Popcorn Hour C-200 Review

by Damian on September 22, 2009 · 121 comments

in Reviews

A couple days ago I posted the unboxing of my just arrived Popcorn Hour C-200. So now the question is, does it live up to the hype?  Going into this I tried to keep an open mind. I am an owner of Popcorn Hour’s A-110 and have had a mixed experience with it (device played everything I threw at it, had issues with firmware updates and eventually the NIC died on me with only minimal use). I realize that the C-200 is still for the more tech savvy person and being part of the first batch (also known as early adopters) there are probably going to be several bugs I will encounter along the way, but given the price tag and the hype I must admit that my expectations are high. For this review I decided to focus on getting the C-200 up and running as is out of the box. The only modification I will make is to add a Blu Ray ROM drive and USB Stick (necessary for BD Live features unless you also install an internal HDD). I plan on doing a separate review in the coming days testing out some of the popular jukebox add ins.

Before being able to start testing the unit I needed to do a few things. The first thing I did was pull out a Blu Ray / HD DVD Combo ROM drive from one of my HTPCs and installed into the C-200 ( I rarely used this drive in my HTPC). The process was very easy to do, and  there is a great video on You Tube to walk you through this as long as you ignore the bug that kept flying through the field of view (reference to the video can be found in the “Links” section at the end of this post). The ROM drive does not perfectly fit in with the look of the C-200 but it is good enough for my taste.

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Also, as I mentioned earlier since I wasn’t planning on installing an internal HDD I needed to install an internal USB thumb drive for use with BD Live. A minimum of 2GB of memory is needed, so I went with a 4GB HP USB drive I had lying around (I really think this is something Syabas should have provided). The following steps need to be followed to prepare the USB drive:

  1. Format a USB Stick with 2GB or more to fat32 or ext3
  2. create directories “bdj/ada” and “bdj/buda” (case sensitive) on the Stick
  3. plug in the USB device and it will be automatically mounted as PERSISTFS
  4. Now you can playback BD’s with BD-J and BD Live

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EDIT (Oct 7) – I ended up getting an internal 2.5″ drive to replace the USB stick, see below picture:

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With the BR ROM drive and USB drive installed, the final few steps I had to do was to update to the latest firmware and set up a network share via samba for testing.  You can update to the latest firmware from the Setup menu in the C-200 but for whatever reason this was not working, so I had to do a manual firmware update (see “Links” section).

Setting up the samba share  is very easy to do in the “Network Share” section of the Setup menu. It is not necessary as my MSS already has DLNA compliant UPnP media server software (PVConnect) which the C-200 can see, but PVConnect has a lot of limitations with the types of files it recognizes (such as mkv, Video_TS as a DVD, etc…).

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With everything now set up I can focus on the areas that were most important to me while testing out the unit:

UI Appearance:

Not much has changed from the A-100/A-110 aside from the coloring. Although functional, I am not a big fan of the stock UI as it is just too outdated and has too much of a Windows Explorer feel to it. There are plugins such as YAMJ that can enhance the UI experience, but in my opinion it is time Syabas step up to the plate and create a stock UI that shows some thought/creativity was involved without requiring the consumer to search out plug ins. There was mention on the NMT forums that Syabas is working on obtaining a license for RichObjectBasedGraphics (possibly meaning Flash based?) which once obtained could lead to some changes/enhancements to the UI.

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LCD Screen:

Sounds good on paper, but that is pretty much it. The contrast ratio is pretty bad so unless you are 6 inches away from the screen it is hard to read (even that close I had a hard time reading). I guess an LCD screen could be useful if you want to play back music without having to turn on the TV to navigate, but that is all that comes to mind. As far as I am concerned you already have a perfectly fine LCD screen to use, it is called the TV.

