The television continues to be the centerpiece of any living room and everyone wants a piece of this family space. For a brand like Xiaomi, which has become the undisputed king in the smartphone market in India, the launch of its 55-inch Mi LED TV 4 should be seen as its efforts to focus on the living room. At Rs 39,999, the internet-enabled Mi TV 4 offers 4K and HDR at an affordable price, though you will need to find the space to fit such a large screen in your home. Xiaomi Mi LED TV 4 will go on sale starting February 22 on Flipkart, Mi.com and Mi Home stores.
Xiaomi Mi LED TV 4 first impressions: Out of the box
Seeing the Mi LED TV 4 for the first time and I was taken aback by the thickness of the TV. When the installation guy was pulling the TV out of the box, I couldn’t believe the device was actually this thin, like a sheet of glass. It took the company’s engineers less than half n hour for setting it up. Since the TV is massive in size, I preferred to mount it on the wall, it is safer that way.
Xiaomi Mi LED TV 4 first impressions: Design and ports
The Mi LED TV 4 is indeed a very different looking TV and the chassis does distinguish itself from other sets in the market. It is just 4.9-mm thick, which is quite an achievement at this price point. This has been made possible, because the panel has been applied directly to the glass back to create a thin profile. The bottom half houses the internals, power supply, speakers, and connectivity ports. You will find three HDMI ports (one with Audio Return Channel or ARC for connecting a soundbar), two USB ports (one USB 2.0, One USB 3.0) and connections for a coaxial cable (for an antenna or set-top box), as well as an Ethernet jack and Wi-Fi support.
It’s nearly all-glass on the front, with a tiny Mi logo. The supplied remote basically looks strikingly similar to what you get with the Amazon Fire TV Stick. It’s pretty simple, offering a D-pad for navigation, up and down volume controls, and a handful of playback controls. Voice navigation is missing for now, but the company says the option will arrive in the near future.
Xiaomi Mi LED TV 4: Picture quality and audio
There is no question that we buy a TV for its picture quality. Not only does Xiaomi Mi LED TV 4 cover the generous screen size, it also delivers on picture quality and features. The LED panel offers wide colour gamut, intense colours – particularly reds, greens and yellows, and improved contrast ratio. The Mi LED TV 4 is built for the next-generation, and we ain’t joking. Both 4K UHD and HDR are supported out-of-the-box. There isn’t any local content available in 4K UHD format, but if you love watching international shows, there is always Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. And if you’re a gamer, then you need either PlayStation 4 Pro or Xbox One X to play 4K UHD content. Don’t worry though, Full HD (1080p) content also looks amazing on the Mi TV 4. Speaking of audio quality, it is loud enough to fill the average living room. The Mi LED TV 4 supports Dolby audio and DTS-HD for improved audio quality.
Xiaomi Mi LED TV 4: UI and features
The ‘smart’ word has often been used to describe smartphones, but Xiaomi is going one step ahead. The Mi LED TV 4 is based on an Android Open Source (AOC) platform. The AOC is something different from Google’s Android TV and is similar to the company’s MIUI with its own framework. The PatchWall as Xiaomi calls it has been tailored for India. To put it simply, PatchWall is a marketing term to describe its MIUI for TVs.
The user interface has been designed for large-screen TVs, making it easy to find shows or relevant content. Menu and icons are large and navigating is simple using the remote control. And there’s universal search too. To see how good universal search works, I typed a query about Shahrukh Khan and within seconds it quickly showed me a brief profile of the actor, along with his popular chartbuster songs. Content syndication plays a big role here – and the company believes it is deeply rooted in the TV experience. The list includes the likes of Alt Balaji, Hotstar, Voot, Hungama Play, and SunNxt, among others. A total of ten partners are on board at this point, and the list will keep increasing.
However, both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are missing from the catalogue. This is to be expected, though. Xiaomi has just released the Mi LED TV 4 in India, so it takes some time for big content players to jump into a new type of product. If you’ve subscribed to Netflix or Amazon Prime, the Amazon Fire TV Stick still makes more sense. Also, let me tell you that there is no provision to download apps at all. To counter the argument, Xiaomi says the company is looking to add as many as content partners to improve the TV experience, rather than having a dedicated App Store which makes a complete sense. After all, who needs a web browser on the TV. Most people are looking at local content, what they want to see in their own language, and that’s exactly Xiaomi is trying to deliver.
The smart integration continues with a feature called “On Air” on the homepage, which works when the TV is connected to the set-up-box using the Mi USB-IR Blaster. The feature essentially fetches content from the set-up-box and displays on the TV. Xiaomi also promises to update the software on the TV, like the smartphone. Every month or two, the software update will be seeded to the Mi LED TV 4. Xiaomi claims other TV manufacturers are not providing regular software updates for a television set, something that may give the company an upper hand to position the product.
Xiaomi Mi LED TV 4: Performance and Specs
The Mi LED TV is powered a 1.8GHz quad-core Cortex A53 processor coupled with 2GB RAM and 8GB storage. It’s pretty fast and I’ve not faced any stutters or delays opening any content so far.
Xiaomi Mi LED TV 4: Early outlook
From smartphones to Air Purifiers, Xiaomi is adamant to expand its product portfolio in India – it’s fastest growing market internationally. And with the Mi LED TV 4, Xiaomi has officially entered the consumer electronics space in India. However, the TV business model operates differently from selling smartphones. There’s cutthroat competition in this space, with rivals like Samsung, LG, and Sony dominating the market. Plus, the margins are razor thin.
The ‘Apple of China’ seems to have a solution to the problem. It will be selling the internet-enabled TV at a price of Rs 39,999 and has partnered with a lot of content aggregators, from the likes of Alt Balaji, SonyLiv, Hotstar, Voot, among others, to sweeten the deal. It plans to sell the Mi LED TV 4 online, the same approach it adopted to sell the smartphones when it entered India in 2014.
The plus point for Xiaomi will be the price as well as the combination of local content. Also, this is arguably the most affordable 4K TV out there.