AfterDawn: Tech news

Popcorn Hour adds new media hub for pre-order

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 04 Aug 2008 12:42 User comments (9)

Popcorn Hour adds new media hub for pre-order Popcorn Hour has put two new items up for pre-order on their website today, including a revamping of their popular network media hub and a "barebones" version for users who want to use the hardware to build their own designs.
The new A-110 changes colors to a sleeker black and adds support for HDMI 1.3a output through Dolby TrueHD, DTS HD Master Audio and other related lossless surround formats. The model also now has support for both 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch HDDs, optical SPDIF for audio, and adds a USB 2.0 port to the back of the hub for users who want to keep it "hidden" from view.

Popcorn Hour continues to sell well and is in high demand due to its low price and its ability to support more formats then say, the rival Apple TV device. Popcorn Hour is one of the few media hubs with the ability to natively play Matroska and XviD and also offers direct access to YouTube and Vuze.

Users can share media over a wireless or wired network from Windows Media Center PCs, DLNA or Bonjour. The A-110 can also act as a BitTorrent client or a NAS device or even a web sever although you will need to add a hard drive yourself.

The A-110 is up for pre-order now with a $215 USD price tag but with no set release date.

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9 user comments

14.8.2008 13:59

Damnnnnn..... I just got my A-100 a few weeks ago.

24.8.2008 15:14

Except for the support of HD audio and the USB slave connection, the A-100 will do exactly the same (same chipset, same firmware). The USB slave can be circumvented using a Sharkoon SataQuick Port (QuickPort Pro) so you'd only miss HDMI 1.3 for HD Audio for which you need a receiver capable of these forats (do you?) and even then, I wonder if you would hear the difference :-)

Feel better? :-)
Ok, it's better built as well, a bit more firm and such...

35.8.2008 2:36
david89
Inactive

i like the new look of the player and i think it great added new features.

45.8.2008 5:25

Stay tuned for an article on A-100 (and A-110 / B-110). If there's something you would like covered in the article, please let me know by either replying to this thread or sending me a private message (preferred).

55.8.2008 12:04

Originally posted by mpcguy:
Except for the support of HD audio and the USB slave connection, the A-100 will do exactly the same (same chipset, same firmware). The USB slave can be circumvented using a Sharkoon SataQuick Port (QuickPort Pro) so you'd only miss HDMI 1.3 for HD Audio for which you need a receiver capable of these forats (do you?) and even then, I wonder if you would hear the difference :-)

Feel better? :-)
Ok, it's better built as well, a bit more firm and such...
Don't forget added SATA support. No more shopping around for IDE HDD's :P Tough to find a 3.5" IDE drive that is quiet and cool enough to use in the PCH. I had to buy a 3.5" to 2.5" adapter so that I could use a laptop HDD instead. Silent and cool! It was only $1.98 though with free shipping!

Yeah, I got my A-100 in May, but after reading the specs on the new one, I don't feel like I've lost out (btw, SPDIF out was always supported). It does what I bought it for - To play all video formats. Nice improvements though. Looks great. My friend just ordered the new A-110, so I'll be able to get a closeup. Can't wait to see how it improves by next year. The issue with HD audio through HDMI probably has to do with the fact that a lot of people do not have DTS receivers, therefore couldn't hear DTS audio streams using SPDIF out. Popcornhour offers a free audio converter program that converts the audio to AC3 640k, while still maintaining the DTS audio stream, but it's an extra step needed to hear audio through HDMI with the A-100. Doesn't bother me, but it has been a topic of discussion on the PCH forums for a while. Glad the issue was addressed.

What I still don't see is integrated wireless. There are ways to use a USB wireless stick, but I have not been able to find a thread on the forums that has a solid solution. I'm not concerned with streaming wireless, because HD video files would probably have considerable lag and 1080p would probably be unwatchable in most cases. I would like to be able to transfer video/picture/music files from my network to my PCH HDD without having to bring the PCH to where I have an ethernet connection. And I get lazy carrying my USB drive around whenever I want to watch a movie. My HDTV is in my bedroom. I guess 802.11n needs to be finalized before more devices support it.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 05 Aug 2008 @ 12:19

65.8.2008 13:41

Ok, i left out SATA :-)
Also you issue with a IDE to SATA is resolved as the A-110 is fitted with the ability to use 2.5' hard drives :-) Syabas / PCH have listened very well to consumers (it's an example to many others) and made the best out of the feedback required without going overpriced...

Wireless... There is a USB stick in progress at PoPCorn Hour but so far the performance is based on drivers and not quite good enough yet to be released. There's some tweaking and research going on to improve...

Later editions might get support of Mini-PCI wireless (like B-110).
We don't know yet :-)

Enjoy

75.8.2008 15:59

Emugamer I know of a way to fix your wireless problem. If you own a XBOX you could purchase a wireless adapter for it. Set it up then it should work on any device made for a wired connection. Or buy a used one on ebay that is already setup. I know it would add a small piece of external hardware and the need for another power connection. But I believe it is better than taking the time to install CAT5/6 cabling thought your house.

85.8.2008 17:02

Originally posted by defgod:
Emugamer I know of a way to fix your wireless problem. If you own a XBOX you could purchase a wireless adapter for it. Set it up then it should work on any device made for a wired connection. Or buy a used one on ebay that is already setup. I know it would add a small piece of external hardware and the need for another power connection. But I believe it is better than taking the time to install CAT5/6 cabling thought your house.
Well, I have a chipped XBOX and thought about that. But with the money I had available at the time, I decided to go HD instead with the PCH. It was time to move the XBOX to stay with the SD tv downstairs (even though it was a pretty decent upscaler) and replace it with a smaller HD media box. Getting the PCH was meant to phase out the XBOX and make more room in my bedroom entertainment center for my PS3. The Mrs. didn't like the growing console/game collection in the bedroom :P I could use the PS3 (and I do sometimes), but the PCH was a nice little toy and played HD right out of the box without converting any formats. Plus I'd rather my wife use the PCH over my PS3 for going through our HD home movies and family pictures.

Either way, the compromises of marriage sometimes go beyond reason.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 05 Aug 2008 @ 17:06

96.8.2008 4:54
theridges
Inactive

well i was hoping they would add the HD audio support im excited...
probably finally going to buy one ;)

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