Patriot Memory's Box Office Media Player Review @ [H]

FrgMstr

Just Plain Mean
Staff member
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Messages
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This is a hot emerging market right now, surprised WD does not get you their VERY HOT product right now to review. It basically destroys any other media player out there inho.
I would like to hear more about why you think it "destroys" exactly? Looks like a great product, but I am not sure what more it has. Please enlighten me, thanks. :)
 

SixFootDuo

[H]ardness Supreme
Joined
Oct 5, 2004
Messages
5,562
Kyle, while no expert, I do feel I've earned a right to be somewhat open with my opinion on these players as I've owned all of them so to speak.

I have the popcorn player ( older version ) the Asus oplay, Seagate FreeAgent Theater HD. WD HD TV and recently, the new WD HD TV Live. Last year I bought a few no-name chinese media players that were so - so.

Two of the biggest features potential buyers are really going to be looking for and wanting, even when they might not realize it at first, is UI / Ease of use and Networking / Wireless Networking. Having those two features that just work and work well bring the whole package together for a great user experience.

From my experience, with the mentioned media players, WD HD TV Live really got it right. It's not perfect but damn close.

The WD HD TV Live is fast and easy to navigate. The UI is snappy and doesn't lag, even when navigating YouTube. Wireless N usb stick support steams 1080p effortlessly. The UI is pleasant to look at. I just personally feel, having used most of the current media players, it really makes the others seem half baked. I think if you reviewed this product, even out of pocket, you would end up using it daily in your own home theater setup.

This thing replaces those expensive HTPC's, it replaced mine for damn sure. While it can't emulate old arcade games or surf the web, it does everything else fantastically.

For me, the difference is night and day. The WD HD Theater experience blows my other players away. Destroys them.

Did I mention this thing is silent?

Also, there is a HUGE community behind this product, several custom firmware that really flesh this thing out even further. 720p wallpapers, usenet support ( PRE-RENDER) , RSS, time / weather. FTP, etc. Here is a list of features from one of many custom firmwares you can try out.

* external dvd drive capability with cd-manager-0.7 **fixed**
* ext2 & ext3 filesystem support ** (un)officially supported now **
* ext2 & ext3 hotplugging
* all media (including network shares & optical devices) can be viewed in ‘All Videos’
* USB Hub support
* mounting of WDTV Optware package (if available) at boot, for access to ~1300 additional programs
* mounting of app bin packs (if available) at boot, for plugNplay addtional functionality
* mounting of OSD overlay (if available) at boot, for full theming (sample)
* limited USB Ethernet support
* IP via DHCP (by default, configurable)
* Samba/CIFS support aka windows share mounting (requires Samba app pack)
* Experimental wireless adapter support (thx to Zorander) (requires wireless-mod-wdlxtv app pack)
* Ximeta NDAS device support (requires ndas app pack)
* Telnet server
* pure-ftp server (requires pure-ftpd app pack)
* configurable to automount NFS shares (requires nfs app pack)
* user customizable background & screen saver images ** new **
* selectable 4/8/10/12/21 video thumb view (see Changelog)
* selectable 4/6/8 file list view (see Changelog)
* sleectable 10/15 photo/music thumb view (see Changelog)
* user customizable init.d scripts for full os customization ** new **
* emergency flash recovery

Tons more info from http://wdtvforum.com/main/

Hope that helps.

I do apologize if I've distracted HardOCP users away from your review. Not my intention and always, thank you and your staff for the many different reviews throughout the year.
 
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FrgMstr

Just Plain Mean
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49,021
Kyle, while no expert, I do feel I've earned a right to be somewhat open with my opinion on these players as I've owned all of them so to speak.
And I personally do want to know your opinions and why. :) You got good stuff to share.
 

Grimspoon

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 19, 2006
Messages
433
My PBO just arrived in the mail yesterday (bought it for my dad, it's still sitting unopened right here beside me) - I was originally going to buy a WDTV Live but saw this, saw the price and went for it.

Glad to see another positive review among a growing list.

Edit: After I had compared the reviews of both WDTV live and the PBO, I'm pretty sure I'd be equally happy with either unit, it basically came down to a matter of price. Patriot won.
 
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0xygenthief

[H]Lite
Joined
Sep 11, 2007
Messages
83
It basically destroys any other media player out there inho.
I personally have never experienced the WD TV product but to make a sweeping statement like that suggests that you have tried all the other competing products out there, to include the "so-so" "no name" products. I highly doubt that is the case, however...

