Patriot PBO Core HD Media Player Review

Testing
As you can see from the “Playback Support” table, there’s a ton of formats that the PBO supports. It is difficult, if not near impossible, to test every single format in every single situation (different profiles, resolutions, etc). Below are a couple of tables which should cover the majority of formats you’ll encounter. For full coverage of the tables listed below, check out the supplemental review video for the PBO Core.

Video Formats(Tested)
Container Video Codec Audio Codec PBO Can Play It?
AVI H.264/XViD/DiVX ADPCM/MP3/AC-3
AVI Uncompressed Uncompressed
FLV* VP6 MP3
ISO DVD (MPEG-2) AC-3
M4V H.264 AAC
MKV H.264 DTS/MP3
MOV H.264 AAC
MP4 H.264 AAC
MPG MPEG-2 MPEG
MTS H.264 AC-3
RM RealVideo4 (RV40) Cooker (COOK)
WMV MS-MPEG-4/VC-1 WMA/WMA PRO

*The PBO Core’s manual does claim it can play FLV. After further investigation I noticed there is a 352×288 limit for FLV playback. Most FLV’s are probably not going to be at that resolution, so I’ve left the ‘X’ in the “PBO Can Play It?” column.

Audio Formats (Tested)
Format PBO Can Play It?
AAC
FLAC
MP3
WAV

UPnP
I tested three different UPnP servers with the PBO, Windows Media Player Network Sharing, PS3 Media Server and TVersity. Each had no trouble streaming video to the PBO, but there seemed to be some compatibility issues with Windows Media Player Network Sharing. Whenever I had over 3,000 songs in a folder, the PBO would crash when it’d try to load the “Now Playing” screen. This was the only time I saw the PBO crash, although, it was repeatable, so it is definitely an issue if Windows Media Player Network Sharing is your primary UPnP server.

Settings
If you like messing with settings, then the PBO is your device. There wasn’t anything I wanted to change that I was unable to. One cool thing about the settings is you can access them at any time, even in the middle of a video. Once you press the “Setup” button on the remote, the settings screen appears and you can change any setting on the fly. It’s nice to have this flexibility when you’re trying to find a style that you like. There’s five main tabs, Audio, Video, Network System, Misc. Let’s take a look at each individually.

Audio
This is one of the smaller tabs. You can pick the type of digital output you want, or you can set “Night Mode” to On, Off, or Comfort. One thing that is a bit of a problem with the PBO is that over optical (SPDIF), it will only give you LPCM (2 channel), or RAW. If you have a video that has WMA PRO surround (5.1 channel or greater), and an older receiver, you will not be able to get 5.1 channel audio. Since the PBO will just pass the raw audio data, the receiver won’t know what to do with the WMA PRO track, so you’ll be stuck with 2 channel audio. It’d be nice if the PBO would decode it and output a AC-3 stream like the Xbox360 and PS3 do.

Patriot PBO Core HD Media Player

Video
There’s plenty of video options, including brightness/contrast/hue/saturation, and digital noise reduction. Some of these settings are irrelevant for digital (HDMI) connections, however it’s nice that Patriot is also thinking about consumers with analog only TV’s. For aspect ratio you can choose Letter Box 4:3, Pan & Scan 4:3, 16:9, 16:10. Also, I think they’ve covered every single resolution. The available resolutions are NTSC, PAL, 480p, 576p, 720p 50/60Hz, 1080i/p 50/60Hz, and 1080p 24Hz “True HD”.

Patriot PBO Core HD Media Player Patriot PBO Core HD Media Player

Network
Support for wired, wireless, and PPPoE is included. Pulling an IP with DHCP worked flawlessly on wired and wireless connections. And, WPS worked without any problems on the official wireless adapter. You can also save three wireless profiles for different networks. One issue you might encounter are unsupported wireless adapters. Patriot notes that almost every USB wireless adapter with a Realtek chipset should work with the PBO. I only had the official Patriot USB wireless adapter on hand while I was testing the PBO, so I can’t confirm compatibility with non-official adapters.

Patriot PBO Core HD Media Player Patriot PBO Core HD Media Player Patriot PBO Core HD Media Player

System
This screen allows you to perform administrative tasks such as, what language to use, text encoding, enabling BT and SAMBA, Parental Controls and System Updates. The main thing you’ll probably want to do here is enable BT and SAMBA. The PBO has a built in BT client and allows you to access any drive (internal or external) via the SAMBA share.

Patriot PBO Core HD Media Player Patriot PBO Core HD Media Player

Misc
The Misc screen is for all additional options like resume play (on, off), slide show timing, transition effect (for pictures), seamless playback, and more. One thing you’ll find fun to mess with are the “Transition Effects”.  There’s a bunch of different transitions you can use while viewing pictures. You’re guaranteed to find one that you’ll like. And if you don’t like any of the transitions, you can disable them altogether.

Patriot PBO Core HD Media Player

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