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on April 8, 2013
The device arrived in it's original box in perfect condition. Setup was super easy, I just plugged in some cables and I was set. The first boot took about 5 minutes, but that was expected. Subsequent boots only took about 30 seconds. I didn't mess around much with all the Android stuff because I didn't have interest in that to begin with. Now onto the main reason I purchased this device ... to run XBMC.

I tried the Android version of XBMC and it isn't really ready for primetime yet (imo). The app froze multiple times and I couldn't get any videos to play all the way through without buffering every few seconds; it was a frustrating nightmare. With that said, the app is in beta and definitely has future potential. Had I not done my research about this product I probably would have given up and requested a refund. But since I did do my research, I have this thing working almost flawlessly since I opted to do the XBMC-linux version install.

For those who don't know, doing an XBMC-linux version install will make your PIvos a dedicated XBMC player. That means you will no longer have access to any Andrioid applications (including the Google Playstore); your box will boot straight into XBMC. Installing XBMC in this manner was not very difficult. If you're familiar with rooting Android phones, you won't have any problem. Configuring XBMC can be time-consuming but worth it. I did find the linux version was a lot more stable and after some tweaking, it runs so smoothly compared to the Android version.

Now onto the box itself. It does get a little warm but I have yet to experience any heating issues even though the unit doesn't contain a fan, and because of that, it runs very quietly. The remote feels like a cheaply made plastic toy and all of the buttons make a very loud and annoying clicking noise. I would compare it to clicker-training a dog. This is definitely not the remote you want to use if you're next to someone who is trying to sleep. Luckily, there are other remotes that can be used. I ordered the Logitech Harmony 300 that many claimed will work (I will find out in the next few days then write a review on that product) but I digress ...

I would definitely recommend the Pivos Xios DS to anybody who wants a relatively inexpensive way to set up a dedicated media center that does not involve having to cable your computer to your tv. I would also recommend the PIvos over the Roku or WD TV or equivalents which have less capabilities. In addition, there is a very active forum community for the Pivos where you can post your questions, concerns, and suggestions (especially concerning XBMC). The developers have done and are doing a great job making this device great.

I would give this product 5 stars if it wasn't for the loud-clicking-cheaply-made remote. However that's not enough to deter me from possibly purchasing another one because it really is a nice little box.
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on August 11, 2013
Edit:

Alright, so I've taken the time to wipe the device, install the Linux version of XBMC, and dropped the android platform. The unit runs 1000 times better and have no issues with the processor or freezing. I did have an issue with the WiFi not connecting but, if you decide to go with this device, there's a forum that will help you through the problem and it's actually pretty simple to fix. I'd give the ins and outs of what to do but this review would be more of a novel than it already is. Just Google "wifi not working on XIOS DS"

I've upped my original review from 1 star to 3 stars. The reason I'm not giving it more is because its a huge pain to have to go through the process of installing the Linux version of XBMC and getting rid of the Android platform, which is actually a shame because the Android platform has some pretty cool features.

All in all, I still believe this device is better suited for people that know their way around computers. If you're good with computers and have the time to install the Linux version, this device will work great. If you're looking for a box that can run Android and XBMC right out of the box, move on.

The remote...... still terrible!

Original review:

When I ordered this unit I was expecting a whole lot more than what I actually got. The system is painfully slow and continually crashes. The apps constantly freeze, along with the system. To the point where I have to unplug it from the power source to re-boot it. As well, XBMC does not come installed on the unit and is not the easiest thing in the world to configure. If you don't know how to install XBMC and you're not very good with computers, I would recommend you get a box that comes with XBMC already installed.

I've tried to find the instructions on how to wipe it and start with the Linux version but to be honest, I'm not even sure its worth the time. The processor in this device is terrible and does not have the processing power to run Android properly, let alone XBMC on top of it.

I'm not even going to go into how terrible the remote is..... Do yourself a favor, if you're going to buy this box, get some sort of wireless keyboard and mouse. It will save you a lot of grief!

All in all, if you're looking for a slow, none responsive box this is the one for you.

P.s, this box is so slow, I've written this entire review waiting for XBMC to open!
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on November 9, 2013
I bought this solely for the purpose of XBMC in an effort to replace an ailing Xtream SideWinder 2. I don't want Android apps on my TV, and I don't want a keyboard. I have a lot of media on a server, and I want to get it off the server onto my living room TV.