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Responsiveness:

One gripe I had with the PCH A-110 was the poor responsiveness when navigating through the UI. I always felt like button strokes were constantly missed with the IR remote, and jumping from one item in a list to another was always delayed. I am happy to report that that with the new Sigma chip in the C-200 much of this poor responsiveness is now gone. I have been able to navigate through the list of my entire movie collection seamlessly with little if any delay. Also, Syabas opted to go with an black RF remote for the C-200. This may have helped resolve some of the responsiveness issues since line of sight was no longer required. The one potential issue with an RF remote being included is that many people use Universal Remotes to control their equipment via Infrared. To accommodate these people a separate IR Receiver/remote can be purchased  for USD 12.00, yet I have no idea why the IR remote is not black (maybe they figure that if someone is going to get the IR kit they are only looking to use the IR receiver anyhow???).

Network Performance:

Right now this is probably the single biggest bug many owners are dealing with, including myself. It appears there is an issue with the NIC of the C-200 negotiating over a gigE network, in particular when streaming via smb. For folks who have a gigE network the result is choppy/stuttering playback of high bit rate content, which pretty much means my entire HD collection. Some suggestions to temporarily fix the problem have been to throw a 10/100 router into the mix, change the MSS NIC setting to 100FULL, or change the streaming protocol being used. I prefer not to mess around with any network setting on my MSS, so instead I set up an HTTP stream using myiHome. Any stuttering I was getting over smb went away with myiHome. The main drawback to HTTP streaming is that you cannot play back correct DVD Structure folders (Video_TS, BDMV, BD ISO). For example, if you have a Video_TS folder HTTP streaming will just view this folder as a bunch of vob files that you can play back individually whereas smb recognizes the Video_TS folder as an actual DVD. Syabas is aware of  this issue and hopefully it will be resolved in an upcoming Firmware update. About half of my video collection is in Video_TS so using myiHome is not the optimal solution.

Video Playback:

This is probably one of the first things people ask when they hear about a new media player being announced, does it play x format in x container at x fps… One thing that the PCH A-110 was known for was the ability to play back almost anything thrown at it. I am happy to report that the same goes with the C-200. I tested different file types from my collection (ranging from basic xvid avi files to high bitrate Blu Ray mkv/ts to 1080p Apple Trailers) and not once did I have a problem with playback.  There are also some good HD clips that frequently get asked to be tested, so I got hold of some of them and tested out, all passed with flying colors.

Transformers 1080p h.264 16 reference frames

Planet Earth – From Pole to Pole 1080p h.264 16 reference frames

Casino Royale Variable BitRate Averaging 47MB/s

Planet Earth – Bird Clip 60MB/s

Audio Playback:

The key here for me was to see how the C-200 would handle HD Audio (such as DTS-MA and TrueHD) from my Blu Ray files. I connected the C-200 directly to my 5 year old Sony LCD TV via component. I was able to play back all my Blu Ray movies with sound which means that the C-200 was able to successfully downmix the HD audio tracks to stereo. This is a big plus for me as I will never buy another media player again that does not support HD audio downmix.

The next test was to see if the C-200 hooked up via HDMI to my Onkyo receiver would correctly bitstream HD audio, from both the Blu Ray ROM drive and from files stored on my MSS. I grabbed my Gran Turino Blu Ray disc, which has Dolby TrueHD audio, popped it into the C-200, and a few minutes later the Onkyo confirmed that TrueHD was being bitstreamed by the C-200.

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Next I grabbed my Quantum Of Solace Blu Ray disc, which contains DTS-HD audio. Once again, the Onkyo confirmed that the C-200 was bitstreamining the DTS-HD audio directly to the receiver.

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With Blu Ray discs out of the way, now was time to test out my mkv/ts Blu Ray rips stored on my MSS. Unfortunately the C-200 was unable to bitstream the HD audio from these files and instead only sent through the core audio. Syabas has acknowledged this issue and it is hopefully something that gets fixed in an upcoming firmware update.

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I did confirm as well that the C-200 does not support multi channel FLAC currently.

