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Xiaomi Mi Box: Switch to 1080p for dramatically better performance

In the case of video today, supporting 4K resolution — particularly when streaming — isn't always a "sure thing" kind of situation. There are restrictions in hardware, power, internet speed and so on. So while the Xiaomi Mi Box technically supports 4K video, that isn't the same thing as it offering great 4K video.

If you've used the new Mi Box, you'll know that it defaults to 4K resolution when it plugs into a 4K TV. You'll also know that the performance takes a pretty significant hit, sometimes leading to a laggy interface or unnecessarily soft images when Casting content from another app.

Xiaomi Mi Box

Considering its small size and lackluster hardware, it shouldn't be surprising that the Mi Box struggles to play 4K video at the same speed as the NVIDIA Shield Android TV or even the purpose-built Chromecast Ultra streamer. Though it's unfortunate to buy an Android TV box that says "4K" on the package and realize it doesn't do the best job of it, the core of the issue is simply the resolution — meaning there's an easy fix.

Just set the box to 1080p

You won't want to hear this, but the "solution" to the Mi Box's performance struggles is simply setting it to just 1080p resolution. You can do so by going into the Settings of the Mi Box, selecting Display resolution and then setting the resolution to 1080p-60hz. Of course this means that you cut down the resolution to Full HD from 4K, but you'll immediately notice a performance jump when navigating the interface and playing video.

For many people who bought the Mi Box as an inexpensive way to get 4K video, this is a huge bummer. But for a majority of people out there, you wouldn't have been actually watching any 4K content to start with — meaning you had the box set to 4K, and were dealing with the slower performance but weren't going to take advantage of the resolution anyway. That's in no way an apology for Xiaomi coming up short in terms of the processing power in the Mi Box, but it's the reality we live in.

But if you must have 4K ...

If you actually have the internet connection (25+ mbps), TV set and apps (Netflix, etc.) to watch 4K content, then my recommendation is to not let the Mi Box automatically set resolution. Instead, set the box to 4k2k-30hz for the best combination of 4K resolution and daily performance.

It'll still be noticeably slower than when it's set to 1080p, but you'll have a better chance at watching smooth video in 4K when streaming from apps that support the higher resolution.

More: Where to buy the Xiaomi Mi Box in the U.S.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

11 Comments
  • Can it support 23.976 frame rate as used by 99.9% of Netflix content?
  • Netflix looks fine to me.
  • Lol, the hardware struggles with 4k out of the box? No bueno.
  • Mostly in the interface and when Casting 1080p content. Native 4K content is fine. But .... yeah :(
  • Just picked this up last night, and now considering returning it. In the short amount of time spent, definitely noticed lag when navigating the interface. Definitely feels like false advertisement.
  • I wonder if this is due to not enough horsepower from the CPU, the GPU or not enough RAM... or perhaps a combination of all. Either way, it performs great at 1080p and that's perfectly fine for viewing.
  • Combination of it all and probably a lack of software optimization.
  • Is there a warranty? Can you return it for a refund? I'd recommend trying to return it for a refund if it's presenting the issues you've described. Tweaking the settings may help cover up inherent issues but it is also telling these dishonest Chinese Corporations that they can get away with false advertising and ripping off consumers with over priced cheap junk disguised as well built products. Chinese corporations aren't the only ones, but they are the most likely and notorious ones to try and get away with this kind of fraud. Return the product and use the money to pay for a real quality set top Android TV box.
  • An Android TV box advertised for its 4K abilities that can't do 4K well. Sounds typical of a Chinese OEM. So far the only Chinese OEM to impress me is OnePlus. Even their parent company Oppo sucks.
  • Eww.. That sucks. I'm glad I spent the extra cash on a Shield TV but even that has its issues when set to the highest 4k setting.
  • Get the Nvidia Shield Android TV instead. Yes, it costs nearly 3x as much...but it's more than 3x as good. And it comes with a controller. And 3 USB ports. And Ethernet. And GeForce NOW. And HDR. Not sure which issues MarkSeven is referring to, I have two of them running at 4K60...no issues.