Upon opening the package, there is a note from the manufacturer to update immediately. The packing is fairly nice. The unit is amazingly tiny, about the size of a large wallet and weighs next to nothing.

Updating the unit was a pain. You will need to have a MicroSD card handy. I attempted to update by using the button method: press the update button, hold the power, should put you in update mode. Unfortunately this never worked for me. In fact, the power button on the until doesn't seem to do anything at all. Not sure if this is by-design or if my unit happened to have a dead power button. Finding the Linux XBMC firmware on their site was like a game of hide-and-seek.

Once I updated the firmware with the latest Linux XBMC from their site, I thought I was in business. However, I quickly realized that setting up several SMB shares would take me forever using the small, 9-button remote. Thankfully, I had a USB keyboard lying about, and that made the process much quicker.

Thats when I ran into problem #2: The networking does not work. I have a Timecapsule (Apple WiFi with built-in harddrive). Using DHCP, the device detected all the settings except the DNS, which it detects as my GW address (address of my Timecapsule). So, I try to switch it to manual, but the drop-down that controls that setting does not work. In essence, you are stuck in DHCP mode, and as I said not all of the settings are correct. I sent a problem ticket to the manufacturer, but their response was "Yeah, the XBMC firmware has bugs". Ok, so, is there a work around? Is there an ETA for a fix? Because of the networking problem, all the cool gadgets on XBMC, like downloading the information of your TV shows and Movies fails spectacularly, popping up error message dialogs in the middle of watching videos and generally being annoying.

Now on to problem #3: The remote. It's slick, tiny, and looks nice. However, not enough buttons. I get to screens were I absolutely can't figure out which button I need to press to get out. The back button doesn't always work like you'd think. I, personally, will be looking to see if I can get a remote with slightly more functional buttons on it at some point, maybe even a keyboard and mouse on it.

In conclusion: The device looks neat, and I think it has potential, but if you are buying strictly for XBMC functionality I think its a way off. Also, the remote could have more buttons, and the company doesn't really seem to support you rather than just stating the obvious.

**Update**
I wanted to give a quick update as to my extended experience with this unit.

I am still running the XIOS in Linux/XBMC-mode using their latest Beta 2 firmware. I was never able to get the networking to work 100%. I can connect to my local SMB file share as long as I let the unit use DHCP and define all the shares by IP instead of hostname. DHCP still picks the wrong DNS server, which is odd because I have several devices on my network setup to use DHCP, and they all seem to pull the DNS server list just fine. At some point, the device decided to completely disable the ability to even try to put it in manual mode. I did try to SSH into the device and setup the networking manually via CLI, but as soon as I rebooted, XBMC stubbornly turned off the networking settings and I was back to square one. I did contact Pivos about it, and was basically told it's a known issue and to wait for the next firmware. Not much in the way of "support", but I guess that's what you get for running Beta software. As a result, you can't use any of the plugins, update skins, or get any info on any of the videos as the box will simply time out. This has become rather annoying. I have not tried WiFi, as most of my media is rather large and I feel it would not play back very well.

Movie playback, for the most part, is Ok. I have a lot of MKV files, a few AVIs, most in at least 720p, some in 1080p. I have the device set to do pass through audio, which seems to work best through my Onkyo 5.1. I say playback is 'Ok' because I have had a few movies/tv shows that the audio did not sync with the video, usually because the video would stutter and loose tracking. On these videos, the audio track would be ahead of the video, but would eventually snap back after a minute or so. It does get to be annoying when it happens. The other issue we have seen with playback, which seems to be a known issue when I read the forums, is that every once in a while a video will have the sound randomly cut out. Usually stopping and restarting will cure this.

The next problem we have ran into is with the remote. I mentioned earlier in my review that the lack of buttons makes it hard to operate. I do have to retract that a little, as it's mostly comes down to learning curve. Also, since I have an iPhone, I downloaded the XBMC controller, which adds a lot of functionality. The problem is the box's IR seems to go to la-la land every now and then, refusing to respond. You spend the next 2+ minutes trying to determine if you are simply at a bad angle, or if the box is just ignoring your requests. Again, the XBMC remote for the i-Device seems to not have this problem.

