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Pivos Aios HD Media Center Review - PAGE 1

- Monday, October 17th, 2011 Like Share






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0 thumbs!
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walnuts Oct 20, 11
I've tried many a media centre over the years, and you know what, I keep finding myself coming back to my trusty HTPC. Why? Because it does EVERYTHING that I need it to do. Most media centres miss one or two features (and they're not always the same!) whenever I go to use them, and as such I find them frustrating to work with.

My biggest gripe over the years has been aspect ratio. I have backed up tonnes of DVD's with old cartoons and tv shows, which are broadcast in 4:3. Why then, does my media centre insist on stretching the picture into a god awful 16:9 ratio every time I put it on? We live in the 21st century, this should be an AUTOMATIC feature! I shouldn't need to be manually changing the aspect ratio every time I put a different show on. My computer does it automatically (and beautifully, I might add), why can't these little boxes?

File compatibility has been an issue over the years, but it is getting better, so I'll give them credit for that. Still not as perfect as my HTPC with VLC media player installed, but still much better than a few years ago.

Finally, queuing. Now, I realise I am most likely very unique in this respect, but I like to select all the episodes from a show (let's say, The Simpsons), and have them play one after the other automatically AND in random order (I like a bit of a variety, I want to second guess what's coming up next!). I've had SOME players where they won't start playing files one after the other, even in the same folder, let alone over 23 different folders. You can also usually forget about it being randomised either, and giving birth to a baby elephant is easier than trying to create a playlist on these things. Not a hassle with my HTPC. Heck, I don't have to move anything to create an instant playlist (note, not a saved playlist, just one on the fly that will disappear when I close VLC) of all my Futurama and Simpsons episodes, and then have them play back to back in a random order, surprising me as to what is coming next!

For the record, I'm not bashing you as a reviewer, I think it was a great review. I agree fully with you that it is indeed the perfect solution for the 'simple' consumer, if you will. People who will buy their stuff off iTunes or whatever, plug it in and watch it. HOWEVER, if you ever want to do more than that, then the only option is to go with a HTPC at this point in time. These sort of boxes just miss those one or two little features that would make them worthwhile to the serious home theatre enthusiast.

Nice review though, pretty sweet price point at under $100 too.
0 thumbs!
^
Vagabond Oct 20, 11
quote walnuts
I've tried many a media centre over the years, and you know what, I keep finding myself coming back to my trusty HTPC. Why? Because it does EVERYTHING that I need it to do. Most media centres miss one or two features (and they're not always the same!) whenever I go to use them, and as such I find them frustrating to work with.

My biggest gripe over the years has been aspect ratio. I have backed up tonnes of DVD's with old cartoons and tv shows, which are broadcast in 4:3. Why then, does my media centre insist on stretching the picture into a god awful 16:9 ratio every time I put it on? We live in the 21st century, this should be an AUTOMATIC feature! I shouldn't need to be manually changing the aspect ratio every time I put a different show on. My computer does it automatically (and beautifully, I might add), why can't these little boxes?

File compatibility has been an issue over the years, but it is getting better, so I'll give them credit for that. Still not as perfect as my HTPC with VLC media player installed, but still much better than a few years ago.

Finally, queuing. Now, I realise I am most likely very unique in this respect, but I like to select all the episodes from a show (let's say, The Simpsons), and have them play one after the other automatically AND in random order (I like a bit of a variety, I want to second guess what's coming up next!). I've had SOME players where they won't start playing files one after the other, even in the same folder, let alone over 23 different folders. You can also usually forget about it being randomised either, and giving birth to a baby elephant is easier than trying to create a playlist on these things. Not a hassle with my HTPC. Heck, I don't have to move anything to create an instant playlist (note, not a saved playlist, just one on the fly that will disappear when I close VLC) of all my Futurama and Simpsons episodes, and then have them play back to back in a random order, surprising me as to what is coming next!

For the record, I'm not bashing you as a reviewer, I think it was a great review. I agree fully with you that it is indeed the perfect solution for the 'simple' consumer, if you will. People who will buy their stuff off iTunes or whatever, plug it in and watch it. HOWEVER, if you ever want to do more than that, then the only option is to go with a HTPC at this point in time. These sort of boxes just miss those one or two little features that would make them worthwhile to the serious home theatre enthusiast.

Nice review though, pretty sweet price point at under $100 too.
I didn't take that as a bash at all! However, it does make me interested in checking out the queuing of this unit. I will create a playlist and see how it works. From my experience with the unit it appears as if it will just play the file that is open and not necessarily multiple files in, or out of order. But I will try this out and see how it works out.
0 thumbs!
^
walnuts Oct 20, 11
quote Vagabond
quote walnuts
I've tried many a media centre over the years, and you know what, I keep finding myself coming back to my trusty HTPC. Why? Because it does EVERYTHING that I need it to do. Most media centres miss one or two features (and they're not always the same!) whenever I go to use them, and as such I find them frustrating to work with.