DVD ROM Playback:

As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I installed an LG Blu Ray/HD DVD combo ROM drive into the C-200. The first thing you need to do is set up the Region Code for both DVD and Blu Ray playback (refer to the links section on how to set up). With the Region Codes set up properly I tested out a few Blu Rays which played back with full access to the menus without any problems. I have read on the NMT forum of people having problems with audio dropouts, but I did not experience any of this. The one issue I had was when I exited from the Blu Ray movie back to the C-200 main menu the screen size would not refresh properly (as seen below) so I had to make some adjustments to get back to normal. This could be due  to some setting that I need to set, but I haven’t had a chance to investigate further (issue only occurred on my TV connected via component).

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Unfortunately all wasn’t rosy with the DVD ROM playback. When I tried  to play back standard DVDs the ROM drive would think for a few seconds and then nothing would happen. If I attempted to do anything other then eject the DVD the C-200 would freeze and I would need to do a manual shutdown. I am not sure if this is a C-200 issue or if there is a problem with the ROM drive, I hope to do a few more tests to draw a better conclusion on where the problem lies.

To add to the confusion, there is no official list of what ROM drives are compatible with the C-200. This is something I believe Syabas should have worked out prior to releasing the C-200 and not left up to the consumer to do the dirty work.

Online Content:

I only spent a few minutes in this section. I tested out a few You Tube videos as well as some of the other sites. Everything worked as expected. Netflix and Hulu is missing which is a bummer but not unexpected. There was a hint on the NMT forums that once RichObjectBasedGraphics was implemented this could eventually lead to Netflix, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. I took advantage of the 50% off on Media Mall’s PlayOn but have read that PlayON isn’t working well with the C-200 so I will probably hold out a little longer before actually testing.

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Final Thougths:

I have had the C-200 for about a week now and have mixed feelings. On the one hand I can see a lot of potential with the new Sigma chip and the integration of a Blu Ray ROM drive. On the other hand there are still bugs to be worked out, some more serious than others. The stock UI needs to be dumped already in place of a much more feature rich UI. There is also a sense that the C-200 was rushed to the market a little earlier than it should have been (case in point the lack of a compatible DVD ROM list). Being in the first batch I am considered an early adopter, so I am comfortable with the fact that I may have to deal with some growing pains as the product matures. However, as Popcorn Hour products grow in popularity I have a feeling that more and more consumers are not going to accept this and will expect a polished product upon release. Also, in the long run it will be interesting to see how the C-200 fairs as the competition at this price point (assuming USD 400+ with BR Rom drive) now includes very capable HTPCs. Overall I am glad I made this purchase and am very interested to see where this goes, but I would recommend that most people hold off on purchasing the C-200 until it has a chance to mature and work out the kinks.

Links:

Known Issues:





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


{ 120 comments }

Alex Kuretz September 22, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Nice review, Damian, but unfortunately it’s as I feared it would be. These devices, while they play everything, are small, and getting better all the time, are still too complicated for the average user and require way too much tweaking to get them working right.

Sam Wood September 23, 2009 at 4:17 am

Thanks for the review, Damian. I’ve been waiting for someone else to try out the C-200 before I put down my (NZ exchange rate inflated) dollars.

I love my A-100, but I was really looking for a compelling reason to upgrade to the C-200. I guess we’re not there yet. Time to break out the SDK docs and see if anything has changed… my A-100/A-110 WHS Add-in didn’t get very far beyond the prototype stage :)

J.P. Hornbrook September 23, 2009 at 8:26 am

Thanks for the great review. I’ve been thinking about ordering one of these, but it would definitely see (from your review and their forum) that waiting for a few months might be the best course of action (for me).

Damian September 23, 2009 at 8:49 am

@ Alex – there are definitely some moving parts involved that would be too much for the average consumer. Maybe down the road the C-200 will be offered with ROM drive, etc already installed and a more robust stock ui to make it more of a plug and play device (of course with tweaking still available for us tweakers)!!!

@ Sam – hmm… an A-100/A-110 WHS Add-in, what did you have in mind, I am sure it would be a big hit with all the PCH/WHS users???

