Having disrupted the Indian smartphone market with the Redmi series, Xiaomi has its eyes set on the TV industry now. The Chinese hardware startup launched its flagship Mi TV 4 in India last month and added two new TVs from its Mi TV 4A range to its India portfolio yesterday. While the TVs offer great specifications, they stand apart in one area: price.
The Xiaomi Mi TV 4A with a 32-inch HD screen is priced at Rs 13,999 while the 43-inch model is priced at Rs 22,999. The Mi TV 4, on the other hand, is priced at Rs 39,999, making it a premium offering with a 55-inch 4K panel. The Mi TVs are an attractive proposition whether you are upgrading from an old CRT model or switching from an LCD or LED TV.
The launch of these new televisions should force Samsung, Sony, LG and homegrown brands such as Micromax and Vu to press the panic button and revisit their pricing strategies. In India, Xiaomi is riding high on the success of its smartphones and consumers buying its TVs know what they are getting into. However, it needs to be noted that buying these Mi TVs via flash sale is not an easy task. However, if you have zeroed in on buying any of the new Mi TV models then here are few things that you need to know:
The first and the most important thing to keep in mind while getting a new TV is the size. If you have a larger room and can sit farther from the TV then you should consider buying the biggest possible screen that can fit in your room but if you don’t have that kind of viewing distance, then get a small or medium-sized television.
The thumb rule for selecting the right screen size is pretty simple, if your viewing distance is going to be less than 5 feet then select a TV with up to 32-inch screen. If you have a viewing distance of around 5 to 7 feet then select a TV with up to 43-inch screen size. For a TV with up to 55-inch screen size, it is recommended to have a viewing distance of at least 7-9 feet. For a TV with 65-inch screen or above, you must have a viewing distance greater than 9 feet. In the case of Xiaomi, the largest offering is the one with a 55-inch panel, and you should opt for the right Mi TV based on the viewing distance in your room.
Once you have selected the right screen-size for your television, it is important to select the right resolution. Xiaomi is currently offering TVs that have a resolution ranging from HD ready to 4K ultra-high definition. The right resolution will depend on the size of TV that you plan to buy and the kind of content you will play back on this television.
Regardless of what size or content you going to look up on the TV, it is recommended to go for a panel supporting at least Full HD resolution. In the case of Mi TV 4A, Xiaomi is offering the 32-inch variant with an HD resolution (1280×720 pixels). It is the resolution that was once standard on most mid-range laptops, and will suit you only if you have a small room or only stick to standard definition content such as satellite or cable television.
While it seems ideal for the Rs 13,999 price tag, opting for a Full-HD panel might make more sense since we are regularly switching to video streaming platforms that offer Full-HD content. The Mi TV 4A 43-inch, Xiaomi offers a Full-HD panel, which is neither too much, nor does it compromise on resolution.
However, if you want to stay ahead of the curve then it would be wise to go for a TV with 4K panel i.e. Mi TV 4. The Mi TV 4 features a 55-inch 4K UHD panel which would serve you well especially when Netflix and Amazon Prime Video start defaulting to 4K whenever possible.
Apart from size and resolution, it is important to get a TV that supports right screen technology. At this moment, Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) and Light Emitting Diode-based displays are the most widely used technology for a flat panel TV. However, if you are looking for an advanced panel then Samsung and LG offer TVs with Quantum Dot LED and OLED technology.
Switching to a TV that deploys these technology would mean sharper pictures, deeper blacks in darker scenes and higher contrast ratio. These screens will also have faster refresh rate for smoother video playback, however, they are expensive by most standards.
All three TVs launched in India by Xiaomi use LED panels, which should be sharp and bright enough for most use case. The panels also support 60Hz refresh ratio which will come handy especially while playing back a video shot at 60fps. In the case of the Mi TV 4, you also get HDR capability, which will make for better picture with compatible content. If you have a capable internet connection at home with enough available data, it might make sense to opt for the Mi TV 4 along with HDR streaming packages from Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
Xiaomi’s Mi TVs are smart televisions running a forked version of Android called PatchWall. The advantage of PatchWall UI is that it will remain updated even after few years and users will be to download apps like Netflix without the need to stream content from their mobile device.
The major USP of Patchwall UI is the tile-based interface which clubs content from various video sources such as a DTH connection and a streaming service provider. It also uses a single remote to control all the devices be it the TV or the set-top box, when you connect the Xiaomi IR emitter. It makes for an interesting alternative to a standard interface which only shows content from your set-top box. All three TVs run Patchwall, and are smart and fully connected TVs.