Bottom line: If you are looking for a plug-and-play solution to get XBMC on your TV, I think there are other devices that might be better. And judging from the date stamps on the firmwares available from the manufacturer, I don't think these problems will be fixed anytime soon. However, if you don't mind being an "early adopter", the box shows a lot of promise as a media hub, so it may be worth picking up if you can live with all the issues.
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on January 29, 2014
After being informed the AIOS would not do what I wanted (stream movies from my local NAS) by Pivos Support, they recommended I try the XIOS version. I purchased it and it's no better. Just performed the latest software update for the M3 version, and almost all of my applications are gone, there is no access to the Play store (shop), and the wifi is completely useless (I even went so far as to setup the XIOS device NEXT TO my wireless router and still the signal goes from full to zero in 1 second intervals). I'm no newbie with technology, and have been hacking and tweaking various devices for over 20 years. All I want is a way to stream my movies from my NAS drive to any TV in my house. I don't want to carry DVD's all over the place with me.

Go buy a ROKU 3, spend less money, install the Plex app and you're good to go. My 60 year old mom has no problems using the ROKU. Regarding the Plex app, you need to install the server on your computer, which is no different than the XBMC software for XIOS. The Plex server provides similar UI to XBMC but is MUCH easier to configure. Again, my 60 year old mom had no problem setting this up.
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on June 2, 2013
I purchased this as an alternative to an ATV2 with XBMC.

I had originally wanted to use this as an Android box with XBMC so i could also use netflix. When i first got it, the box could play netflix, but it was not in full screen format. It took Pivos about a month or two to come out with a fix and roll it out in a firmware update. Netflix seemed to work okay, but under android, XBMC was painful to use. In my opinion I found some XBMC applications unusable as they had such long loading times, it was ridiculous.

After switching to the Linux xbmc firmware (easy to do followng instructions on their website.) XBMC works very well. It's probably a little faster than my ATV2 in XBMC and it can support full 1080p (unlike the ATV2). I as thikng about sending this back till I did the change to the Linux XBMC. I lost netflix functionality, but as an XBMC box, this little device is very capable.

Another thing to mention is that Pivos support is very good. There is no number to call, where someone answers that may or may not have any clue of what they are telling you. Instead they use a forum to provide support. The support is not instant, as you must wait for a reply, but the moderators that reply to your questions on the forums are guys actually involved with the development of the product and its software. So when they come back with a reply, they very much do know that what they are talking about.

Bottom line, the product has plenty of shortcoming as a Android device. Many of which are probably software related. It's XBMC linux based firmware is excellent. If you like toying with the bleeding edge, you might tolerate the Android firmware. The company is constantly improving it so at some point in the future it may be worth it and work as well as the Linux based firmware. But currently, unless you are interested in running a dedicated XBMC box using the linux build. I would not recommend this as a home theater device running android, but if you need a dedicated XBMC device, this is a great little box.

