just purchased a Box Office. some answers to you:
To Patriot Box Offi and any current owners:
1. how responsive is the GUI?
I'm browsing media files stored on an internal HDD: I would say it responsive enough not to be a problem. The other thing I've noticed is interface response to be slightly slower when 'Russian' is selected as the interface language.
... is there an option (or coming in the near future) to increase the number of files it can display each page?
Don't see such option anywhere in the menu to configure. Would be nice to have it.
3. can one scroll through lines of files but also by pages as well when dealing with the list? ...
From the Remote Control:
- UP/DOWN keys - scroll list by one line
- NEXT/PREV keys - scroll through list by pages
- RETURN key - go one level up in the folders tree
- ENTER key - enter the selected Folder
- BROWSER key - jump to browser selection menu to choose from HDD, USB, NET, UPNP devices or PLAYLIST
- COPY key - jump to File Copy menu
4. I hope the file list is sorted by alphabet maybe even optionally by date (can you believe it my current player does it totally random?? seriously!!!!)
Yes, files sorted alphabetically (A-Z, no other options)
5. will sub-folders be sorted to the top of the list or treated equally with the files?
Folders (A-Z) always sorted to the top of the list
6. since the BO has a build-in webserver, would there be any chance that one could remotely create and update a playlist via a webinterface? (That would allow me to finally create an affordable Karaoke solution
The browser interface is to control only
the P2P torrent that is built-in (you can access it by typing an IP address).
There is also some way to manage playlists using the remote ctrl, but I never tried to.
7. does the audio settings allow selection of left or right channels to be spanned over both channels for dual channel videos or karaoke?
I believe there is no such option, but you can check the manual available on the manufacturer's web site (the manual does not provide a lot of information, but all available audio options are covered there)
8. what is the fastest fast forward speed (mine is a ridiculous 16x only!)
fastest Fast Forward = 32X
9. is there a bookmarking/resume function? will it be retained after going into sleep mode and a hard power off?
Yes, yes, and I love it. The resume works with zero efforts required from you. The play position is retained after the power physically switched off on the back panel of the Box Office. When playing the movie next time, the Box Office will ask if you want to resume.
10. I assume the BO can be put into a sleep mode when using the remote power off button... will it also power down the USB ports for attached ext HDDs
PWR button on the remote results "Services shutting down..." message on the TV and BO turned off few seconds after. Both, the internal, and attached USB HDDs are turned off. I just tested it.
11. is there an eject function for ext HDD so I can swap them without powering down the unit and fear of killing my drives?
Good question. The "eject" key on the remote control does not seem to do anything.
I just tested my PBO with external HD attached to the front USB connector. The is no definite information on this. As far as I know the USB is designed w/hot swap in mind. Just unplugging alone the USB HD will never kill it. There are some rare cases where you may end up loosing some data (1st case - when write cash is used by software, 2nd- if you pull the USB during that exact moment when it writes data. Modern file systems are journaled - meaning fewer data loss cases, and higher integrity of the data structure.
Thanks for asking. It would be nice to have an "eject" button on the remote control to be utilized and actually power down the external HD - for user's peace of mind.
12. since the GUI is possibly the same as the Asus O Play, can I assume that the GUI is provided by a third party? Do you (or us) have any means to influence their upcoming design and feature set?
I'm not familiar with Asus O Play. I actually don't know.
13. are there any intentions to open up the platform to allow opensource projects for at least the GUI level? This will drive the demand up significantly and give your box a huge advantage!
Agree this would guarantee wider customer acceptance in the market.
There is some interesting info:
the internal HD formatted by my Box Office has three partitions on it:
- "disk2s2" (recognized as Linux Swap) - hidden from user
- "disk2s3" (Linux partition) - hidden from user
- "Partition1" (NTFS) - yours to store all media files.
I assume that Box Office runs Linux inside and there should be enough developers capable to do many more interesting things with it.
thanks for your list of questions. It actually helped me to learn my PBO which I just recently purchased.