Xiaomi Box, an Apple TV knockoff, does AirPlay at a very tempting price

By , Nov 16, 2012

Tempting ability to wirelessly beam whatever is displayed on your iPhone or iPad to a big-screen TV set has a major downer: it requires Apple’s $99 set-top box to decipher encrypted AirPlay streams and then feed video to your telly via HDMI. And for many, Apple TV is just not a very useful set-top box so parting with their hard-earned $99 just to get AirPlay is not an option.

But what if you could get AirPlay functionality at a very tempting price plus choice of other popular video formats and apps, none of which Apple’s device supports? That’s what Xiaomi Box does for you. Basically an Android set-top box, it’ll run you somewhere in the $60-ish. The thing’s compatible with DLNA, Miracast and Apple’s AirPlay, letting you wirelessly stream content from Apple’s iPhone and iPad, personal computer and Android phones with MIUI installed…

The tiny device, as highlighted by MIC Gadget, is just 21mm thick and comes enclosed in a nice polycarbonate shell. It’s powered by Android, runs a Cortex-A9 800MHz processor with 1GB of RAM, and features one HDMI port, a 10/100 Ethernet jack and a Micro-USB. It also supports 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and does full HD 1080p video.

Best of all, the Xiaomi Box supports H.264, VC-1, WMV-HD, MPEG 1/2/4 (up to 1080p at 30 fps) and Real7/8/9 (up to 720p at 30 fps). While it lacks an Android app store, the vendor preloaded it with popular apps and games such as Plants vs Zombies and Bejeweled.

It’s interesting that the product features licensed content and supports streaming of videos from China’s popular services like Sohu, PPTV, Tencent, Sina, Funshion, Netease and iFeng. A remote application developed for Android and iOS is in the works for easy navigation form your smartphone.

The proprietary technology making AirPlay, DLNA and Miracast possible is called called Milian and I suspect that Apple’s legal department will have a look into it. Apple’s never licensed the video portion of AirPlay as it did with audio.

Here’s MIC Gadget’s hands-on clip.

As you know, Apple licenses the audio-streaming portion of AirPlay as a third-party software component technology to makers of audio equipment, including the likes of JBL, Bowers & Wilkins, Marantz and Denon.

The box will go on sale in December and will cost 399 yuan, or about $64.

Eagle-eyed readers will remember Xiaomi Technology, the maker of the infamous iPhone knockoff called the Xiaomi Phone. It’s latest handset has better hardware than the iPhone 4S and costs only half as much.

Though only two years old, Xiaomi Technology is already worth more than Research In Motion (granted, an easy one considering RIM’s dire straits situation) and reported a cool $1 billion in first-quarter revenue.

Xiaomi is one of many iPhone contenders in China whose names you’ve never heard before, but these companies are chipping away at Apple’s market share in the massive market of 1.33 billion people.

I’m curious: do you own an Apple TV?

If so, how useful do you think it is as a media center?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Cannan/100000630162509 Steven Cannan

    Wow

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003172597133 Ecc Thanh

    dat model …

    • http://www.facebook.com/xxLIUZHENYUxx Liu Zhenyu

      uhornybro?

    • ReanimationXP

      Agreed. Not even into asians and she is fine.

  • http://twitter.com/Jirakaz Zak Wallace

    Does iPhone 4 work with this? Or do you need at least a 4s?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Cannan/100000630162509 Steven Cannan

      No only a5 chips and above

      • http://twitter.com/parkerreed Parker Reed

        Any iPhone capable of Airplay can stream to it. And either way this can’t do mirroring that the 4s and above provide. Apple encrypts that with Fairplay.

    • http://twitter.com/parkerreed Parker Reed

      Yes it will work just fine. Any device that has Airplay. It won’t do mirroring even on the devices that support it. Fairplay encryption stopping that.

      Edit: Woah woah woah wait. Just noticed the mirroring picture. How the heck are they able to receive Fairplay encrypted stream. I almost call BS. Would like to see a video of that in action.

  • http://www.facebook.com/visham Visham Rasheed

    Apple TV has its problems, which apple is not giving any attention to.

    • http://twitter.com/parkerreed Parker Reed

      Has been fine for me.

    • ReanimationXP

      No MKV or network share support = junk.

  • http://twitter.com/helliwell86 llǝɥɾ

    will xbmc work on this?

    • ke chen

      no it’s android inside, xiaomi’s ceo said after some updates it can install apk.

