Pivos Aios HD Media Centre ReviewnVidia_Freak - October 4, 2011
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Social networking is very much a part of everyday life, whether it be on Facebook and Twitter or, for the more visually oriented, YouTube and Flickr. Whether one chooses to partake in these forms of communication is one's own decision, but even hardware manufacturers and their authorized resellers make use of these media networks for the sheer number of people they can reach. Free stuff, discounts, and deals are some of the things that are beginning to be limited, albeit in small scale and amounts, to these media. Whether one continues to stay out of or become sucked into these media is irrelevant in the face of their popularity, and one simply cannot deny that they are immensly popular.
It comes as no surprise then, considering the popularity of social networking, that devices supporting these social media are being produced. It may be surprising, however, to learn that some are being made for the exclusive use as a social networking hub. Pivos, a new, California-based company, has introduced the Aios, which is an HTPC-sized media center/social networking hybrid device. Streaming music, movies, TV, YouTube, SHOUTcast, and Flickr are just some of the tasks for which the Aios is designed. No major components comprise the inner workings of the Aios because it's optimized to be completely dedicated to those tasks. Let's have a gander.
The Aios arrives in Halloween-colored boxing. Pure coincidence I'm sure, but the timing is nearly impeccable. Upon first glance, it looks to be a pretty cool piece of equipment. Coincidentally, Pivos has gone to some lengths to tell me that it is indeed a very cool thing with its multitude of features and capabilities displayed on the box. 1080p, 7.1 surround sound, gigabit ethernet, wireless N, USB 3.0, BitTorrent support, web browsing, and file sharing are just some of the things capable with the Aios.
At the low price of only 100 USD, this could be very tempting to those thinking of setting up an HTPC room but don't care to spend so much money for a dedicated system. The Aios is certainly very attractive considering all the media it is capable of handling. Equally impressive is the fact that it can manage nearly everything from anywhere so long as it is connected, whether it be via wired or wireless networking, any of the video inputs, or even an internal hard drive. Indeed, the Aios supports, but does not include, the addition of one 3.5" bay-capable SATA hard drive. Even if the Aios is completely isolated, it can still be used to play back anything located on the hard drive. Considering the small volume of space the Aios uses and its light weight, it could easily be brought on an extended trip and used in hotel rooms with HDMI-capable displays, or with any such display for that matter. It is, without a doubt, a very versatile device.
In addition to the playback of various media formats, the Aios also supports basic web browsing through a trimmed-down version of Internet Explorer. Although I would rather see something other than IE, I would not consider doing anything particularly private or personal with the Aios. Plus, the risk is minimal if only media files are stored. The Aios also has specific applications for places such as YouTube, Flickr, and internet radio among others. The socialites among you will not be disappointed with this integration. (Un)fortunately, there are no apps specifically made for the likes of Facebook or Twitter, but rest assured - they can be accessed via the built in web browser.
Included with the Aios are a few things to make getting started a little easier: a couple of pamphlets answer any immediate setup questions, a standard A/V RCA cable to connect a DVD player or other RCA device, a USB3 interconnect for use with a computer, a remote control, and two screws to facilitate the installation of an internal storage drive. The remote itself is full-featured and contains buttons for everything. The remote is large and medium-weighted to make gripping comfortable. The included pamphlets explain the functions of the buttons should any issues arise.