Pivos XIOS DS Media Player Review

 

 

Final Thoughts

wrapup

There are several big benefits to making a compact device like the XIOS DS a part of your home entertainment system. The XIOS DS will run silently and far more efficiently than its HTPC counterparts, and is much easier to hide amongst your other theater components. Despite it's small size, you can still connect a keyboard and mouse plus two storage devices, so one really make no sacrifices on the I/O front. Having the power of XBMC inside such a small and relatively cheap device is impressive, but the scope of delivery and speed of navigation is lackluster. The included remote was borderline unusable at times, so do yourself a favor and invest in the Pivos motion remote or use an existing keyboard and mouse. As mentioned in the video review, it's hard to fault the device for the low-quality streams delivered by certain XBMC live TV plugins, but they do tend to sour the experience, especially when users must go through the effort to locate, download, install, and configure the add-on repositories themselves. Pivos would be wise the build their own repository of highly-rated add-ons available for download from their website or pre-loaded onto the device. Given the low cost of flash memory these days, even shipping a low-capacity micro SD card for the purpose of loading these packages would soften the frustrations of the initial setup.

Potential buyers should also question what kind of TV watching experience they are looking for. When you consider the usage model of a typical home media player, less does tend to mean more. When it comes to the pure relaxation time spent in front of a TV, I for one am perfectly willing to give up my usual urge to customize and optimize the experience. I want to access my media quickly and watch it without making any concessions regarding sound or picture quality, or the speed at which I can navigate. With this hurry up and "veg out" mentaility in mind, I feel that most movie watchers would still lean towards solutions offered by Apple, Roku, and Boxee given that they are not only cheaper, but more intuitive than a device with an XBMC focus like the XIOS DS. Another potential problem for Pivos is the rising number of ARM-based tablets in households that can run the XBMC app just as well, if not better than their own product. Thus the audience for this player is quite limited. If you really want the added functionality of XBMC in your living room and don't want to invest in purchasing a high-powered tablet or building a compact HTPC, then the XIOS DS should satisfy.

 

The Good

 

The Bad

  • It's currently the only TV media player with native XBMC support.
  • Ability to connect multiple storage devices and peripherals.
  • Low-profile fanless design is easily hidden amongst your other entertainment center's components.
  • ARM processor promises extremely low power consumption.
  • Basic remote is often unresponsive and frustrating to use.
  • The upper Android layer is more of a hindrance than a useful feature.
  • Booting from power off takes over a minute.

 

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