Kind of funny that you raise the same arguement I did though. Only my vote goes for the DVICO TVIX line of products. Mostly because DVICO's products could do most everything the WDTV and PBO does now 4 years ago, not bad for a no name company IMHO. But it is nice to see big name companies making an effort to actually compete with DVICO products, makes for better products and lower prices on all sides.

BTW, were you aware that WDTV does not support AC3 passthrough? Kind of a huge deal for those wanting to retain their surround sound. The PBO supports AC3 passthrough and so do all the TVIX products. Interesting that a product that "destroys" the competition would have such a glaring flaw. Almost as bad as not supporting DTS, oh wait, the first gen WDTV didn't supprot that either...

Sorry to bust your chops bro, but if you are going to suggest one product is better than another you should really do your homework first...
 
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Patriot Box Office

Official Patriot Rep
Joined
Dec 29, 2009
Messages
9
Is there an official stance on Netflix streaming support? Having that capability would make this a no brainer purchase for me.
currently no..

unit will work with netflix with streaming software such as Tversity or Playon, but not nativly. This invovles some hardware/ software modification as well as licensing issues.
 

Patriot Box Office

Official Patriot Rep
Joined
Dec 29, 2009
Messages
9
Well it shouldn't be [H]ard at all (no pun intended). I already have an AC/DC converter to drive the PBO and a 19" WS LCD.

The hard part will be deciding where to install it and routing all the cabling.

-Or-

You could build a portable version with say a 13" WS LCD and a 64gb SSD
there's the idea :)
 

Patriot Box Office

Official Patriot Rep
Joined
Dec 29, 2009
Messages
9
not sure why ISO DVD or ISO BR is an fully useful option to have files be to big for network and take all day to send them to the device hdd.

Been able to play any MKV file (norm h.264/AC3 or DTS) and AVI old and new Xvid formats and been able to do it very well is what is needed

can you even stream an 9-15gb mkv file that is 1080p over an 100mb based network, i thought the bit rate be to high on some of them?

the network connection is the Big let down for this unit for the most part

the device is very interesting, and the review you done for it very well as i have been looking for one recently, thats not priced to much
landline no problem.. but wifi may be pushing it. The best solution probably is wireless N although at that file size.. it may still stutter some areas.
 

Johnny Mo

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Oct 11, 2000
Messages
1,055
Trust me, its the same.

I bought the Hornettek about 2 months ago.

Last night, I experimented with the "Patriot" firmware. Works exactly the same on my unit. All software is exactly the same as well.
 

Kwincy

2[H]4U
Joined
Jun 7, 2004
Messages
2,483
Can't wait to get mine in this week, I missed out on the free wireless adapter though. Not a big problem, as I just got in a few of the Dlink moca boxes to extend my wired network into the room where the tv is.
 

FrgMstr

Just Plain Mean
Staff member
Joined
May 18, 1997
Messages
49,021
I'm not sure why nobody, Kyle included, has pointed out that this "Patriot" unit is just a rebadged Hornettek Phantom:

http://hornettek.com/products/phantom.php

You might as well save the Patriot email server all the work and just send the complaints to the boys there in LA.
I did mention that, just not by name. Also I saw no reason to since the cost is 30% more and I have idea who that company is or what kind of support it would give our readers. There is more to hardware than just the hardware.
 

Patriot Box Office

Official Patriot Rep
Joined
Dec 29, 2009
Messages
9
hornet is an enclosure company, they bought some units from our factory. This ODM design was ours, but some stock got "leaked" by our factory. We are locking down the firmware for patriot prodcuts only. Hope that clears up a little bit.
 

DudeItsMe

[H]ardForum Junkie
Joined
Aug 10, 2004
Messages
15,721
I think I may just order one of these and give it a trial run. I could always return it to Amazon if I felt the need.... although based on past experience, I usually stick with something once I order it :p

By the way Kyle, I used two-part epoxy to put my mirror back on my car after hitting the deer, and it worked like a charm :D That means I can still afford a PBO and a LCD TV! Yay!
 

Shalafi

Consigliere
Joined
Nov 6, 2009
Messages
22,622
Good article, I was looking at building a HTPC from scratch, but this product looks like it might fit the bill a lot better and save me some money at the same time

I'm going to do more research into it. For it's price point it seems like a really good deal, kudos on the great article.
 

