Popcorn Hour C-200 Unboxing

by Damian on September 16, 2009 · 12 comments

in News

Almost a month ago Popcorn Hour announced that preorders would begin for their new media player called the C-200. First shipment was supposed to occur on September 4th but got delayed several times, ultimately happening on September 14th. Well, it looks like I was able to get in with the first batch and a few hours ago I had the C-200 delivered to my house. I hope to get a review posted in the coming days, but for now I can share some pictures of the C-200 and initial thoughts.

The first thing you will notice with the C-200 is the size of the box, which is comparable in size to a DVD player box. The box has a plastic handle at the top to carry. The box has a shiny black sleeve over it, with front of the box showing a picture of the C-200 and on the back listing out the specs/features:



Once you slide off the black sleeve you will be presented with the actual cardboard box, and the same details on the black sleeve are also present here.


Pulling out the C-200 was not difficult and it was packed very securely. Styrofoam was used to cushion the C-200, and the additional parts were tucked away in a nice pouch.


Once everything was taken out of the packaging, I was able to inventory all the parts. Included (aside from the C-200) is a power cord, HDMI cable, 2 AAA batteries, 1 RF Remote, an RF antenna, some screws for mounting a ROM drive, and a quick start guide. The RF remote may be a concern as many people rely on IR to use all their devices with a universal remote. Popcorn Hour does offer a separate IR receiver with remote for USD 12.00 which should allow universal remotes such as the Harmony to interact.


As I mentioned earlier the first thing I noticed was the size of the box. I already own a Popcorn Hour A-110, so from the pictures below you can get a sense of just how much bigger the C-200 is.




Looking at the front of the C-200 from left to right you will see a power button, two USB ports, an LCD screen, a few more navigation buttons, and a storage bay for either a HDD or ROM Drive


There is a door with the storage bay that opens up to allow for easy installation of a 3.5″ HDD. The storage bay cover can also be removed to allow for installation of a ROM drive (althought it is not clear at first glance how)


On the back of the C-200 you will see the typical array of outputs, including HDMI, Component Video, Composite Video, S-Video, Stereo Analog Audio, S/PDIF Optical and Coaxial Digital Audio, and two more USB ports.


The left and right side of the C-200 have grooves cut in to provide additional ventilation


 Now for the fun part, time to open up the C-200 and see what is hiding underneath the case. There is a screw in the back of the C-200 that secures the top of the case, simply unscrew and the case top slides off easily, very similar to sliding open a desktop PC case. Once inside you will see the PSU, board, and cage for HDD/Rom. There is a minimal amount of wires and everything appears to be secure and neat. The board comes with two sata ports as well as two sata wires already provided. There are also two free ports if you wanted to install fans into the case.



A closer look at the HDD/ROM cage you will notice that there is a special pre made sata/power cable


Overall I have to say I was impressed with the look and feel of the C-200. The unit feels very sturdy and the overall look lends itself well to a home theatre A/V rack. You definitely feel like you are getting your money’s worth and not some cheap product thrown together in a plastic case. It is obvious that the C-200 is not meant to replace the A-110 but instead compliment. My biggest concern is the lack of instructions. It is clear what needs to be done for installation of a 3.5″ HDD but there are no instructions on what to do for installing a ROM drive, are all ROM drives compatible, etc… I have also read that if you use the ROM drive without an internal HDD (if a ROM drive is installed you can only fit a 2.5″ drive) you need to use a specially formatted USB thumb drive. In my opinion this is something that should be provided with the C-200 at purchase. Hopefully in my upcoming review I can shed a little more light on these potential issues. Also, since you are responsible for providing your own ROM drive, there is potential that the look of the ROM drive does not fit in perfectly with the C-200. I hope that down the road Popcorn Hour does provide a ROM drive that can be purchased separately and is fitted specifically for the C-200.

Popcorn Hour does include a note with the packaging stating that currently FLAC audio codec, Auto Framerate, and Audio CD playback from SATA loader are not yet available. From visiting the NMT forums though it appears the Audio CD playback has been resolved, and Popcorn Hour hopes to have the other two issues resolved shortly.

The biggest negative I encountered with the C-200 is that in all my excitement when it arrived I forgot to watch my 2 year old son who was in possession of a black crayon…


Article by

Hi, my name is Damian, and I'm tech gadget addict! Although I always had some interest in technology, it wasn't until I got my EX470 and more importantly found Mediasmartserver.net, that my interest became an addiction. My goal, aside from world domination and to see the Mets/Broncos win another championship, is to set up the perfect digital home where all my media is available at the click of a button. When I am not writing for Mediasmartserver.net you can find me over at my blog at http://www.adigitalhomeblog.com or follow me on twitter


T-Bone September 16, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Bet your Wife Grounded you hahaha!!!

