On Friday evening we suggested that the Apple TV-esque Xiaomi Box had risen from the dead after being given regulatory approval. And that’s exactly what was announced officially today, with the founder and CEO of the Chinese gadget-maker, Lei Jun (pictured above left), unveiling a three-year partnership with state broadcaster CNTV.
The announcement from Xiaomi adds that the set-top box will soon go on sale only in three trial cities: in Shanghai, nearby Hangzhou, and in central China’s Changsha. No date has been set for that yet, and the Xiaomi Box homepage – which has been unchanged since the gadget’s unveiling last November – still isn’t taking orders.
The Xiaomi Box aggregates streaming video content from partners such as Tencent Video, Sohu TV, and PPS. Although it’s not a standalone video service, China’s media regulator SARFT put the brakes on the launch of the Xiaomi Box a few days after it was unveiled, indicating that Xiaomi’s service didn’t have the requisite media license. That’s now solved with the CNTV tie-up. As an added bonus (though who knows how much all this cost Xiaomi), the set-top box will be permitted to stream some of the state broadcaster’s best content, such as the 2014 World Cup.
After the success of Xiaomi’s Android-based smartphones – selling over seven million of them in 2012 – this is the young company’s first other product.