Modern TVs - or Smart TVs - typically come with built-in “smart” features but Chinese Xiaomi thinks that it is better to integrate the TV hardware and OS inside a soundbar. That way you can upgrade the “smart TV” part of the TV anytime.
TV hardware in the soundbar
The new Mi TV 3 is a 60" screen with 4K resolution and even though it will not be available outside China, Xiaomi’s approach is noteworthy. While the rest of TV industry insists on selling you an all-in-one package, Xiaomi is heading in the opposite direction.
Today, only Samsung is offering a solution that allows the owner to upgrade the TV guts every year; a so-called Evolution Kit. Xiaomi, however, has separated both audio components and hardware from the TV and moved everything into the soundbar. Inside it houses a quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. The TV operating system is built on a forked version of Android 5.1 and it connects to the TV with a single cable that carries both power and data.
When you want to upgrade the brains of the TV you can replace only the soundbar. It sells for $155 USD. If you want a subwoofer you can add the wireless “Mi Subwoofer” to the mix for $95 USD.
This is obviously not the first soundbar with “Smart TV” built in but Xiaomi follows through on the idea. Instead of insisting that the TV comes equipped with the same smart features, the company has pretty much built a “dumb” TV. Because the soundbar houses the mainboard and speakers the TV is also thinner than most, measuring just 11.6 millimeters at the thinnest point.
Xiaomi’s 60" Mi TV 3 will be available only in China for around $790 USD. Hopefully we will see someone else bring the concept to the US and Europe.