The AIOS first shipped with software that would fair poorly in our analysis. The interface was an awful yellow color and navigation was somewhat cumbersome. Luckily for you, and Pivos, we spend time with our products before we conduct our final analysis and Pivos has been hard at work developing newer firmware for the AIOS that is not only capable and logical, but dare I say, clean… It almost reminds me of an AEOS skin for XBMC. Pictured below are the old interface (Left) and the new interface (Right) with firmware version 188.8.131.52.
The primary screen is broken down into a few categories. Unfortunately, a couple of them are geared more towards using the internal storage capabilities of the AIOS HD instead of its streaming capabilities. The menu items for Video, Music, and Photo all require SCAN STORAGE setup to index media and this requires the use of media stored on the internal hard drive. If you are a “streamer” you will primarily live in the File Manager Menu. The System menu provides all the configuration settings for the AIOS HD and is broken down into various sections guiding you through your configuration. The Browser Menu is self explanitory and includes links to Facebook, BBC, ESPN, Yelp, and more. Finally, the APPS Menu serves as your gateway to YouTube, Picasa, Flickr, SHOUTcast, etc.
In the File Browser, you will find the necessary menu items to browse your Network, UPNP, NFS, SAMBA, etc. If credentials are required to access your network media, they can be stored for your devices as a shortcut and can be accessed through a few swift clicks of the directional buttons on your remote. Any images stored in the media folders are used as a thumbnail for the folder for easy navigation, however, it recognizes the first image within the folder as the thumbnail instead of the folder.jpg.
Media playback is smooth, even when streaming a 48GB MKV (BD lossless rip) from my NAS. I threw everything I could at it, BD MKV, BD.ISO, DVD MKV, FLAC, etc, it ran without a hiccup. This is the power behind the device and the chipset, the Realtek RTD1185DD. Audio can be processed or passed.
Controlling playback is effortless thanks to the included remote control. Play, Pause, Stop, FF, RW, all work as expected during media playback and the remote control layout is logical. Navigation gets a bit cumbersome with a remote when trying to use the web browser or some of the included applications, but this is a common issue with streaming devices like this and should not deter you as this isn’t its truly intended purpose. There seems to be two versions of the remote control floating around through various retailers, if you are lucky enough to receive the one pictured below, your experience will be a much better one as the layout is far better.