MaxBurn

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Nov 14, 2004
Messages
1,069
The player is pretty damn nice as long as you don't want to get into bluray. I actually really like the black menu's although they could be a little more responsive. The only little one thing I dont like is when using the optical out you need to change the output from RAW to LPCM when playing MP3 files for some reason, with DVD's you want raw to pass through that 5.1. Maybe things are different if you are using HDMI for sound?

Yeah the fan is a little noise, but my stereo enclosure has a glass front so that solved that.

All the bad news for this unit starts when you try to play bluray rips, this is my email to their support with links to the patriot forum:
I have two problems playing back bluray movies below. I have been working with the people on the forum but I don't really get the feeling there is a fix for these problems, they be fixed or should I be returning the player?

The bluray movies were ripped with no processing using anydvdhd to ISO file format, AACS protection was removed. These files play fine in PowerDVD 9.

1. The movie player displays "audio format unknown" when playing TrueHD sound tracks. According to the product pages it should support this, I have been working on this in the forums and found others with the same problem. This was my post with more detail:
http://patriotmemory.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2470


2. I can not play back bluray rips over the network without a video stutter problem. I have tried ISO and file mode, neither work over network for the main movie. Lower quality material like DVD files or the previews in bluray movies play fine. If I put these bluray ISO files on a USB drive they will play back fine. I talked about this on the forum also, these are my posts:

http://patriotmemory.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10973&postcount=36

http://patriotmemory.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10991&postcount=37

http://patriotmemory.com/forums/showpost.php?p=11008&postcount=40


----------------------------------
System information
----------------------------------
LG 47LH40 47" monitor
Yamaha HTR-5490 receiver
PBO using BETA P02 firmware, no drive
Gigabit network
----------------------------------
Q9550 Quad 2.83 12MB Cache, Supermicro C2SBA+II, 4GB PNY, BFG 260 OC2, SSD X25-M 80GB for OS, 300GB Raptor for VM's, 750GB Seagate storage, 1TB Samsung F1 for workspace, LG SATA BD/HD-DVD DVD-RW GGC-H20L, Pioneer DVR-108, Antec P180, Seasonic SS-550HT, X-Fi Titanium, Samsung LN32-A550 32" monitor and LG 47LH40 47" monitor.
Here is another thread on the TrueHD problem, there is a response from a Patriot employee in there:
http://patriotmemory.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2141&highlight=truehd

The top level thread for all the network problems that people are encountering:
http://patriotmemory.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2148
Personally I am thinking this is a caching/latency issue, 100bt/full should play these fine but the player is stuttering presumably because it isn't getting info soon enough not a fast enough issue. If so there is a very good chance this is an easy fix.
 

Kwincy

2[H]4U
Joined
Jun 7, 2004
Messages
2,483
I ended up buying an external 1TB hard drive specifically for my blu ray rips and a 640GB internal hdd for my hd tv shows. I dont think i'll be streaming 15 gig rips anytime soon, but it'd nice if i could.
 

MaxBurn

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Nov 14, 2004
Messages
1,069
Patriot did respond to me:
Dear Scott,

To your first issue with audio programs when playing TrueHD sound
tracks we will have to look into. For your second issue it's not the
PBO, the issue with your network, trying to play such high def files
over the network you are going to experience "lag" issues. We found
anything over 8GB you can start seeing this issue.

Thank you for choosing Patriot Memory.



Best regards,

V******** L**

Technical Support Engineer
Not really helpful, took about a day to respond which is fine. For the heck of it I did test with a 2m cat6 cable and static IP's straight to the server which changed nothing, oh well.

I explained all the above to newegg and the csr apologized, waived the restocking fee and gave me a free return label. I still like dealing with newegg even if they don't have the best prices anymore.
 

Lugztaz

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 21, 2004
Messages
1,783
I FINALLY got my box today. Everything seems to be working great so far. I tried it on an LCD via HDMI and now an older projection screen via composite. Videos (mostly playing mkv) stream very smooth at 1080. Still need to tweak the network sharing a bit but I LOVE it so far.
 

Veeb0rg

2[H]4U
Joined
Dec 31, 2000
Messages
3,278
I had been looking for a small box to lug over my friends house to watch on movie night, this looks like the perfect thing, load a usb thumb drive up with some movies and plug it in.