My biggest gripe over the years has been aspect ratio. I have backed up tonnes of DVD's with old cartoons and tv shows, which are broadcast in 4:3. Why then, does my media centre insist on stretching the picture into a god awful 16:9 ratio every time I put it on? We live in the 21st century, this should be an AUTOMATIC feature! I shouldn't need to be manually changing the aspect ratio every time I put a different show on. My computer does it automatically (and beautifully, I might add), why can't these little boxes?

File compatibility has been an issue over the years, but it is getting better, so I'll give them credit for that. Still not as perfect as my HTPC with VLC media player installed, but still much better than a few years ago.

Finally, queuing. Now, I realise I am most likely very unique in this respect, but I like to select all the episodes from a show (let's say, The Simpsons), and have them play one after the other automatically AND in random order (I like a bit of a variety, I want to second guess what's coming up next!). I've had SOME players where they won't start playing files one after the other, even in the same folder, let alone over 23 different folders. You can also usually forget about it being randomised either, and giving birth to a baby elephant is easier than trying to create a playlist on these things. Not a hassle with my HTPC. Heck, I don't have to move anything to create an instant playlist (note, not a saved playlist, just one on the fly that will disappear when I close VLC) of all my Futurama and Simpsons episodes, and then have them play back to back in a random order, surprising me as to what is coming next!

For the record, I'm not bashing you as a reviewer, I think it was a great review. I agree fully with you that it is indeed the perfect solution for the 'simple' consumer, if you will. People who will buy their stuff off iTunes or whatever, plug it in and watch it. HOWEVER, if you ever want to do more than that, then the only option is to go with a HTPC at this point in time. These sort of boxes just miss those one or two little features that would make them worthwhile to the serious home theatre enthusiast.

Nice review though, pretty sweet price point at under $100 too.
I didn't take that as a bash at all! However, it does make me interested in checking out the queuing of this unit. I will create a playlist and see how it works. From my experience with the unit it appears as if it will just play the file that is open and not necessarily multiple files in, or out of order. But I will try this out and see how it works out.
Certainly a worthwhile feature to note, especially if people want to sit down and watch 5 episodes of their favourite tv show back to back, you certainly don't want to be fumbling for the remote everytime to start the next clip.
0 thumbs!
^
Ohmycaptain Oct 20, 11
I have a few questions, actually.

My parents were looking to going down to basic cable, to cut out a lot of the costs from their bills. Now, I was going to build them an HTPC, but I also kind of thought of buying something like this for them, because it's cheaper and easier for them to use.

They want to watch Netflix, Hulu Plus, and torrent movies and tv shows. I'm sure they'd also like to put DVD's and Blu-Rays on their hard drive to watch as well.

How does this little HTPC handle those things? Can it even be done at all?

Would it just be better to build a $500 HTPC for them in a little shuttle barebones kit or a lian li mini itx case, with a SB pentium dual core and 4GB of RAM? Maybe a 6450 graphics card as well?


Also, if anybody has an HTPC (like the guy above), can you use a remote with it? What's the best way to get the best HTPC experience for people like my parents, who want to just sit down, press play, and watch? Any programs that make it simple for people like my parents who just want to watch Netflix/Hulu plus and torrented movies?
0 thumbs!
^
walnuts Oct 20, 11
quote Ohmycaptain
Also, if anybody has an HTPC (like the guy above), can you use a remote with it? What's the best way to get the best HTPC experience for people like my parents, who want to just sit down, press play, and watch? Any programs that make it simple for people like my parents who just want to watch Netflix/Hulu plus and torrented movies?
The best solution is to build a HTPC with Windows 7, as that comes with the totally awesome Windows Media Centre program built in! You can certainly use a remote with this setup (although I'm not sure how to set it up, as I haven't done it), it has Netflix functionality built in and a Hulu app can be installed to give access to that too. You'll have to add codec packs to play certain video files (mkv's spring to mind immediately) but they're very easy to install and you only have to do it once.

My setup is VERY basic. I've got a 2TB HDD plugged in to the HTPC, I bought a Microsoft Arc Touch mouse, which folds up when not in use, so it just looks like another remote on the table, and then use the mouse to play my video files in VLC. All on XP too.
0 thumbs!
^
Ohmycaptain Oct 20, 11
Would it be worth buying a TV Tuner card? Not even sure what it does exactly. I've never looked into it, don't know how it works or if it's worth the $100 price tag of most TV Tuner cards. Like, do you get TV from it? Do you have to hook up a coax cable line to it? Is it basically a way to get rid of your cable box and use an HTPC instead? I don't quite understand

Can I get HD channels, showtime, hbo? hmm.
0 thumbs!
^
walnuts Oct 20, 11
TV tuner cards only get Free to Air channels, not cable channels. Your parents will still need to use their cable box.
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