Patriot Box Office Review (Page 4 of 4)

Page 4 - Performance and Conclusion

Audio/Video Performance

Multimedia handling and output quality of Patriot's Box Office is generally very good. As far as video streaming is concerned, the media player works as advertised -- it plays pretty much every video file in my library that I've thrown at it, and I noticed no lag or drops when streaming videos over my central wired network. Conditions for network test setup include files located on my QNAP TS-439 Pro network attached storage. Video playback is very smooth and consistent regardless of the source files, whether it is standard definition videos, up to 1080p high definition files with the Ethernet cable attached. However, if you're looking to stream high definition videos, the wireless-G adapter is probably not going to be sufficient. Depending on how far you are away from your router, I noticed massive lag due to its lack of available bandwidth. My router used with testing is a high performance Linksys WRT610N simultaneous dual-N router flashed with DD-WRT. Again, this is where wireless-N really comes in handy, and I don't see why the optional wireless network adapter has to be a G-g-g-g-g-g-g unit... I mean, G unit. (I know, the joke is kind of lame. It just kind of came along, haha. I don't even listen to this type of music.)

As far as audio quality is concerned, I did subjective audio testing with the digital optical output to my Yamaha receiver, then constantly switched between its component analog inputs as well. A digital connection is not necessarily dependent on the device itself, because the signal is converted to analog on your receiver rather than relying on the DAC and operational amplifiers on your Patriot Box Office. The Cirrus Logic CS4352CZZ DAC on the Patriot Box Office provided surprisingly excellent performance, especially for a $100 device. I felt that the upper midrange detail is slightly less compared to the output processed by my receiver, contributing to slightly less depth overall. Other than that, both are surprisingly close in performance -- for most people, you will need to listen fairly closely in direct comparison to tell the differences in detail. I verified my results with other people doing a double blinded test to ensure that placebo effect does not come into play.

Network Performance

I didn't benchmark it over wireless, due to the lack of objective and consistent results. I tested the Patriot Box Office's maximum network throughput with a CAT5e cable connected to my switch. Since the onboard adapter only functions up to 100mbps, that's the speed it was ran at. Generally speaking, if you're planning to use the Patriot Box Office as a network attached storage device, don't expect too much -- it is possible to be used for this purpose, but you're not going to get any faster than the 5.36MB/s (42.88mbps) result I obtained in the graph above. By the way, the Patriot Box Office also has minor NAS features such as the ability to download torrents in its basic web configuration interface. If you are just using your network to copy files into the media player's internal hard drive and the data doesn't change all too often, this is certainly not going to be much of a problem. It is also sufficient for streaming high bandwidth media files (The most probably being 1080p videos, and this is certainly not a problem). Just for your reference, our QNAP TS-439 Pro dedicated NAS pulls 61.5MB/s over the same network!

USB Performance

In all honesty, the USB performance when directly connected to my system can't be regarded as particularly brilliant either. Its onboard USB controller only managed to obtain an average HDTach read result of 19.0MB/s -- it's clear that the hard drive is not the bottleneck here. Again, if you are using this feature to copy files into the media player's internal hard drive and the data doesn't change all too often, this is certainly not an issue. I am doing this only for your reference, haha.


The Patriot Box Office media player is a surprisingly powerful and versatile media player -- especially when keeping its $100 price tag in mind, the value it delivers to the consumer is simply impeccable. And if you would think Patriot really cut corners in hardware at this price, you'll be wrong. The build quality is excellent. It's sleek, and it's stylish. It comes with a full featured remote control, and a bunch of cables that you might need. It has all the digital and analog connectors you can reasonably ask for. Heck, even the onboard Cirrus Logic CS4352CZZ DAC for those sticking with analog connections also delivers surprisingly good audio quality! The only thing I can ask more is a Gigabit Ethernet port, and the optional wireless adapter to be N-based to improve network performance. What we have here is something that can stream HD video in pretty much any format, play music on the big system from practically any source, and even act as a basic network drive... the fact that it does all of them very well is nothing short of impressive. However, while Patriot has mostly got it right in terms of hardware other than minor annoyances such as the front blinking network activity LED, the software is mostly primitive and lackluster in my personal opinion. It simply doesn't provide the experience users would come to expect for a home entertainment device. If they work on the user interface frontend, and redesign the way in handles the media library on the backend, we would have a real winner here. But for now, the otherwise excellent hardware Patriot provided is brought down by the subpar software experience on the Box Office. Hardware cannot be easily changed without cost to the end user after the product is yours. But the software, all this can be made possible easily -- and the Patriot Box Office desperately needs a thorough firmware update to unleash its true potential.

Special thanks to Mary over at Patriot Memory for making this review possible.

APH equal.balance Award | APH Review Focus Summary:
6/10 means A product with its advantages, but drawbacks should not be ignored before purchasing.
7/10 means Great product with many advantages and certain insignificant drawbacks; but should be considered before purchasing.
-- Final APH Numeric Rating is 6.6/10
Please note that the APH Numeric Rating system is based off our proprietary guidelines in the Review Focus, and should not be compared to other sites.

The Patriot Box Office is a sleek, stylish and versatile network media player that delivers incredible bang for your buck.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look - Hardware
3. A Closer Look - Software
4. Performance and Conclusion