web site. An open API will also be made available for developers to create applications for the set-top box.
The Sina Tech report added Xiaomi Box had some local advantages over competing product, the Apple TV, which retails at US$99. The Xiaomi Box offers support for more third-party systems, localized features, and lower price compared to the Apple TV, it said.
Xiaomi, which has released two low-cost smartphones in China, has a cult following and fans of the brand are referred to as "Mi-Fans". The company is reportedly planning to expand its smartphone market to other parts of Asia.