@ J.P – I agree, the C-200 will still be available in a couple of months, so can’t hurt to let all the suckers like me work out the bugs for the time being :-)

Sam Wood September 23, 2009 at 1:29 pm

@Damian – It was/is a web service for streaming media to the Popcorn Hour over HTTP (through IIS). The UI was going to be completely different (as you pointed out, the built-in UI is pretty bland), so I could display show metatdata/previews (pulled down from TVDB) and a bit of alerting (show me the videos I haven’t watched).

Damian September 23, 2009 at 2:15 pm

Thanks Sam,

There are plug ins already out there such as UMC, YAMJ, etc… but woudl be nice to have something integrate with WHS and less involved to set up. I hope this isn’t something you have given up on :-)

Sam Wood September 23, 2009 at 2:24 pm

Yeah, this was more an exercise in “can I get it to work?” than anything. Also, I don’t have a HDD in my A-100, so I can’t use the on-disk jukebox/UI replacement plugins.

Garry September 24, 2009 at 11:07 am

Thanks for the review. I’m glad I’ve cancelled my C-200 order. Back to HTPC route for now.

John Pombrio September 24, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Hey Damian, sounds a LOT like the PCH A-100 doesn’t it? Not much of a new product as it is a hardware refresh.
One of the things you did not mention was putting in a hard drive and running content from there. That is what I finally did with my PCH. A small portable box with a whole bunch of content that is easily moved around or brought to a friends house. T’hell with the streaming stuff! Sure make life a lot easier when all I have to do is move the content onto the hard drive and play it.

Damian September 24, 2009 at 5:20 pm

@ John – at least for now I agree more of a hardware refresh. I actually just ordered a small 2.5″ hdd (320GB) to install. Reason why I did not focus on that is because the main goal as a WHS is to play media off my server. For me it defeats the purpose to move files off the server to watch. The A-110 was great for storing movings on an internal HDD only because then it became a mobile jukebox, the C-200 is way too big. Thanks for the feedback though.

Piak September 25, 2009 at 6:22 pm

Nice review.
Thanks.

Quaddy September 26, 2009 at 9:42 am

john, you can improve the contrast on the LCD (i am not talking about the DIM button) there is a contrast trim pot inside the unit, that with a small philips head screwdriver can vastly improve the screen, making the blue a lot darker than the stock washed out shade

link posted thanks to james7604 on AVForums

WP September 28, 2009 at 5:33 am

Damian,

since you do have installed a combo player, does the Popcorn enable to playback HD-DVDs?

WP.

Quaddy September 28, 2009 at 5:39 am

/\/\ C-200 does not enable HD-DVD playback. i have an LG combo unit and the C-200 chip doesnt support it.

DamianP September 28, 2009 at 5:39 am

WP – unfortunately the Sigma chip does not support HD-DVD playback. Shame since I have about 30 HD-DVDs.

DamianP September 28, 2009 at 5:41 am

@ Quaddy – thanks for the link on the contrast of the LCD, I will have to give that a try

DamianP September 28, 2009 at 5:43 am

@ Quaddy – I have had mixed results with the LG combo drive I installed in the C-200. As I mentioned in the review, I was able to get Blu Ray playback without a problem but trying to play back SD DVDs from the C-200. I was able to confirm yesterday that there is not a problem with the ROM Drive ( I reconnected the ROM drive to my HTPC and had no issues playing back SD DVDs). Interestly enough, when I put the Combo drive back in the C-200 it now freezes when trying to play Blu Rays (only change I made was to remove internal USB stick and instead installed 2.5″ drive).

Quaddy September 28, 2009 at 5:50 am

@ Damian, hmm, i have the same drive as you. i am able to play SD DVD discs fine, i just have a 2GB usb drive attached internally for bdlive. silly as it sounds, would be interesting if you put your USB drive back and disconnected HDD and see if the DVD works again

BTW, another silly tip :) – on our drives, there is a peelable, hard to see layer of cellophane on the one piece portion that the eject button is on, not sure if you have, or wanted to remove it!

