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Syabas Popcorn Hour A-110 HD Media Tank review

Kat Orphanides
23 Jun 2009
Expert Reviews Best Buy Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
190
inc VAT

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Popcorn Hour is made by the little-known Syabas Technology, which produces firmware for other media streamers.

Unlike many of the devices here, Popcorn Hour has only an Ethernet port, although you can buy Syabas's Draft-N WN-100 adaptor for around £40. It has a good selection of outputs, including composite, component, S-video and HDMI.

When we updated the Popcorn Hour's firmware, we received a host of new features, including improved internet radio capabilities. The A-110 also has excellent support for online video, with a built-in client for legal BitTorrent downloads from the Vuze network as well as clients for YouTube and other video services.

The interface is clear and easy to use. The Media Source screen lets you browse your network for shared files and folders. You can also browse content stored on a USB drive. We reviewed the diskless version of the A-110 but you can fit a SATA hard disk or buy one with a 500GB hard disk for around £60 extra, which makes it better value than Netgear's EVA9150.

In menu screens, the remote control's volume adjustment buttons allow you to page up and down through the menu. Coloured buttons at the bottom of the remote let you switch between modes that filter files into video, audio and picture content. Frustratingly, no thumbnails are shown for photos and flicking through images at full screen was sluggish. However, you can pan and zoom, and slideshows played fine.

The Popcorn Hour supports more formats than almost any other device here except Netgear's EVA9150, and its video support is particularly impressive. However, adding WiFi and a hard disk pushes the price up considerably. If you don't need a hard disk, the A-110 is much better value than the EVA9150. It wins a Best Buy award.

Basic Specifications

Rating*****
Media Streamer typestreaming multimedia receiver

Audio Compatibility

Audio MP3 playbackYes
Audio WMA playbackYes
Audio WMA-DRM playbackNo
Audio AAC playbackYes
Audio Protected AAC playbackNo
Audio OGG playbackYes
Audio WAV playbackYes
Audio Audible playbackNo
Other audio formatsDTS, Dolby Digital, FLAC, LPCM, WMA Pro
Internet radio stream compatibMP3, AAC, Ogg

Video Compatibility

Video MPEG-1 playbackYes
Video MPEG-2 playbackYes
Video MPEG-2 VOB playbackYes
Video MPEG-4 AVI playbackYes
Video MPEG-4 MP4 playbackYes
Video MPEG-4 DivX/XviD supportYes
Video H.264 supportYes
Video MPEG-4 MP3 audio supportYes
Video MPEG-4 AAC audio supportYes
Video WMV playbackYes
Video WMV-HD supportYes
Other video formatsMOV, ISO, IFO, MKV, Transport Stream (TS), M2TS, Program Stream (PS), VC-1
Internet video stream compatibFLV (YouTube)

Image Compatibility

Image BMP supportYes
Image JPEG supportYes
Image TIFF supportYes

Network Interfaces

Wired network ports10/100
Wireless networking supportNo
128-bit WEPNo
256-bit WEPNo
WPANo
WPA2No

AV Interfaces

Minijack line outputs0
Minijack headphone outputs0
Stereo phono outputs1
Coaxial S/PDIF outputs0
Optical S/PDIF outputs1
Total SCART sockets0
HDMI outputs1
Component outputs1
S-video output1
Composite outputs1
Other connectors2x USB

Physical

Size32x270x132mm
Antennas0
Internal/external antennasN/A
Upgradeable antennaNo
Power consumption standby7W
Power consumption on7W

Server Compatibility

Software includednone
UPnPYes
iTunesNo
SlimServerNo
SMBYes

Buying Information

Price£190
Warrantyone year RTB
Supplierhttp://www.amazon.co.uk
Detailswww.popcornhour.com

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