14th Jul 2015
Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is on a roll. After the success of its smartphones, the company is now looking to move into other areas of the consumer electronics market and its eyes are on the Smart TV and easy to use set-top boxes.
In an interview with the Times of India, Xiaomi’s India head, Manu Jain confirmed that the company is looking to launch its Mi Box and Mi TV products in India this year. While we have no clue about when the launch will happen, Xiaomi will be banking on an easy to set-up, set-top box (STB), which integrates and turns your standard TV into a smart TV.
Indians are buying content online. This is why Apple with its Apple TV seems like the ultimate option to those looking for a hassle-free set-top box experience, with the willingness to pay. While it may not really allow you to stream premium content that is available from services like Hulu and Netflix in the Americas, Apple does have a cartload of content (international and local) that you directly purchase or rent (legally) from its iTunes store.
Xiaomi's Mi TV along with its Mi Box
More over Apple TV fits even better into your lifestyle if you happen to own more devices like its Macs, iPad or an iPhone. Mirroring and gaming on the iPhone becomes fun and the set-box suddenly becomes an everyday thing.
Google’s Chromecast will also allow you to mirror games and video content from your Android smartphone or tablet and even from your iPhone. Google’s Play Movies will let you buy or rent your favourite flicks, but then again the buck stops at local programming.
American TV shows and local-programming is where you have to switch over to your local cable operator and the provided STB. While you can catch up with your American TV shows with with apps like Popcorn Time, it is not quite the legal way to watch them.
This is something that Xiaomi is working hopefully working on. TV shows in India are usually locked to the cable providers, channel portals and is somewhat of a sore spot. Star TV’s HotStar mobile app so far is not compatible with Chromecast for a number of (legal) reasons.
More importantly, there is news about Netflix reaching Indian shores soon, so if that begins, a lot of problems for new-age set-top boxes will get resolved. Then there is this whole other topic about internet bandwidth.
No matter whether it is Apple TV, Chromecast, Tweewe or anything you can find under the sun, its local and international programming that is never available for purchase or consumption.
If there is one thing that needs to be on a new-age set-top box in India, it is quality programming. If Xiaomi cracks this and find the right providers, its low-priced Mi Box may end up landing in every Indian neighbourhood, obliterating everything in its path.
Can Xiaomi’s Mi Box Compete With Operator STBs In India?
Content is what it needs to work on, pricing comes naturally.
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