  • http://twitter.com/MrSergioRamos Sergio Ramos

    Honestly the apple tv looks better than this crap. I have 4 apple tvs and it’s my house surround sound from iTunes (muiltpe speakers option)(each Apple TV is conected to a surround sound in each room) BTW the remote looks cheap on this thing… It’s not just air play that we are talking here, it’s iTunes Match and the music videos and pictures from photo stream or from ur Mac.. Little things like that is why I think the Apple TV is much better than this.. But then again u pay for what u get and if ur cheap like that u get the shyty end.. I’m sure a 1080p tv doesn’t cost 200 like a 720p

  • http://twitter.com/MrSergioRamos Sergio Ramos

    Wifi bars on the tv screen? Can’t u hide that and have a bigger display on the tv? If I need to look at my network on the tv I’ll go to settings if not using Ethernet cable anyways.. Any set up box with Netflix on wifi is def. going to pause on u a couple of times… Rrrrr irritating

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000966493541 Scott Walther

      Mine never does. I use the ATV2 and ATV3 both wired and wifi (not at the same time or same tv) and they do not pause to buffer. It buffers in the beginning and then it is good for the entire movie. Granted I have 10-20 Mbps Internet and use an Apple Airport Extreme router so my combo setup might work better than a $40-$50 router. I will have two iPads and an ATV streaming video from my laptop or Netflix at the same time and have zero buffering issues.

      Now when I used to use a $50 linksys router it would bog down and my devices would have to buffer a lot. That is why I invested in a better router and one Powerline Ethernet adapter for my home entertainment system. We pretty much cut the cable wire about 2 years ago. My wife missed the news on the tv so we got basic cable back but she is the only one the watches it.

      • http://twitter.com/MrSergioRamos Sergio Ramos

        for someone who has 4 apple TV like me i do have my Time Capsule and 3 air port extreme for the bathroom and backyard to extend the coverage and have my wifi hidden.. what ur telling me is a no brainer..

  • ExRoot

    I have a Roku and Apple. I love the Roku. My AppleTV has had many problems. It was fine for awhile but after the last update it is dead. Tells me I must plug into iTunes. When I do it locks. So I go to youtube and see I have to jump through hoops. Walked pass the apple store yesterday and they told me to bring into genius.

    I hate that thing. Get a Roku or if you want AirPlay….get this!

  • CollegiateLad

    No thanks. Love my Apple TV… And it does a lot more than AirPlay.

  • http://twitter.com/xuz0 Bing

    only 299rmb (48 dollars )if you purchased Xiaomi phone before

  • Harshil Shah

    Wait,, what?? At 0:24, the thing streams a movie from a Macbook Pro, while the Pro does other stuff…but last I checked, the Apple TV was capable of only mirroring the display!!!! This (for people who don’t/ can’t stream, is even better than the actual Apple TV, if it can do that!!!!

    • Ernesto Urquidi

      You can actually do that with the apple tv and also can air mirror with older macs, but you will need Airparrot. Who knows, maybe they were using it.

    • http://twitter.com/parkerreed Parker Reed

      iTunes has the option to stream a video to an Airplay source just like the iPhone does. Just click the little icon and select the name of the Apple TV.

  • Sinicure

    The biggest issue with apple tv for me is the lack of MKV support. Need a jailbreak for ATV3
    I like the Asian version of Jennifer Love Hewitt.

    • ReanimationXP

      Amen brother.

  • disqus_7otzGILKYL

    can you airplay att live tv to tv? Because that app does not support airplay?

  • http://twitter.com/darmartic Darko Martić

    XBMC have video enabled AirPlay feature… Upcoming ver12 features some enhancements…

  • genXhippie

    I must be able to install XBMC on it, as I have on the ATV2 to consider purchasing it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.liu.7503 Jonathan Liu

    Scroll up for hot chick.

  • http://twitter.com/purpledodi Jens Tinnerholm

    Atv3 Isnt suitable as a full media center. Needs jailbreak and xbmc imo

  • Falk M.

    After shipping and customs and a sale offer of the AppleTV (which is often the case… I’ve seen the AppleTV for 70€ down from the 109€ MSRP) this thing looks rather expensive to be honest.

    Of course, if you want the features this device has over the Apple TV it’s still quite a good deal actually.

  • Harshil Shah

    Does the Apple TV also letterbox stuff when you stream from an iPad?

  • http://twitter.com/Joechef_Reid joe reid

    I’ll take the Raspberry Pi @ $35 that can not only run multiple Linux OS’s off of 1 SD card, but can run XBMC as a front-end OS, boots up in half the time of any Apple TV, network shares, and better file formats

  • http://www.facebook.com/ahmed.hosen.7 Ahmed Hussein

    wooooow good