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September 27, 2018

Xiaomi Mi LED TV 4 Pro preview: Android TV and PatchWall in one package

by John_A

With the Mi LED TV 4 Pro, Xiaomi is offering the best of both worlds.

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Xiaomi introduced its Mi TV 4 series in India earlier this year, offering the 4K-enabled Mi LED TV 4 and the FHD Mi TV 4A variants. The company managed to sell over 500,000 units in just six months, a notable achievement considering the smart TV space in India is still in its infancy.

Xiaomi is now launching updated variants of the Mi TV, dubbed the Mi TV Pro series. The highlight of this particular series is that it offers Android TV, which opens up a whole new set of features. Xiaomi invested a lot of resources into building PatchWall, so it isn’t getting rid of its custom TV skin yet. Instead, the Mi TV 4 Pro includes both Android TV and PatchWall.

Both interfaces are designed to work seamlessly, and the remote has dedicated buttons to switch between the two. There’s now a Mi button that lets you access the PatchWall interface, and the home button takes you to the Android TV home screen.

Oh, and there’s also a voice button that launches Google Assistant. The lack of voice search was one of few features missing from the Mi TV 4, but with the Mi TV 4 Pro featuring Android TV, Xiaomi is leveraging Google Assistant. What’s particularly ingenious is that you can now use Google Assistant to access PatchWall functions as well.

With PatchWall syncing with your DTH box, what this means is that you’ll be able to use Google Assistant to launch a particular program or channel. For instance, if you’re looking to tune in to a football match, all you need to do is hold down the Assistant button on the remote and say, “Play the Arsenal game on Star Select HD1.” The seamless integration between PatchWall and Android TV allows the Assistant to recognize the query and launch the particular program you requested.

You can even ask Assistant to switch to a particular channel and it will do so. And because Xiaomi’s Mi Air Purifier 2S comes with Assistant and Alexa integration, you’ll be able to switch the purifier on or off with the Mi TV 4 Pro’s remote.

Android TV and PatchWall is a potent combination that turbocharges your TV viewing experience.

The Mi TV 4 Pro will be available in three sizes: a 32-inch base model, 49-inch version, and a high-end 55-inch variant. The 55-inch variant has the same svelte design as the regular Mi TV 4, and it comes with 4K and HDR. The 49-inch and 32-inch models max out at FHD.

All three variants will have the same remote with an Assistant button. As for the hardware on offer, the TV is powered by the latest Amlogic chipset, along with 2GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, three HDMI ports, and two USB ports.

Earlier this year, I said that PatchWall fundamentally changes the way Indians consume television. With Android TV and Google Assistant thrown in the mix, Xiaomi is head and shoulders above anyone else in this segment. The ability to seamlessly switch between PatchWall, Android TV, and your DTH box turbocharges the TV viewing experience, and the ability to do so with voice commands on Assistant is just an added bonus.

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That said, the Mi TV 4 Pro is missing out on a few key features. Even though it has Android TV, you won’t be able to install Netflix. That’s a shame, but Xiaomi stated that it is talking to Netflix to bring both streaming service to the Mi TV ecosystem. Prime Video was also a major omission, but Xiaomi has mentioned that the platform will be debuting soon on the Mi TV 4 Pro.

Aggressive pricing is what made the Mi TV series such a hit in India, and the Mi TV 4 Pro isn’t any different. The TV will go on sale from later this year — the 32-inch option will be available for just ₹14,999, the 49-inch variant will retail for ₹29,999, and the 55-inch model will cost ₹49,999.

Sales kick off October 9 for the 32-inch and 49-inch models, and October 10 for the 55-inch variant. Xiaomi will also bring all three variants to its Mi Home stores across the country, and you’ll be able to pick these up from Amazon.

There are very few products in the market today that offer genuinely groundbreaking features, but the Mi TV 4 Pro series manages to do just that. Xiaomi has done a stellar job building out the feature-set of PatchWall over the course of the year, and its integration with Android TV makes it the best smart TV experience in India.

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