Are there plans to allow users to "skin" the gui?
 

jaegertech

Gawd
Joined
May 10, 2005
Messages
603
I just bought a PBO, an Optoma 65, and got a 106" pulldown thrown in. I'm not quite sure when the ear-to-ear grin will fade, but I doubt it'll be soon.
 

OLBaID

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 16, 2005
Messages
189
I have one of these and they are very nice the wifi is weak but overall im pleased
 

Fershlugg

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 13, 2009
Messages
460
I just ordered one from Amazon with the wireless G adapter since I didn't win one in the contest. :( I figured it's alot easier than buying a new DVD or Blu-Ray set top player.

I'm going to try it out first with my 300G USB HDD and see how that goes.
 

tempuraki

n00b
Joined
Oct 2, 2007
Messages
28
I tested mine last night, and for files on usb HDD, it's works great, I am quite pleased with it. I was thinking about WD TV Live because of the youtube support, but PBO won me over with the price, and the ability to play rmvb.

Took me a while to make wireless G work with the bundled adapter, but it finally did see my shared folders. It's too slow for streaming. The review said no problem with unpressed DVD rips, but for me it would pause for about 5 seconds every 5 minutes or so. I guess I will be copying the files wirelessly to the usb HDD before viewing. Has anyone tried streaming over wireless N?

I still like the wireless option, because now I don't have to unplug the HDD and carry it to the PC to copy files (even though it would be much faster that way than copying over wireless G), PBO has copy function in the menu to copy from network drive to attached usb HDD, this way I can lock it up in the glass cabinet so my toddlers can't get to them.

I think to copy to usb drive only works when on PBO, since I can't find PBO on the network from my PC. I've read that you can access the PBO if there is HDD inside of it, is this true? Has anyone tried it?
 

Fershlugg

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 13, 2009
Messages
460
Oh, one more thing, thank you Patriot, for including a HDMI cable.
Sweet, glad they sent you one. In the online pdf manual it only shows a composite/audio cable included. I hope mine comes with one.

On a side note; what capacity/type of USB HDD are you using with yours? I'm assuming my 320G WD USB external will work with the PBO.
 

tempuraki

n00b
Joined
Oct 2, 2007
Messages
28
Sweet, glad they sent you one. In the online pdf manual it only shows a composite/audio cable included. I hope mine comes with one.

On a side note; what capacity/type of USB HDD are you using with yours? I'm assuming my 320G WD USB external will work with the PBO.
I am using a 120gb in an enclosure. Yours should work fine.

BTW, for people with older TV like my sony rear LCD projection that doesn't have HDMI in, a HDMI->DVI adapter works fine, and you can get audio from the analog audio port on PBO.
 

Fershlugg

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 13, 2009
Messages
460
Well, got my PBO and immediately flashed it to latest BIOS. Works ok with 320GB USB drive. Just two small problems.

1. Doesn't want to play an .mkv from the USB HDD without stuttering.

2. Tried following all the directions in the Patriot forums but still can't get to my shares on my Win 7 computer.

Only had about 2 hours to play with it today, so I will try some more tomorrow and see if I can't fix these problems.

Update: still haven't figured out the .mkv thing but I got to my win7 shares by sharing a folder with my homegroup and giving everyone read access.
 
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v6maro

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Oct 10, 2002
Messages
1,549
Well, got my PBO and immediately flashed it to latest BIOS. Works ok with 320GB USB drive. Just two small problems.

1. Doesn't want to play an .mkv from the USB HDD without stuttering.

2. Tried following all the directions in the Patriot forums but still can't get to my shares on my Win 7 computer.

Only had about 2 hours to play with it today, so I will try some more tomorrow and see if I can't fix these problems.

Update: still haven't figured out the .mkv thing but I got to my win7 shares by sharing a folder with my homegroup and giving everyone read access.
MKV's are playing fine from mine. Using the firmware that came with it.
 

Fershlugg

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 13, 2009
Messages
460
MKV's are playing fine from mine. Using the firmware that came with it.
I shut the PBO down to move it to another room and when I started it up again the MKV played fine. Maybe it just needed a cold reboot.
 

revenant

[H]ardForum Junkie
Joined
Apr 10, 2005
Messages
14,323
man.. I really need to pick one of these up.. my WD TV's lack of network connectivity is becoming more and more of an issue.. this box looks nice.. bland UI but oh well... sounds like Patriot is on that issue.
 
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