I’m a huge fan of XBMC, which is a media center that runs on the Microsoft XBox and PC. For years I’ve been softmodding my XBoxes and putting XBMC on it. As great as XBMC is, the XBox isn’t fast enough to play HD. It chokes on anything other than standard definition. Mind you, the XBox still is an all around great setup. It streams movies, plays xbox games, and has emulators for all those classic gaming consoles. It also has lots of plugins and an amazing interface. You can install a massive 500GB HD or even 1TB monsters if you have a SATA to IDE adapter. But as we move to HD 1080p, the XBox’s days are numbered.
Patriot comes out with a simple unassuming media player for those who want a simple small device to stream their videos from. It can read every format under the sun. It can read them off of USB, internal hard drive, or stream them from a network share. It’s a very compact box, about the size of an external hard drive enclosure.
The box is an aluminum shell that helps dissipate heat. The PBO I got actually was flawed. The heatsink fell off and was bouncing around inside the unit. I had to take the thing apart and put the heatsink in place. Other than that it’s quite a solid box. I installed a 500GB 2.5″ HDD and it holds a ton of standard definition movies and a few 1080p .mkv files.
I got it for about $100 which isn’t bad. However if you wanna pop in a 500GB HDD, that’s another $80 so it could add up. For it’s size it’s not bad. I carry this around in a wii case and it’s great to be able to bring movies to hotels or my parents house to play a movie. But this doesn’t happen often.
Is this a good buy? I’d say I’m not ecstatic about it. My xbox1 with XBMC is a lot more versatile but lacking HD support. However, I’d probably pass on the PBO and all other media players like these this generation. They just aren’t compelling enough to buy unless you really need to travel with something like this. HD quality videos are still too much data to download and standard definition is still good enough for me. So for those reasons I pass on this.
Will I replace all my Xboxes with PBO’s? Probably not yet. XBMC does a lot more than just stream media. However, if you’re looking for something that plays HD video from the network, the PBO is a very good option.