updated thought: I've seen many devices like this come out at sort of the bleeding edge. but the development team seems very passionate about getting it right, so I would not be surprised if the android side of this box becomes very usable in the future.
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on September 24, 2013
If you want movies in HD the Pivos is the one believe me i tried them all and returned them because when playing 1080 movies they just couldn't handle it, the picture stutters. I found this with all the android movie players, Until i got the Pivos xios and installed the XBMC Linux firmware from there web site, the play back is absolutely flawless and in the settings you can select 480 to 1080p and 2.0 stereo to 7.1 surround and everything in between. I would get a Class 10 micro sd card with it and make a folder called xbmc-data it will speed things up a lot and not use on-board memory, also do a search for xbmc show naming it will make the scrapper more accurate..
I have a Logitech Harmony remote and the Pivos xios is in there Database which make it a perfect add on to the home theater. Also get the XBMC remote on goggle play its real cool not only is it a remote but it will bring all the art from your library to your device too.
If you want to surf the web and check your mail use your phone or computer, but if you want Pure XBMC get the Pivos xios I tried them all.. any question just ask I will see if I can answer them.
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on January 7, 2015
Ok first off I have the Xios DS and now the XS model both have good attributes and bad ones. The DS is more user friendly and does not update automatically like the XS did as soon as I turned it on and conmected to wifi. The XS boots straight into XBMC Tofu a customized version of XBMC with android interface menu inside the apps add on package. The full screen on the XS was not working properly the resolution was off and cutting the images to fix it go to system then settings then video and deselect the full screen window option and any other options selected there. The youtube app in android does the same thing I just go to settings inside XBMC and there is a section for android settings just go to apps in android look for youtube and stop plus clear cache and data and voala all fixed. I also tried installing gotham app inside the android interface and voala way faster than tofu and works perfect you just need to access xbmc though xbmc tofu lol. The XS is way faster than the DS I recommend it.
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on June 24, 2013
Well, to be honest, this device does the main part of advertised features: it plays HD video, hardware decoding works just fine for me. However, it's the only positive thing while the problems list is quite serious:
1. Remote control doesn't allow to use some UI elements even in XBMC (I have problems with virtual keyboard), while Android is totally unusable with this remote. External controller is definitely required (I use regular mouse).
2. While performance of hardware decoder is nice, everything else work slow. Really slow. It's lags on UI elements of XBMC (when playing video on background), it lags on Android, lots of apps including web-browser are slow as hell.
3. Built-in wifi is truly disappointing. With factory firmware it didn't work at all, after the update is started working, but the speed... It's enough to surf the web, listen for a radio and load some SD-video. HD video, even 720 is a no-no. And it's definitely problem of the device's WIFI adapter - read Pivos forums for more info. During my personal tests my laptop was able to play HD video using the same WIFI network and being on the same distance from router as Pivos.
4. I have tons of problems with the device sleeping mode. Sometimes it awakes, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes I can see the Android desktop, sometimes I can only see some system messages (like "mounting SD card"), but nothing else. "Hard" restart always helps, but it takes time.
5. Overall device package is rather simple. No separate audio output (hdmi-only), small amount of internal memory (512mb, you'll need an SD card for sure), stupid remote controller, too weak wifi adapter: all this will either limit the usability of device or force you to spent more dollars to solve this bunch of problems. Altogether with Xios DS itself, it will cost you close to a proper xbmc-pc.

I would really love to like this device, but after a month of using it, well, I can say that it doesn't give me much over the built-in functions of my TV.
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on July 7, 2014
I had high hopes for this device and was very much disappointed! I previously owned a Matricom G Box 2 (purchased from Amazon) that went bad and wanted to watch some movies on XBMC and got a hold of Matricom's tech support and they issued me an RMA very quickly as the device was only 9 months old. I heard some good things about the XIOS and thought I would give it a try. Well... the XIOS is a total slug!! XBMC 13.1 Gotham seemed to work as well as expected, but the Android apps were a terrible experience. Don't even try to stream any BD content across your Windows SMB network! I subscribe to Google Play Music and it was almost impossible to run the app. When you look at the specs, it's very obvious that a single core ARM and 3 GB RAM is the problem. The Matricom G Box 2 has a faster dual core ARM and 8 GB and runs circles around the XIOS. I was hoping to have 2 devices and the XIOS was absolutely impossible to use when it came to running Android apps. It's too bad because Pivos is a big supporter of XBMC and the native Gotham app for ARM installed and ran as well as expected. I just received my replacement G Box from Matricom and loaded everything up again and OMG what a huge difference in performance. This thing is going back! So... I decided to build a Windows 7 HTPC which runs XBMC perfectly at 1080P and will use the G Box on another TV. I read on the Pivos forums that they plan to release a beefy device in the near future and that may solve their problems in this area.
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on May 9, 2013
This really is a great little box for what I use it for, and that's XBMC. I knew before purchasing that I'd be installing the Linux version of XBMC, so I can't speak to how Android is on it. It will play everything I have without issue, including 1:1 BluRay rips with HD audio. It won't (currently) pass the HD audio, but it will down mix it to stereo which I'm ok with since I'm not using a receiver in that room. My only complaints are the remote and the way it doesn't "blend in" with the rest of the electronics around it. The remote has to be pointed pretty much directly at the IR window on the box in order for the button presses to register, and the "click" of the buttons is almost comically loud. I've actually had my wife wake up from a dead sleep due to me using this remote. Anyway, I plan on painting the box at some point and I've been using my Harmony remote instead (it works SOOOO much better). For what I paid for this thing, I am more than happy with it. Buh bye Apple TV!
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