The Popcorn Hour A110 has been available for a few months now and we’re hearing good things about. Unlike many other streaming media players (think Apple TV, PS3 etc) the PCH’s hardware handles full 1080P HiDef without any issues.
The PCH is around £220 and althought it only has a hard wired Ethernet socket built in, there is now a USB Wifi adaptor available. The WN-100 is a 802.11n (draft 2.0) USB device that allows you to bridge your home network to a Popcorn Hour. Engadget have just published their review of the PCH…
“When it comes to media streamers we don’t expect much, as it’s the content we’re interested in, but the two most important factors — temperature and noise — were both easily covered by the A-110. The box is dead silent and doesn’t seem to generate much heat at all. Next on the list is connectivity, and that is pretty good, too. There are two regular USB ports — one on the front and one on the back — for things like USB thumb drives and one USB-PC adapter that can be used to connect to a PC so if you installed an internal hard drive (it makes the A-110 an external HDD but EXT2 support on your computer is required”
“The software isn’t all good though, as it’s missing eye candy like animated transitions and transparencies. There are a few really unusable parts of the UI as well”
This leads to the second issue..
“we would certainly recommend it to anyone who fits the geeky type. But its strongest feature is also its biggest drawback, as we would never recommend this to the simple type — you know the general population”
All-in-all though, if you are looking for 1080P HD streaming (including MKV blu-ray rips) at a price and you can live with the UI, then the PCH may well be for you.