Sunday, October 14, 2007

Popcorn Hour A-100

Syabas have finally put themselves into the hardware game, after being in the firmware development scene for many years. What they've come up with is an impressively compact media player at 270mm x 132mm x 32mm:

The unit is called the Popcorn Hour A-100. As with most of these bleeding edge products, we'll have to see how they meet up to what they offer after release (scheduled for 30 October). It's based on the Sigma SMP8635 chip and so it supports H.264 above all the standard DivX, XviD and WMV9 codecs. It streams all media content over Ethernet! A nice feature they offer is downloading of BitTorrents, which is slowly starting to become a requirement for a top spot in this field.

Currently my favourite unit is the Ziova CS505. I would love to try this baby out, but my collection is already large enough. The price is good at $179 though, so it's tempting. It app
ears to have a lot over the Ziova in not only price ($179) and size, but in features. It's good to see them dropping the DVD drives as they always seem to prove a nuisance on the firmware side and a hence a hindrance to the bleeding edge side of things.

MPC Club Article

Update: MPC has reserved 100 units for those in Europe at a total price of
at most €199. Read more.


  1. Hi Marco,

    here some new picture of NMT

    regards Frank

  2. What are some of your other favorites of this type of device? Its hard to find reliable information about what all is available.

  3. MPC Club is a great source of information on these network media players. I personally have the following:

    * Ziova CS505 - Stablest of the ones out there at the moment and has excellent support (major firmware update just recently released).
    * Snazio Net Cinema HD - A little slow and slightly buggy, but it works well. Support not as good as with Ziova.
    * KiSS DP-558 - Internal HDD onto which you can record. Schedule recordings remotely. Very buggy, but the only all-in-one network media recorder that matches its capabilities. Customer support is pretty shocking as well, although improving slowly since Linksys bought them out.

  4. I just got my A-100 a couple of days ago, and it really is awesome for $179. It plays and streams x264 with AC3 audio like a dream, along with pretty much everything else I throw at it (1080i MPEG1/2 ts rips, VC1 encoded WMV clips). I think some people are having issues with 1080p, but since I only have a 1080i/720p set its not a problem. I love this device, and it will let me skip the format war (at least for set-top players).

  5. Hi Marco, and all..

    does anyone know if teh Ziova CS505 supports H264? Didn't see it listed on the website.. I would LOVE the POPCORN HOUR A-100 if it DVDs and CDs would be insertable :|

  6. No, unfortunately the CS505 doesn't support H264.