DamianP September 28, 2009 at 5:58 am

@ Quaddy – Yeah, I am thinking about reconnecting the USB drive to see what happens. Funny enough, with the 2.5″ drive I loaded Iron Man BR in the ROM drive, it loaded fine, I was asked if I wanted to download the BD Live stuff or go directly to the main menu, I selected to go to the main menu of Iron Man and that is when it froze. Haven’t been able to get it working since. A few other people have gotten the LG Combo drives working fine, so not sure what my problem is. I left a note on the NMT forum, see if anyone else is having this issue, especially with the 2.5″. I will probably just wait for the next firmware update before I dig into any further.

Thanks for the silly tip :-)

Quaddy September 28, 2009 at 6:09 am

@ Damian

regarding your HDD not playing BR…

maybe give this a shot: “fat32 formatted – create both directories in the root called bdj/ada/ and bdj/buda (case sensitive)

also a reset to defaults may help with the SD DVD issue.

failing that, yeah i agree with you about waiting for some more stable FW!!

DamianP September 28, 2009 at 6:27 am

@ Quaddy,

I let the C-200 format the drive by installing the NMT apps, but I may try your suggestion which is what I did with the USB Drive. Battling some WHS demons right now, but hopefully once I get that sorted out and can get back to messing around with the C-200.

NMTNewb October 7, 2009 at 6:44 am

Really interested in this unit therefore your review was very helpful. Thanks Damien.

I read on some forums that the C-200 doesn’t limit the disc spinning speed of the BR drive to the minimum required and it therefore constantly runs at full whack. I find that hard to believe and would like to know what your experience is?

Damian October 7, 2009 at 7:45 am

@ NMTNewb – Glad you found the review helpful. To be honest, the longer I have had the C-200 the more little things have started to annoy me. For one the UI main menu uses icons, so it is not always entirely clear what each icon is, especially if I expect my wife to use. Second I have had intermittent freezes where I have had to do a manual reset of the system. Of course the issue with gigE networks via smb is still causing pain. Being an early adopter or not I am still somewhat dissappointed that the C-200 was released in the shape it was.

As far as the BD Rom, I am having problems with mine. Aside from the problem with SD DVDs that I mentioned above, now I am having issues with BR disk playback. I hope to look into this further this weekend, and let you know what I find out about the disk spinning issue.

Damian October 7, 2009 at 7:46 am

I ended up putting in a 2.5″ internal drive, so being of post for a picture. The ROM Drive just fits over the HDD.

Steve October 11, 2009 at 12:00 pm

Damian thanks for your review, one thing I need to know before I purchase the C-200, will it play Blu-ray format movies from a USB hard drive. I have a A110 at the moment that I think is great but as it only plays M2TS files I cannot display the sub-titles. thanks, Steve

Damian October 11, 2009 at 3:43 pm

Steve – what specifically are you talking about, a clean Blu Ray Raip (i.e. full structure) and/or ISO? I would be glad to test out, just want to confirm what you are looking for, let me know.

Steve October 12, 2009 at 10:01 am

Hi Damian, I rip the Blu-Ray movie with Any-DVD onto my hard drive, then use tsmuxer and end up with a M2TS file that will play ok on my Popcorn A110 using a external USB hard drive. The problem is because it is not in a Blu-Ray structured folder it will not play any sub-titles. If you would be so kind as to test your unit to see if it will play a full structure rip (from an external USB hard drive,) and check if the sub-titles can be played. I would be very grateful, as this is the only reason I would buy the C200. Thanks, Steve

Damian October 16, 2009 at 7:34 am

Hi Steve,

Sorry it took so long for a response. I haven’t had a chance to check out subtitles yet, so I went to the NMT forums and it appears getting subtitles to play in a ts/m2ts rip is causing issues, but hopefully nothing a firmware update can’t fix:

http://www.networkedmediatank.com/showthread.php?tid=28750

Cheers
Damian

Steve October 16, 2009 at 9:09 am

Hello Damion, thanks for your response I have had a look at the forum it seems people are having trouble playing subs with a M2TS file, but nobdy has mentioned using a complete untouched Blu-Ray rip, left in a blu-ray format, ei; the same as it would be on the disc. The A110 will not reconise the blu-ray file struture but I was assuming the C200 would do, and may play sub titles and be able to select chapters. If you ever find the time to try I would be greatful for your help. Steve

