Pivos Aios HD Media Centre ReviewnVidia_Freak -
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Closer Look: User Interface
Both the user interface and menu navigation of the Aios are straightforward and not overly flashy. They are pleasing, but not gaudy. After booting up, the main menu appears with a column of icons along the left side that are used to access the various setup options, programs, and file viewers. First up is the file manager, which allows you to access any connected devices. Using the file manager only seems to make video files viewable, but it is a quick way of finding them.
The next three buttons are file browsers for movies, music, and photos respectively. These file browsers display a list of the properly sorted files to which the Aios has access. In order for these file browsers to work, however, the 'Scan Storage' option must be enabled. This option creates file lists by scanning the devices to which the Aios has access. All three of these menus look identical beyond displaying different icons next to the file types.
The Apps menu contains shortcuts to all the included apps that might be commonly used. YouTube, Picasa, SHOUTcast, Yahoo! Finance, Flickr, and others are available at the press of a button. When using these programs, text can be entered either with the remote control via a virtual keyboard or a connected USB keyboard. Of note is the IMS app, located at the upper left. Selecting this app reveals more sub-app choices. Within you will find an internet streaming radio service called cnradio, which offers a wide selection of channels to choose from, including some from around the world. The rest, however, appear to be southeastern Asian movie and television streaming services. Some of them do not load and the system must be rebooted in order to regain functionality. Regardless, I am unable to read any of the languages these apps use; thus I am perplexed as to why they have been included. No matter, they are there for you curious people. The other apps work well enough, although they are very clunky with funky keyboard support (or lack thereof).
The Internet browser that I now believe is a version of Google Chrome, considering all the Google shortcuts available in it, is a little clumsy but is generally workable. Again, navigation is possible without the use of a keyboard or mouse, but full support for these peripherals would be very helpful.
The settings menu grants access to the various settings that determine your auditory and visual experiences in conjunction with basic system settings. The 'System' tab provides the most basic options such as setting the time, programming the screensaver and standby modes, as well as selecting the UI language.
The 'Audio' tab provides access to some of the audio output options, including whether the audio is sent out as lossy or lossless, a choice that must be made if the audio is being further processed by another receiver. One notable option is 'Night Mode', which limits the maximum volume at which the Aios will output audio if it is selected. This selection could be a welcomed fail-safe for quiet, late-night viewing.
The 'Video' tab lets the user select the screen format and provides some visual enhancement settings. One option called 'Deep Color' makes hues more vivid and saturated.
Setting up the network functions included with the Aios is straightforward. A few options are provided to connect the Aios to a wired or wireless network. Within this menu, it is also possible to enable the various downloading abilities of the Aios such as BitTorrent and FTP server hosting. Unfortunately, the use of these functions depends somewhat on the functionality of the built-in web browser that, as previously stated, is not entirely navigable.
Checking the firmware versions and network settings is possible to ensure everything is in working order. The 'Misc' tab also has the option to access a USB thumb drive to find an updated system firmware file.
A couple stragglers are under the 'Advanced' tab, one for subtitle options and another for DTS-HD audio output. These two selections ought to be placed in the video and audio tabs respectively, but unfortunately they reside here.