Patriot Box Office Media Player Review

It's What Inside That Counts...

As far as I know, the Box Office is the only commercial media appliance that allows installation of its own internal hard drive.  This way, you can bring this small box along with you when you travel, or just to a friend’s house without having to lug around several DVD or CD binders.

When the two screws are removed, the main board slides out from the aluminum housing.  You can see part of the board, but it is guarded by thin SECC (Steel, Electrogalvanized, Cole-Rolled Coil) steel plate.  On this plate is a small “Power Logic” fan model PLA04710S12L, which is plugged into a daughterboard, which is connected to the main board.  Also connected to this daughterboard is a 2.5″ SATA interface, which is used to connect a laptop hard drive or SSD (Solid State Drive).

Installing an internal drive is very simple.  All you do is lay the drive down on the steel plate, and slide it back until the drive connector clicks into the SATA interface.  You then secure the front of the drive with two of the included drive screws.  Now your drive is physically installed, and can be formatted from the software menu.

Connections (installation)

Connecting the Patriot Box Office to a TV is really simple, and works with practially every display available.  There are no component jacks, so you may be out of luck if you have an older rear-projection set, but most of these “legacy” HDTV sets have DVI, which works just fine if you have an HDMI to DVI adapter.  Otherwise you must use the composite jacks, which can output NTSC or PAL.  There is also an optical SPDIF audio port if you have a receiver without HDMI.  It is also good to note that the analog audio jacks work even if you use the HDMI port, so it’s not an either/or situation.

There is no wireless LAN option in the box, but is available seperately and fits in one of the full-size type-A USB ports.  There are a few USB adapters on the market, but users have had mixed results when using them with the Box Office.  If you must have wireless, the I would save yourself a lot of hassle and order the Patriot Box Office Wireles G USB Adapter (part # PCBOWAV2-G).  Depending on your signal strength and location of the box, you may have dropped frames or corrupted video if you use wireless, so I would strongly advise routing a gigabit ethernet cable to wherever you set the box up.

If you have installed an internal hard drive, then you can connect the unit up to your PC to load it up with media.  Just connect a mini type-B USB cable to the back and turn the unit on.  The Box Office’s internal hard drive appears as another drive letter, and you can just drag and drop whatever media you like, and you can arrange media in any way you see fit (unlike most UPNP devices).

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  1. Pingback: HTPC vs Consoles, Boxee, XBMC, WMC?—

  2. Kyle

    December 14, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    From an external USB DVD Drive, you can play any file you can play on the device itself, just as if it was removable storage, but you can play DVDs, with DVD file structure, as long as it does not have the anti-piracy stuff on them, they will play DVDs that were copied using DVDFab and such.

  3. Alan

    June 20, 2011 at 1:14 am

    @Rae: I'm not sure if you can play media from an existing PBO, but given the existing peer options you should be able to do it. If not, then use a USB hard drive or use a central PC or NAS as a media server.

  4. Alan

    June 20, 2011 at 1:14 am

  5. Rae

    June 20, 2011 at 1:14 am

    Do you know if you can create or access playlists on one PBO via either UPNP or NET from a second PBO that has the USB HD attached to it? Obviously, I don't want to have to have two hard drives with media
    content doubled on both machines. But I'd like to be able to set it up so that several video files will play back to back and repeat. Thanks!

  6. Alan

    June 20, 2011 at 1:14 am

    That's right… a physical DVD movie will not play like it does in a DVD player. If you have an .ISO image it will. If you put in a DVD with Divx files on it, they will play just fine.

  7. dlb

    June 20, 2011 at 1:13 am

    According to the review, standard DVDs will NOT play via a USB DVD drive, only ISOs. Does this mean that the DVD has to have the actual ISO file, or it has be the image contained within the ISO? What if a a data DVD has several DivX AVI files on it? What about VCDs? Will this unit play VCDs via a USB DVD drive?

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