Damian October 16, 2009 at 9:25 am

Steve,

I just need to see if I have an external drive (my usb thumb drives arent large enough to handle a full br rip with full structure). If I do I will test out this weekend, I will just use AnyDVD to keep the entire BR Disk structure in tact, copy over to the external drive and see if I can get subs to work (I think I might have an old external drive lying around somewhere).

Steve October 16, 2009 at 1:06 pm

Thanks Damian that would be great, if you have not got an external drive perhaps you would try it out on the internal drive, (thats if you have one fitted of course). I would think that if it works on an internal drive it would also work on a external? Look forward to the results of your test.

Damian October 16, 2009 at 1:18 pm

I will probably do whatever is faster. I do an a 320GB drive fitted internally, who knows what kind of transfer speed I will get considering all the gigE issues… I will report back this weekend, I should have some time by Sunday to test out.

Damian October 19, 2009 at 4:24 pm

@ Steve,

Ok, finally found a few minutes. I transferred in tact X-Men Wolverine over to an external USB drive. Plugged the drive into the C-200 and was able to play the movie as if I had the BR disc in. At the menu I selected Mandarin as the subtitles, and when the movie played it played in English with the Mandarin subtitles showing as well. I never use subtitles but I assume this is what you are looking for?

Steve October 20, 2009 at 10:15 am

Thanks very much Damian for going to all that trouble, yes you have answered my query perfectly. I can now order a C200 knowing it will do what I want it to. The reason for the sub-titles is so that they will display when I am watching a foriegn film like “The Black Book” with the A110 it would not do this. I am very pleased the outcome of your test has given me the answer I hoped for. Best regards, Steve

Scott October 22, 2009 at 10:52 am

Damien,

I know you can’t get HD Audio codecs to passthrough in mkv rips, but when you had the full Blu-ray file structure, did the HD Audio bitstream? When you ripped Wolverine did you do it as an ISO or just the file folders? Finally can you set it to whatever Region you want? It would be nice to have a second Blu-ray player that plays Region B dics instead of having to always rip them. Thanks, Scott.

Damian October 22, 2009 at 11:04 am

Scott – you can only assign one region for each disc type (you set one region for Blu Ray and one region for SD DVD). I think you are allowed to only switch regions something like 5 times before you get locked out completely (so you won’t be able to switch back and forth).

I didn’t have the C-200 hooked up to my receiver when I tested the Blu Ray Disc (I had it as a file structure and not ISO). My understanding is that HD Audio Bitstream right now only works from the physical disc. I do expect this issue to be resolved in an upcoming FW update (hopefully sooner than later)

Cheers
Damian

Scott October 22, 2009 at 1:09 pm

Thanks Damian. I would just leave it as a Region B player since I already have a Region A Blu-ray player. Cheaper and simpler than trying hack an existing player. Is the HD Audio Bitstream problem definitely a firmware issue or is there a restriction/limitation based on the HD Audio license?

Damian October 22, 2009 at 1:26 pm

Syabas has assured that the HD Audio Bitstream issue is purely SDK related and will be fixed with an updated FW. There is no indication that this is a license restriction. Many people have complained about this feature missing so hopefully it is high on their priority list.

Karl October 30, 2009 at 5:42 pm

Damian
Heard that the unit will not play your music files from your music library in continuous or shuffle mode and instead will only play one file at a time. Could that be correct, that you need to hit the play button again everytime a song comes to an end!
Greatful for your feedback.

