Xiaomi is the first brand to market a television with a transparent panel. Technological innovation and design, the Mi TV Lux Transparent Edition has made the trip to Paris. The perfect opportunity to get to know this exceptional product and give you our first impressions.
Today, we were invited by Xiaomi to discover “for real” a product that we had already talked about in our columns, but that we had never had the opportunity to see. It’s about the Mi TV Lux Transparent Edition. It is the first commercial television with a completely transparent screen. This means there is no chassis at the rear and you can see through it.
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This is a product that Xiaomi announced in August 2020. It is sold only in China. And it will remain the case. We were therefore not invited to attend the launch of this television on the French market, but only to savor the technical prowess with our eyes. Note that you too can see the transparency of the product, since the Mi TV Lux is being demonstrated at two points of sale in France. And more precisely in Paris. At Mi Store on Boulevard Sébastopol and at the Fnac des Ternes.
It is a product that is sold very expensive, since its selling price in China is 49,999 yuan, or just over $ 6,000. It would be difficult to transcribe this price on the French market, since the taxes are not the same. It is obviously not recommended to try to import it from China. Especially since the customs rules on Chinese imports changed this week.
The Mi TV Lux Transparent Edition is a statutory product. It is a product for lovers of beautiful designs and new technologies. This television therefore does not target the general public… at least those who are looking for a television to fully enjoy films and series. And this even if they have a budget of several thousand euros. And we’ll explain why throughout this getting started.
The design of the Mi TV Lux Transparent Edition is obviously its great strength. This is noticeable as soon as you lay eyes on it. Usually a television is black when it is turned off. Here the color is off-white. This is obviously due to the transparency of the screen, but also to the absence of a frame at the rear.
The product is divided into two parts. A screen part and a base part. Let’s start by observing the screen part. This is a slab of 55 inch. It is transparent: it means that you can see through it. There are borders at the top and on the sides. They measure only a few millimeters. The lower border is thicker: its width corresponds to the insertion depth of the screen in the base.
You can see in transparency the frame of the light-emitting diodes. This is why the screen is not completely transparent. However, these elements are not very noticeable. So much so that it is possible to see through. We will see the technical attributes of the panel in a few moments.
As we previously reported, this TV does not benefit from a rear cover. Besides the transparency that this brings, there are two other consequences for television. The first is the extreme thinness of the screen. It does not measure 5.77 mm. And this over its entire surface. It is very impressive. The second consequence is the apparent fragility of the product.
Let’s move on to the second part: the base. It is a large, circular, flat block. It measures about fifteen centimeters in height. The screen is inserted in it, at the level of the diameter. So there is as much plinth volume in front of as behind. The advantage of the base over legs is the possibility of placing the television anywhere, even on a TV cabinet that is narrower than the width of the screen.
The base has three functions. First, maintain the product. Then, offer the sound associated with the video content. Finally, integrate all the intelligence: SoC, RAM, image processors, connectors, etc. We will come back to the technology part in a few moments.
Now let’s talk about the screen. And more specifically the technology of the slab. It is a slab OLED, as you may have guessed. Each microscopic diode generates its own light when it receives energy. The frame is therefore used to convey this energy so as to excite a diode on the right frequency and obtain a color. So there is no need for a rear lighting system (like a Full LED screen, for example).
This slab is Full HD (1080 x 1920). This is not much, compared to the current market. Premium products tend to offer 4K definition, even at 55 inches. Do not expect to enjoy an exceptional picture dive with this television. The viewing angle is quite good, since it is 178 °.
Other positive points: the refresh rate. He’s from 120 Hz. And the technical sheet even indicates that it is compatible VRR (variable refreshing rate). The colorimetry is 10 bits and the screen displays 93% of the DCI-P3 sample. Which is pretty good. Last interesting detail, the response time is 1 millisecond only, a feature that suggests that it is possible to play comfortably with this Mi TV Lux.
The big weak point of this product is the light. We sensed the problem when the brand announced the contrast ratio of the Mi TV Lux. Even though this panel is OLED, its contrast ratio is not infinite. It is even quite low: 150,000/1. The reason for this relatively low rate, especially for OLED technology comes from the transparency of the product, comes from the transparency.
There is no black pixel. To display a black image, the screen simply turns off the LEDs. So the contrast between blacks (transparencies) and whites therefore depends on two elements outside the television: the color of the wall and the ambient light. As soon as you turn on a lamp, as soon as you open the shutters, as soon as it’s sunny, you can’t see much. The colors are shallower. Blacks don’t exist anymore. In short, it is less good.
This light management problem would therefore require you to use this television only in the evening or in a dark room, in the basement for example. Note that there is also a slight glare issue, easily visible here.
Now let’s talk about the audio part. The TV stand incorporates a relatively simple stereo system. So there is two speakers, each offering a power of 8 watts. That is to say a total power of 16 watts. Thanks to its design, the base projects sound towards the viewer. This provides a good experience, compared to other systems where the sound is coming from the back of the TV or from a slice.
However, despite this positive characteristic, we believe that it is more interesting to opt for an external audio system with a subwoofer, to enjoy not only more power, but also a more rounded sound. Note that the television is compatible Dolby Atmos, DTS-HD and Dolby Digital Plus. All the more reason to use an audio system that takes advantage of these technologies.
Now let’s talk about the connections and the platform of the Mi TV Lux. Like all televisions, you have wired and wireless connections to enjoy the content. We were able to see what the connections are on the back of the plinth. They’re hidden in the back, of course, and there are quite a few of them.
We first see the three HDMI ports. The standard is 2.0. No HDMI 2.1 here, but that would have been unnecessary. The ports are however compatible eARC to pass the sound through the HDMI port to an external system. There are also two USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet port, an optical audio output, an antenna jack (for a digital tuner) and a 3.5mm composite audio input. On the wireless connection side, the TV’s technical sheet informs us that it is compatible with WiFi ac, Bluetooth 5.0, DLNA, WiFi Direct.
The television works with a version of MIUI customized for televisions. This means that the television works (logically) on Android. However, there is no access to Google services. And therefore to the Play Store. The Mi TV Lux runs on a MediaTek platform. The chipset is a MT9650 from the Asian founder. This component integrates 4 Cortex-A73 cores and an ARM Mali-G52 MC1 GPU. He is accompanied by 3 GB of RAM and of 32 GB internal storage.
The Mi TV Lux Transparent Edition is a separate product. First of all, it is a technical feat to have produced a transparent OLED panel. The result is astonishing. It is also a strong message about the capacity for innovation of the Xiaomi brand, whether in telephony or in other markets. The firm has many patents. And she’s able to use it to create products that grab your attention. It is a statutory product aimed at wealthy amateurs of new technologies. Its owners will like to show it more than watch it.
But this is not a product for lovers of beautiful images. First, because the technical characteristics of the screen are not very high: Full HD definition only, contrast at 150,000/1. As for the leftovers, there is nothing exceptional. Then, because with the budget of this screen, an image lover will buy a larger, more complete and more pointed model. A 55-inch Sony Bravia XR A90J costs 2700 euros. That is 2.2 times cheaper.
Finally, there is this real concern for contrast and reflectivity when the room is lit. Whether it is to enjoy a movie, a series or a video game, the light must be perfectly controlled. Or even banned. And, in real life, it’s not very easy.