Could Xiaomi’s Mi TV 4 shake up the TV space in India?

The Xiaomi Mi TV 4 just launched in India and it’s done it with incredible panache. 

Xiaomi’s televisions have been well received in China for quite a while now and ever since Xiaomi brought its phones to India, the public has been urging for them to launch their TV as well. Seems that Xiaomi was listening. 

The Mi TV 4 was launched in China early 2017 faired really well in the market. There, it came out in four variants, but in India they’ve only launched the 55-inch version.

The unique selling point (USP) for this particular TV is its paper-thin profile that puts the iPhone X to shame. It even won the Red Dot Award for this particular feature. At 4.99mm, it still manages to provide decent picture quality, though not the best. 

Although at the price of Rs 39,999 for a 55-inch screen, it’s hardly a point of contention. The border-less frame and all glass display, lets the screen make an impact that you won’t soon forget.

Who should be worried?

LG, Sony and Panasonic are the premium sellers of smart televisions. Panasonic’s 55-inch offering is priced at around Rs 75,000, where as Sony and LG have 4K TV’s go for over a lakh rupees. Even Samsung’s 4K Smart TV MU6470 costs around Rs 1.5 lakh.

Brands that were already in the market for the budget consumer, such as TCL, Micromax and Kodak, should also be worried about how Xiaomi’s price undercuts their offerings. 

The content that is on Xiaomi’s custom Android Marshmallow interface called ‘PatchWall’ are limited but it’s not like other brands have much going on either. Sure, all the TVs have YouTube but aside from that the options are narrow. For instance, TCL only has MEMC, GoLive and Smart TV. At least Xiaomi has 12 content partners. 

The premium offerings from Panasonic and Sony have Android TV that lets you access the plethora of applications available on the Google Play Store but then again, is that worth paying twice the price?

The most obvious absentees are Netflix, Prime Video and Hotstar while Hungama, Voot, Viu and Sony Liv are already present. This makes the content quality sub-prime. However, Xiaomi has already announced plans of partnering up with Hotstar and Prime Video to make sure that’s no longer the case.

Despite this, the issue remains that the content itself is not 4K which implies that your viewing experience is partially sabotaged. Even while claiming to have over 5,00,000 hours of content paired with Dolby Atmos surround sound, without YouTube, Prime or Netflix as options, the televisions 4K capabilities remain underutilised. 

Drive televisions into a new age 

The Mi TV 4 supports every prominent set-top box in India such as Tata Sky and Dish TV and even local players like Hathway and Siti Cable. More than the connectivity, what’s unique is how Xiaomi manages to do this. 

The channel gets integrated into the user interface based on your viewing patterns as well as trending patterns, so that they’re a part of your live stream when you’re connected to the internet. 

4K, even HDR, haven’t been fully embraced by the general public. The dearth of content has been a speed bump. But, with a price difference so large, despite lacking in perfection, Xiaomi is essentially bringing it to the masses. 

Will this be enough to shake up the budget television competition? Are we going to see 4K consumers transform from a niche to mainstream? Time will tell.

Prabhjote Gill is the Senior Journalist at Business Insider India. She covering everything space, tech and defence at Business Insider India. She is also in-charge of allocating stories to junior writers.