Chinese device maker Pipo has unveiled a new device that it’s calling an Intel TV box, but which could also be described as a tiny desktop computer.

The Pipo X7 features an Intel Atom Bay Trail processor and runs Windows 8.1 with Bing. Sure, you can plug it into a TV to stream content from YouTube, Hulu, or Netflix. But you can also run Office, Minecraft, Firefox, or any number of other Windows apps.

pipo x7

There’s always been a thin line between a full-fledged computer and a media streaming device. Sure, Roku or Chromecast devices don’t exactly look like computers but they have processors, memory, operating systems, input and output.

Over the past few years Chinese companies like Pipo, Rikomagic, and Tronsmart have blurred the lines a bit more by offering Android-powered TV boxes that can run just about any app you can run on a smartphone or a tablet. The reason I started paying attention to the space a few years ago is because you can turn many of those Android-powered TV boxes into Linux desktop computers by running Ubuntu or another GNU/Linux distro from an SD card or internal storage.

But now that companies are starting to sell models with Intel chips and Windows software, there’s no real doubt that these little boxes are just as much computers as they are media streamers.

Pipo hasn’t revealed pricing for the new X7 yet, but it will be available with an Intel Atom Z3735F or Z3736F quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, an unspecified amount of flash storage, an Ethernet jack, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth, HDMI output, a microSD card slot, and 4 USB ports.

The box measures 7.4″ x 5.1″ x 1″ and weighs about a pound. It’s not the only tiny Windows desktop we’ve seen lately. Asus has a $149 VivoMini on the way, The MeegoPad T01 is a stick-style Windows PC that sells for $100, and I recently reviewed the Zotac ZBOX PI320 pico, a tiny desktop Windows system that sells for under $200.

You an also pick up an ECS Liva mini-PC kit with an Intel Celeron N2807 for as little as $110 during Newegg’s holiday sale… but that price doesn’t include an operating system.


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16 replies on “Pipo X7 is a Windows-powered TV box”

  1. These boxes will never see the light of day. These cheap processors were originally intended for tablets and not designed for Mini PC’s. Intel will never allow it as these contend with Intel NUC’s.

    Plus I’ve read there all locked to Windows OS and Linux cannot be installed because the bootloader is locked. Great. The product will be a waste and failure. Not spending a penny on useless junk if this is the case.

  2. In a year or so, you’ll see a flood of miniature Windows boxes/sticks from China. Here is the background –

    Chinese government started cracking down on Android TV boxes and sticks that can play unregulated TV shows and movies from Internet about a year ago. For a while, manufacturers directed user to their forums for help on sideloading various streaming apps onto these boxes/sticks. Recently, government told major Internet content providers (PPS, PPTV, Youku, etc.) to pull their resources from these unregulated Android devices or they’ll risk losing their broadcasting licenses. While you can load Linux on these devices and continue using them as media steamers, most consumers simply don’t know how or won’t bother doing so. Many manufacturers try to circumvent this situation by shifting to miniature Windows devices, which are considered as PCs by government right now and thus not subject to TV-related regulation.

    So if you into small form factor Windows devices, just wait a while and you’ll probably see better prices and specs.

    1. Thats good information. I doubt many of them will cross the threshold of Atom Z3xxx+2gbRAM specs. I have no problem spending $200+ to get the features that I need from a Mini PC.

  3. I can’t say I have a lot of hope for this device. Pipo is slimy…I bought an Android stick from them (Pipo x2), on the premise that it had 2GB RAM, but when it arrived it only had 1GB, and they changed every reference on their website (after selling a bunch) to specify that it only has 1GB. I don’t care for bait-and-switch, and I wouldn’t trust them not to do the same here.

  4. To be honest, Windows 8 is a pretty shitty OS as a smart TV OS. But this with a 4 TB external HDD = home media server for cheap. Just no plex encoding.

    1. Why is Windows 8 a shitty OS for using as a Smart TV?

      I’m a Linux fan myself, and I run Xubuntu on my HTPC. But I disagree with you, Windows is probably one of the better OS’s to use for media. Linux is as good as Windows for file support, but up until recently Linux had really poor Netflix support.

      Not to mention Windows Media Centre has alot of features that no Linux alternatives offer (or at least easily).

  5. you know what always bothers me about those TV-devices? They don’t do TV!
    I mean.. you can buy one or two ARM/Android-things that do DVB-T and like even less things that do DVB-S(1), but even if you want DVB-S2 it gets thin.
    Not to even think about DVB-C (what i’d need) or multi-tuner-stuff.

    No i don’t want to use my set-top-box only for streaming, sometimes DVR is a true feature.

    1. Even with a USB tuner, do you think these CPUs are powerful enough to encode HD video, and work reliably as a DVR?

      I’ve never DVR’d with a PC before, so I don’t know.

      1. what?
        why should you encode HD-Streams?
        a) you just dump mpeg-data to disk as you get it from the dvb-reciever
        b) every current arm/x86-soc has hw-support for de- and encoding (1080p video-recording on smartphones is a usecase for that)
        c) current bay-trail atoms and similar performant arms should be even fast enough to do some less complex codex in software

  6. I’m always excited to see new devices in specific niches like this, even if the device itself isn’t that appealing. It means competition is healthy.

    This specific device doesn’t seem that appealing. There’s no way it could be priced cheap enough to make the ECS Liva look too expensive. And there is no way it is powerful enough to make Android boxes look bad.

    If you need Windows in a small form-factor box, you need to spend more.

    1. Depends on what you want. If you want local media, windows is pretty much the best OS you can have for a TV attached media device. It plays every type of file without a hassle. And you can pretty much make it look the way you want too. It also has driver support for a staggering amount of devvices to actually control the device from your couch.

      It really comes down to whether you want a simple and pretty-on-top ready made system of are one of the people who want freedom and are willing to set up their own system.

      1. There’s no arguing that Windows is the best OS for media. But this specific device would have to be priced around $80 to convince me not to buy an ECS Liva. The Liva has a more powerful processor, USB 3.0, and confirmed Linux support

    2. You need to spend $64 if you live near a Micro Center. I really don’t see the appeal of these boxes, when a “portable box” with a IPS touchscreen, two cameras, a 5000mAh battery and identical specs, is at the same price. Maybe a Celeron with 4 Gb Ram would be justified for $100+ prices, but not the Z3735 variety.
      Have a look at what a TW700 can do for $64.It’s a dammed shame they’re not available in Europe, for anything under 120.

      1. i agree! while these boxes seem decently priced.. they aren’t actually!! especially the zotac picobox which is super overpriced…. unfortunately the micro center winpad TW700 is only available in the US 🙁 does not ship worldwide

        1. They don’t ship them in the US either, they’re “Available for In-Store Pickup Only”
          (Limit 3 per household). In some stores they have multiple “Open Box” for $47, which is €38, and that is absolutely insane-! for an actual PC.

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