Here is what you might know about the PBO:
- Realtek based (1073DD): enormous media compatibility list (same chip inside Asus O!Play, ACRyan PlayON, and the list goes on), DTS/DD stereo downmix.
- The support community : Excellent user based community, every issue has been addressed and resolved, every possible how to has been written.
- Manufacturer support : whether the PBO is a Chinese clone or not, Patriot memory headquarters are located in California and not half the way across the globe, they are very prompt when it comes to RMA like services.
- Firmware : 9 firmwares already released (latest released Dec 2010), with external DVD support, better TV compatibility, HD-Audio downmix support and internet based content.
- Realtek based (1073DD): so and so wireless streaming, no support for BR menus, hardware bug rending it impossible to pass through HD-Audio.
- The support community : Being all fellow owners, they are all supporting the product out of their own good heart and believe in the box, thus there is no obligation (for them) that your issues will be promptly addressed and there is also no guarantees that it will be resolved.
- Manufacturer support : if your issue isn't hardware related, good luck getting it resolved with Patriot, they simply don't know that much about the software side of the box, its just another hardware unit that they sell and thats as far as it goes.
- Firmware : due to the support point above, firmwares are released whenever they are ready, there is no change/bug/feature list included, NO one knows what issues is a firmware supposed to fix or when is the current reported bugs will be fixed if at all. The firmware released is always as close as it can be to the reference firmware that Realtek supply with the boxes (not that much customization except for PBO logo at the box bootup).
bottom line: though very comparable to any other Realtek based media player the PBO sinks deeply down the list with the lack of development support from the manufacturer and the crippled stock firmware that comes with it.
What you might (most probably) not know about the PBO:
Regardless of the lack of any real investment in the software development of this product, Patriot memory is offering what it can to satisfy their ranting and nagging customers. Thus PM (perhaps because they couldn't care less) has (and continues to release) manufacturer materials that is not typically released to average Joe media player owners.
Results : PM has shared enough knowledge and material with its users that made the box literally "unbrickable" (unless its a hardware failure), while other media players users don't even know what a bootcoder is, PM has released 4 different versions of RT bootloaders for 1073 devices, things like "I have bricked the box during firmware update" are no longer an issue, because you can resurrect your box for $6 of materials and 6 minutes in time. This enabled the PBO owners to liberally experiment with the underlying linux machine on which the PBO interface runs, adding functionality and even fearlessly testing lots of the "unlocked" firmwares available from other boxes (based on similar chipset).
Conclusion: With the proper mods, PBO can easily be cross flashed, and further unlocking lots of features, online content, support for external optical drives, even YAMJ and TVIXIE jukeboxes. Even for those who wont be interested in cross flashing there tons of free applications that will add features like more powerful torrent client, NFS server, UPNP server ..etc. This is all at considerably lower price than all the other RT based players and beside you don't have to worry about sending the box back to china in case you bricked it.