Alex Kuretz September 16, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Nice writeup, the C-200 looks pretty sweet and I look forward to hearing your experience with the ROM.

Hopefully you aren’t punished by having your new toy taken away! :D

deriksen September 16, 2009 at 11:13 pm

Eagerly anticipating that review Damian. Bet that two year old of yours kept extremely quiet as well, while tagging all over your stairs! ;)

Damian September 17, 2009 at 4:05 am

Let me tell you, my son is only around 20 something pounds yet walks around this house like a 300lb person!!! So of course the little sucker didn’t make a peep while he was preparing his art show. The only saving grace, there is a gate at the top of the stairs that kept his show contained :-)

Danny Owen September 17, 2009 at 8:57 am

Enjoy the new toy, and thanks for the unboxing (although I have already unboxed mine).

Our 3 year old did the same thing with a green crayon, missus and me ended up redecorating the entire lower floor :(

Leo September 17, 2009 at 4:23 pm

Thanks the update (I’m eagerly awating mine).

Would you please elaborate on “It is obvious that the C-200 is not meant to replace the A-110 but instead compliment.”… What can the A-110 do that the C-200 can’t? (i.e., why would you need to keep the A-110 for?).

Damian September 17, 2009 at 5:36 pm

@ Leo – Popcorn Hour has even acknowledged that the C-200 is meant more as a compliment then a replacement. You are paying a premium for the C-200 for the additional features (ability for ROM drive, etc…). The C-200 would be more a player that would be the center piece of your Home Theater, whereas the A-110 could be used throughout the rest of the house (due to size and cost). Also, due to the size I use the A-110 as a portable jukebox when traveling, whereas you definitely don’t want to be traveling with the C-200. Given how many sub $200 players are coming to the market now (Xtreamer, PlayOn, WDTV 2, etc…) Popcorn Hour would shoot themselves in the foot and alienate a lot of current/future customers if they only offered the C-200. I would expect that once all the bugs are worked out of the latest Sigmam chip you will see an upgraded A-110 (I guess you could call it the A-120) running on this new Sigma chip at a price similar to the A-110 or slighlty less.

Chris Noland September 17, 2009 at 6:34 pm

I am not decided on the C-200, I also have a A-110 and it works… but no BD supports has made me hold off major expansion (need 2 more) and was thinking the C-200 maybe the way to go, but it is big!

I am also looking at this device http://dune-hd.com/hd_players/110-dune-hd-base-3.0.html as it seems to have much better integration with MyMovies.

Damian September 17, 2009 at 8:02 pm

@ Chris,

I was looking at the Dune HD as well (see post I actually wrote up when first announced – http://www.mediasmartserver.net/2009/09/05/hdi-announces-hd-base-3-0-and-prime-3-0/). The main reasons why I went with the C-200 was because I felt that the PCH had a larger user base/support community and I was already familiar with their product. Also, I had read mixed reviews about the first gen version of the Dune with BR support, so that put me off a little. I am sure with either the C-200 or Dune HD if you put the time into it you will have yourself a pretty formidable Blu Ray/NMT.

How else does the Dune integrate with MyMovies? I know with the myMovies Collection Manager you can create the metadata for the HDI Dune (AAI files) but with CM you can also create the metadata for the PCH YAMJ Add on (NFO files). Thanks for the input Chris.

Chris Noland September 20, 2009 at 6:38 pm


Based upon the information from Mymovies the Dune HD integration is much easier / better. I use the A-110 with YAMJ but you need to manually run the process (or add as a schedule event) and the searching is not as robust plus it seems to handle episodic’s better (yet to be be personally validated)

Now getting a Dune in the USA is a P.I.T.A. and thus why I have a A-110. I will be very interested in your comments with the C-200 and Mymovies if you have time to run and review (BD titles) and setting up YAMJ on the WHS to run as a service :-)


Damian September 20, 2009 at 6:52 pm

Hi Chris,

I hope to get a preliminary review posted by mid week at the latest (shooting for tomorrow but who knows). I have been running into some issues testing out the C-200 the past few days which i need to reflect in my review. I will be tesing out and reviewing YAMJ along with UMC and Movieflow once I get the C-200 review up (obviously focus is runnig with WHS). Let me know if there is anything else you would like me to look at and I will add to the list.


simon olsen September 25, 2009 at 7:43 am

Your kid has telent.

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