Along with the 60-inch 4K Mi TV 3 and a phone-controlled self-balancing scooter that will blow Segway out of the water, Xiaomi has launched today a device that can turn any display into a smart TV.
The Mi TV 3 does 4K at $780, which considering the diagonal is a helluva price, and ticks a lot of important boxes. What the main board does on top of that is enable Mi TV 3 users to upgrade their telly at a later point in time, or really turn any television set (yes, even the dumb variety) into a smart TV. There is some proprietary tech involved, so I think it’s safe to say that Xiaomi has revolutionized the smart TV industry today.
Between notebook manufacturers creating enclosures for desktop graphics cards, wearable tech companies making modular smartwatches, and Xiaomi making the Mi TV bar that turns dumb displays into smart TVs, I can really see a trend forming. Whereas, in the past, most tech companies couldn’t care less if their products didn’t last you a lifetime, now they want you to get attached to what they’re making. Sure, given the cost of a 4K TV, you might not be able to get a new one every year, but what if you could change regularly the thing that made it smart? The Mi TV Bar was developed precisely around that concept.
Priced at 999 RMB (approximately $157), the Mi TV Bar is quite something, as it brings together three different functions into a single device. First of all, it acts as a soundbar, with dome tweeters and mid-range subwoofers. Secondly, it is a fully functional interface with plenty of ports for various connectivity options. Not at last, the Mi TV Bar acts as a Mi TV Box, meaning that you’ll get the entire smart TV experience.
In terms of connectivity, the Mi TV Bar packs 3 HDMI ports, one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 port, a VGA for computer input, a Mi Port, Ethernet, AV input, RF modulator, and audio output to subwoofer. Besides LAN connections, the bar also does Wi-Fi ac and Bluetooth LE 4.1.
Needless to say, plugging all the cables into the Mi TV Bar rather than straight into the telly itself will make everything look more organized.
Have a look at how messy a regular smart TV can be, in comparison to Xiaomi’s ecosystem.
In addition to the bar, users can buy a Mi Subwoofer with a 6.5-inch driver that costs 599 RMB, or $94. Featuring a full aluminum body, along with wired and wireless connections, the subwoofer is the perfect companion for TV watchers who want to feel the bass.
Another accessory for the bar is a Bluetooth voice remote control that looks a tad bit like the one made by Amazon for the Fire TV. At this point you can’t blame Xiaomi for plagiarizing, as most remotes for smart TVs will end up looking this way sooner or later. I only wish Xiaomi also made a wireless keyboard for their TV, as typing using a remote is a nightmare.
It remains to be seen what prices these three items will have once resellers pick them up. People actually expected Xiaomi to launch Mi 5, the second-gen Mi Band, or even a dSLR camera today, but the Chinese mamooth didn’t disappoint with these products, either.
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