Popcorn Hour A-200


We've always had a love-love relationship with networked media tanks, and it's probably because we love to sit on our bums all day (both for work and for pleasure). Today, however, as we finally roll out our verdict on the Popcorn Hour A-200, we realized that it might be time get off our butts and see what else is on the horizon.

Having reviewed 5-star NMTs such as the O! Play, the K200, and the C-200, the A-200 is definitely a step down. Not because it doesn't perform well, but because it doesn't belong in the same tier. It's the more polished version of the original A-110, which started the whole media player craze a couple of years back, but at the same time is essentially a watered-down version of the C-200.

Comparisons aside, the A-200 is a capable machine. It still suffers from the same button lag present in many of its peers and it also has heat issues. Fortunately, the latter no longer makes the machine hang unlike with past PH models.

2 things set the A-200 apart from the lot of NMTs available. First is its "NMJ" or Networked Media Jukebox function, which basically presents all movies, music, and photos in a media wall. It doesn't exactly revolutionize the product itself, but it does make browsing for content easier and more elegant.

With NMJ, you can rate your content and even create your own review, summary, or synopsis. Good luck typing with the remote control's alphanumeric keys, though.

Next is the Apps Market, which, at this point, is a limited collection of 21 apps made specifically for the Popcorn Hour. Some, like the YouTube and Twitter add-ons, are somewhat useful, although they're let down, again, by the remote control. The Market is a nice extra, but ultimately, it's not a make-or-break feature.

Now how about the video-playing capabilities, you may ask? Let's just say we think that NMTs have finally reached the point wherein file compatibility is no longer an issue, especially with constant firmware upgrades. Every HD video we played came out smoothly except for a copy of McGruber, which, for some reason, had several instances of ghosting and banding. Weird.

All in all, the A-200 is something you'll want to buy for P10,500. Just make sure you spring extra for a 500GB++ hard drive to be able to make the most of it.

Click here to see the Popcorn Hour A-200 in the Buyer's Guide.

See also

 

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Performance
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Value
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Overall
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+
  • Jukebox function looks cool
  • Backlit remote control keys
-
  • Slow boot-up
  • Sluggish response time
  • Apps are still limited
Bottom Line
  • A good upgrade but the features may not be enough to convince you to leave your 1st-gen NMT
Editor's Pick No
Price P10,500
Tech Specs

Connectivity

  • Bonjour,UPnP SSDP,UPnP AV,Windows Media Connect,Windows Media Player NSS,Samba,NFS
  • Media Servers: myiHome, myiHomeLite, myiHomeMS (UPnP), MSP Portal
  • Third-party Media Servers: WizD, SwissCenter, Llink
  • Third-Party Jukebox: YAMJ, UMC, Oversight
  • Third-party Apps: NMT Community Software Installer
  • BitTorrent P2P, Usenet downloader
  • NAS Access : SMB, NFS, FTP,Casgle iDVR RSS feed downloader

Web Services

  • Video: Revision 3, Videocast, CNET TV, Mediafly, Mevio, Bliptv, CBS Evening News, CNN Anderson Cooper 360 Daily, CNN The Larry King Podcast, NBC Today Show, The CNN Daily, CNN In Case You Missed It, NBC Nightly News, NBC Meet The Press, CBS Face the Nation, Podfinder UK, Motorz
  • Audio: Jamendo, iPodcast, BBC Podcast, Indiefeed, CNN News, ABC News
  • Photos: Flickr, Picasaweb, Pikeo, 23, Photobucket, SmugMug
  • RSS feed: Yahoo! Weather, NMT Forum, Bloglines, Cinecast, MSNBC News, Traffice Condition, Yahoo! Traffic Alerts, Yahoo! News, Weather Bug
  • Peer-to-peer TV: SayaTV
  • Internet Radio: SHOUTCast™ Radio, Radiobox, Live365 Radio

Supported Media File Formats

  • Video containers: MPEG1/2/4 Elementary (M1V, M2V, M4V),MPEG1/2 PS (M2P, MPG, DAT, VOB),MPEG2 Transport Stream (TS, TP, TRP, M2T, M2TS, MTS),AVI, ASF, WMV,Matroska (MKV),MOV (H.264), MP4, RMP4
  • Video Decoders: XVID SD/HD,MPEG-1,MPEG-2 [email protected],MPEG-4.2 [email protected], 720p, 1-point GMC,MPEG-4.10 (H.264) : [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected],WMV9 : [email protected],SMPTE 421M (VC-1) : [email protected], [email protected]
  • Audio Containers: AAC, M4A,MPEG audio (MP1, MP2, MP3, MPA),WAV,WMA,FLAC,OGG
  • Audio Decoders: Dolby Digital,DTS,WMA, WMA Pro,MPEG-1 Layer 1, 2, 3,MPEG-4 AAC-LC,MPEG-4 HE-AAC,MPEG-4 BSAC,LPCM,FLAC,Vorbis
  • Audio Pass-Through: DTS, DTS-HD HR, DTS-HD MA,Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby True HD
  • Other Formats: ISO, IFO navigation,AVCHD navigation,Simple BD navigation
  • Photo Formats: JPEG, BMP, PNG, GIF
  • Subtitle Formats: SRT, MicroDVD SUB, SSA, SUB/IDX

DRM

  • Cardea DRM (WMDRM-ND),Janus DRM (WMDRM-PD)

Chipset

  • Sigma Designs SMP8643, 667MHz CPU with floating point coprocessor.

Memory

  • 512MB DDR2 DRAM, 256MB NAND Flash

Audio/Video Outputs

  • HDMI v1.3a, 36bpp deep color, 12-bit xvYCC processing and HDCP 1.2 content protection
  • Component Video
  • S-Video, Composite Video
  • Stereo Analog Audio
  • S/PDIF Optical and Coaxial Digital Audio

Other Interface

  • Power LED and Attention LED
  • 1x USB 2.0 host at the front
  • 1x USB 2.0 host at the back
  • 1x USB 2.0 slave at the back
  • Internal mounting for 2.5" or 3.5" SATA HDD
  • Infra-Red Remote Control
  • Full power down, standby and power up by remote control
  • Service pin hole for TV Mode switching and shutting down without remote control
  • Special designed fan that generate very low noise Speed: 3800RPM (typical) 10%
  • Noise Level: 18.5 dB(A),Size: L * W * H =62*62*15(mm)

Network

  • Ethernet 10/100/1000** Mbps

Power

  • AC-DC adaptor,Input 100~240V AC, 50~60 Hz,Output 12V DC, 3A max,typical : 8 W (no additional device installed/attached),maximum : 36 W

Dimension

  • 270 x 150 x 50mm (10.63" x 5.90" x 1.97")

Weight

  • 1.6kg (3.5lbs)



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