AIOS: My Take

Here is my take about the AIOS (so far) as featured on Amazon

Packaging:
Nicely double backed, high end looking design with flashing logos thrown on every side of the box.

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Unboxing:
How much would a 3' HDMI cable add to the cost of this box ? around the same price of any of the included cables ;)
Manual is exceptionally well written for this class of devices.
There is a quick installation guide too, which *interestingly* claims a USB webcam support !! :-0 :facepalm:

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The device:
Nice metal casing, not flashy and would easily fit within a typical home theater setup.
LCD screen ? such a disappointingly tiny display especially with such an empty front (which contains nothing beside the power button). You could easily fit a 2/3 lines display on the front of this player.
The box is considerably big (due to the supported 3.5" HDD), see below how it compares to a PBO and a standard slime external drive.

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Remote control:
This is most thing I hate about this box. Not only isn't unjustifiably big, but also the button placement makes absolutely no sense, compare with the PBO to envy the PBO owners ;)
And whats with the unused buttons ?! the manual said the 4 buttons are for the DTV model. Why they heck should a remote for a device has buttons for some yet to be release device, especially that the remote is not a universal one.

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Firmware:
I wont elaborate that much into this, there has already been one firmware released beside the one that is shipped with the box. There is also a new firmware that is promised tomorrow. So I will just highlight two main points and keep the full review for the new firmware.
1. BR-ISO (50GB) works beautifully over GB network (resides on a modest DNS-321), no stutter, pauses, smooth as silk and full menu support too.
2. (Didn't test bitstreaming) But DTS-MA does work from the ISO, but doesn't work on MKV (though the display button shows DTS-5.1 for both files). This must be a bug, as the firmware setting menu has an option for DTS-HD (7.1/5.1 core).
3. Logitech wifi mouse worked without a problem.

To put it in a nutshell (IMHO) for those who already own a PBO, here is where the AIOS shines:
- If you have many ripped BRs (direct copy), the PBO will only play the longest track unless you go and individually select the streams. This is a worthy upgrade.
- If you have an HDD that you want to load, you can now load "over the network" in reasonable rates. This is a worthy upgrade.
- If you think the GUI 2.0 on the ACRBO is cool but too laggy for your taste, GUI 2.0 is very smooth on the AIOS. This is a worthy upgrade.
- If you are stuck with SD (composite) on your EDTV with the PBO, the AIOS has component port for your EDTV (480p). This is a worthy upgrade.
- If you want to watch YT-XL or have interest in logging to facebook from your big screen TV.
- If you are like me an early PBO adopter and hate your inability to bitstream HD-Audio, AIOS can bitstream HD-Audio without a problem. This is a worthy upgrade.
- If you are sick of PM support (or lack of) for the PBO, pivos is a new player with a single product to sell, so currently that's their bread and butter, so its not unreasonable to expect some serious development (on the firmware side).

Here is somethings to take into consideration:
- The hacking possibility of this box is still undetermined, one thing I found so far (after disassembling the whole player) that there is no easy way for serial recovery (this is what makes the PBO brick proof), I am yet to open up the firmwares (AIOS and the ones from ACR and Mede8er) and see how tightly locked they are.

To sum up, the AIOS is one step up the PBO in every single direction, but whether it would make a difference for you depends on your current usage.

For those who don't own a PBO and are willing to pay $89.99 for WDTV Live+, better think twice

p.s. I hate the remote, they must have paid someone to purposely mess it up, there is no way you can do so many placement mistakes in any single remote control (beside tossing a coin for button functionality assignment).

Thats all for now, more to come after the update.

Check NCIX unboxing video here

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