These devices help you convert regular TV into a internet-enabled smart TV.
Xiaomi has introduced its first smart TV plugin device in India called Mi Box which is priced at Rs 3,499 and will be available in the coming days. This device competes in a market where you have the likes of Amazon, Airtel and ACT among others. Here's a closer at the competition devices for Mi Box and which one offers better value for the buyer.
Amazon Fire TV Stick
Amazon's Fire Stick supports content resolution up to 4K, and processor speed differs slightly, to support higher video quality. You get 8GB storage to download apps and the bundled remote offers voice control support. While the first version of Fire TV stick supports Bluetooth, 4.1, the 4K variant gets Bluetooth 5.0.
The audio quality also gets better with the 4K version, which gets Dolby Atmos. But more importantly, both the devices run on software that allows you to download popular apps like Netflix, Hotstar and Prime Video among others. You can buy the Fire Stick for Rs 3,999 while the 4K version costs Rs 5,999.
Airtel Xstream Stick
The Xstream Stick connects to your TV via an HDMI port and supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in terms of connectivity. However, Airtel uses Android TV as its default software allowing you to downloads apps from Google Play Store. The device is also bundled with a dedicated remote which supports Google Assistant for voice control.
It runs on Android 8 and is powered by a 1.6 GHz processor with built-in Chromecast and access to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and other Google Play store applications. The device is bundled with a stick remote which comes with Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity and a voice-enabled search feature. The Airtel Xstream Stick is priced at Rs 3,999.
Airtel Xstream Box
The Xstream Box comes running the more recent Android 9 Pie OS and combines both satellite TV and OTT content together through a single device. It features WiFi and Bluetooth for connectivity and offers a built-in Chromecast option. There’s a universal remote that features Google Assistant based voice search and dedicated keys for launching Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube. The Box is available at Rs 3,999 for new Airtel subscribers, while existing ones can upgrade for Rs 2,249.
ACT Stream TV 4K
This device is similar to Amazon’s Fire Stick, which gets plugged to the television via HDMI. ACT Fibernet has priced the Stream TV 4K at Rs 4,499 and you get apps like Netflix, Hotstar, Sony Liv, Hooq, Zee5 and YouTube among others. You can use this box as a DTH unit to stream TV channels as well. The Stream TV 4K is also available with rental model. Users need to pay Rs 1,000 as a one-time refundable security deposit. Furthermore, one can choose two rental programmes including monthly rental of Rs 200 + taxes and 6-month rental fee of Rs 1000 + taxes.
JioFiber Hybrid Box
Reliance launched its hybrid smart box which runs on Android 9 version. This device is only available to those with JioFiber connection and it currently lists streaming apps like SunNXT, Disney+ Hotstar, Zee5, SonyLiv, Voot and Amazon Prime Video in its catalogue. But unlike the other boxes, Jio's box is available at Rs 2,500 (includes Rs 1,500 as refundable deposit and Rs 1,000 as installation charges).
Dish SMRT Stick
The Dish SMRT Stick is essentially a USB Wi-Fi dongle which offers users access to OTT apps and a library of online videos, Catch-Up TV shows and Web-series. The Dish SMRT Stick will be priced at Rs 599 with a free preview of 6 months. To access content through WiFi on your TV, users will have to connect their Dish NXT HD set-top boxes to a WiFi network. This is done by plugging in the Dish SMRT Stick which can be connected into a USB port of set-top box, allowing internet access to your old set-top box.
Dish SMRT Hub
DishTV also offers a hybrid set-top box that brings the goodness of Android and satellite TV and it comes with a price tag of Rs 3999 for new customers and Rs 2499 for existing customers. Dish SMRT Hub is an Android HD set-top box which runs on Android TV operating system by Google. The devices are using Android TV 9.0 and have been designed to deliver best in class picture quality and sound to the viewers. It offers access to the Google Play Store and Google Assistant allowing the users to download and stream content from all popular OTT platforms. The new offerings from Dish TV India will support all popular OTT platforms like Watcho, Amazon Prime Video, Zee5, Voot, ALTBalaji and YouTube etc. The Android HD set-top box comes with built-in Google Assistant & Chromecast and Dolby audio.
Tata Sky Binge+
Tata Sky Binge+ is another hybrid STB that gives you the best of both worlds. The streaming box comes with a price tag of Rs 5,999 for new customers and Rs 4,999 for existing customers. Tata Sky Binge+ set-top box is powered by Android TV and works with Google Assistant voice search. It enables subscribers to watch both live TV and OTT content on one device. The OTT content can be viewed by connecting the box to the Internet. The set-top box features a 2GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. It runs the latest Android TV 9.0 Pie platform. Users can download more than 5000 apps and games from the Google Play Store.
Detailed Features Comparison
As you can see here, Xiaomi's streaming box is a late entrant into the market but for its price and available feature set, the company is going head-to-head with popular brands like Amazon and Airtel. Amazon is offering two options, depending on your budget and its app store catalogue makes it highly appealing to the buyer. While Airtel, ACT and JioFiber's device require you to have specific connections to avail their streaming devices and the bundled services. But compared to Amazon and ACT, Xiaomi's Box requires you to the plugin in HDMI cable from both sides to connect with the TV. This has been probably done to keep the price down. So, if you're in the market for a streaming device for your regular TV then Xiaomi's Mi Box is a decent bet for its price.