Summary: Patriot's Box Office Core is an interesting system for those just looking for an affordable, compact unit to use as a media playback device. The fact that it does not ship with a hard drive means that some assembly is required, but this is quite easy even for those who generally do not touch the internals of a PC.
Pros: Compact size, Aluminum enclosure, Great set of content to get you started, Easy assembly, Open platform, Low power draw, Plays back all major formats, Usable Internet content browser, Fairly quiet operation
Cons: On-screen graphics do not do today's TVs justice, Slow at times, Remote control looks & feels very cheap, Not a very intuitive navigation (especially IMS), Not fanless
Summary: The Patriot Box Office media player appliance is by far the most capable video player we’ve currently tested. It can connect up to practically any hosting device you can think of, from local devices to UPNP servers and just about any networked device. It does lack NetFlix and YouTube capability, but this may be coming. The fact that this device can output 1080p and consume under 10 watts of power with all the bells and whistles enabled is simply amazing.
Excerpt: It’s 2010, digital media is at its prime. We see LCD TVs everywhere. And I’m sure everyone reading this has at least one LCD TV at home. And I’m sure we all have lots of digital media laying around on our computers. But how do we bring all of this media to the LCD TVs? That’s where the Box Office Media Player from Patriot Memory comes in. The Box Office Media Player is a black box about the size of a Mac Mini.
Pros: Lots of supported formats, Ease of use, Low price
Cons: Wireless USB adaptor not fitting on the back USB port
Summary: Bittorrent : Enabling BitTorrent on this device proved to be a bit more challenging than I would have hoped but it wasn't unmanageable. You will need to have a hard drive installed for it to work. First you have to go into the settings and enable logins. Now you can access the BT manager through the web interface. You will need to point your browser to the IP address that your Box Office was assigned.
Excerpt: Media streamers—devices that put your PC’s video files on a big-screen TV—are emerging as the next hot product category, as more people look to move downloaded and transcoded movies from the desktop into the living room. Patriot’s Box Office is a low-cost media streamer that’s configured much the same as its similarly priced competitors, but includes a few unique hardware features to help differentiate it from the crowd.
Excerpt: Dedicated media players have been all the rage these last few years. The ability to browse through video files with your remote and watch anything in your library is a movie watchers dream. What about a player that can not only store your files, but download them through bit-torrent as well? What if this player could also play 1080p content with Dolby Digital and DTS surround? A dream of the more… sheet washing variety?
Conclusion: The Patriot Box Office is basically the perfect media player, it’s small and quiet and it plays pretty much everything out there. It has both HDMI and composite connections on it so you’re covered for SD and HD Tvs, and the picture quality is outstanding. I’ve got several media players and the Box Office is by the far the best of those I have, it’s easy to use and setup, it’s fast and it works very well.
Pros: Small size and well made, Use with or without HDD, Fast and easy to use, Wired or wireless with the optional dongle, Good looking interface, Plays pretty much everything, Includes Bitorrent client, Quiet
Cons: Slow wireless speeds, Remote must be pointed right at box, Limited connection options
Conclusion: This unit sells for around 100$ which is fairly priced in my opinion. It streams 1080P without any issues from a LAN connection or through a USB drive. We tested with .iso and .mkv files at 1080p and there we no problems while we streamed. Picture quality maintained a high quality throughout the entire movie.
Summary: The Patriot can pull your digital media from a variety of devices including a USB drive, a network device and the internal drive. It is truly a multi-functional device with good support for a large variety of multi-media formats. Although the plain interface won’t knock your socks off, it is functional and easy to use. The fact that you can add your own hard drive is a great feature.
Conclusion: Before we begin we would just like to say that all of the RealTek-based media players on the market offer an amazing bang for your buck and even as little as a year and a half ago the amount of flexibility, performance and value seen here would have been unheard of in the HTPC market. Will any of the various low-priced players on the market give results as good as a properly set up dual core HTPC?