New Partnership Means Xiaomi Box No Longer Banned, Sales in 3 Cities Starting Soon

Xiaomi Box and CNTV partnership

Xiaomi’s Lei Jun (left) secures a deal that’ll put his much-delayed set-top box on sale.

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.

Xiaomi Box on sale soon

The Xiaomi Box. Click to enlarge.

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.

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