Thanks

Karl Linde
Stockholm

Damian November 2, 2009 at 5:53 am

Hi Karl,

Apologies for the delayed response, been under the weather for the past few days. I just tried music on the C-200 via smb and you are correct, you need to pick each song manually. I know there are music jukebox plugins, I don’t know if these address this issue, but definitely the C-200 (or the A-100/A-110) do not have music playback as their strong point,

Cheers
Damian

David November 2, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Hi Everyone,

So from what I can tell (above), this unit does support playing BD-ISO from anydvdhd ? it may have a streaming problem, but does play them ?

correct?

Thanks,
David

Damian November 2, 2009 at 4:35 pm

Hi David,

I have never tested out ISOs but they are supposed to work. I will try creating and ISO and report back

Cheers
Damian

Damian November 3, 2009 at 4:21 am

@ David,

I made an ISO of Pirates Of the Carribean. I had no problems playing it on the C-200 over smb with full access to the BR menus

Cheers
Damian

Scott November 3, 2009 at 7:35 am

Hi Damian,

Can you get HD Audio to Bitstream when it’s an ISO or is still throttled that way as well (for now)?

Thanks,
Scott

David November 3, 2009 at 8:13 am

Thanks Damian!!

Damian November 3, 2009 at 9:09 am

Hi Scott,

The C-200 should support bitstream if it is an ISO or in the BR Disc folder structure. The bug relates to bitstreaming from an individual file (ts/m2ts/mkv). Some people have had some issues though with bitstreaming (http://www.networkedmediatank.com/showthread.php?tid=30113)

Cheers
Damian

Mike November 4, 2009 at 11:02 pm

Hi Damian,
Thanks for the review. I have a A100 and use it to stream mostly DVD ISOs and MKVs from my NAS (DNS-323). Generally, that works great. Two things that are a problem with me was the sub-par music interface (I use my XBOX instead) and slow photo viewer. I am assuming with a faster processor, high resolution photo slide shows are faster and smoother? RichObjectBasedGraphics would probably help slide shows out.

On another note, I think in the near future devices that can use cable cards or input streams via fire wire from a Sat. or Cable STB will loose out.

Mike November 4, 2009 at 11:12 pm

Above should have read “Can’t use cable cards…… will loose out.”

Damian November 5, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Hi Mike,

Undoubtedly the music interface is not a strong point of the PCH. There are a few Music Jukeboxes but I have not tested out. I only messed around with photos briefly but compared to the A-110 the C-200 did process them faster/smoother. I am definitely anxious to see what is in store once RichObjectBasedGraphics is implemented (I know they started messing around with the design of the stock ui slightly in the latest beta FW I am testing).

As to your second point, I think with the cheap, small, more powerful and efficient HTPCs that are hitting the market and the loosening of the cable card restrictions, an HTPC may be the winner.

O November 28, 2009 at 7:40 am

When playing music, press play instead of OK, then PCH will continue with next song in directory.

Lex Ross November 30, 2009 at 10:37 am

I am playing movies from internal hard drive and have nasty artefacts in a movie for some reason. See pictures at http://rapidshare.com/files/314344415/C-200.7z

Have a look at C-200 folder when artefacts are most obvious playing 1080p MKV with AVC H.264 @ 24p and DTS 5.1 48KHz pass through. Even my old and slow laptop with integrated video that drops frames heavily with intermittent sound while processing video stream introduces no artefacts to the video.

That is something to think about.

Jhyde January 30, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Unless you like constant frustration and constant freezing of the unit, stay away from the C-200. It is not ready for primetime. At this point in time, January 30, 2009, it is a piece of garbage.

Damian January 30, 2010 at 7:17 pm

@ Jhyde,

Real sorry to hear you have had a frustrating experience. With the latest firmware I have had zero issues with playback. The only thing I am waiting for to be fixed is the bitstreaming from standalone files

Howard February 2, 2010 at 11:16 am

Hi Damian,

I know my way around computers and networks a little bit, but not near the extent of you guys. All I’m looking for is something to do a few things really well. Play music and movies off an external hard drive. Torture my friends with pictures of family vacations off picasa. And play satellite radio. Is the C-200 the right machine for me? Also, do you know if the RF remote has a text display, so I can select songs from a different room? I couldn’t find that information anywhere.

Damian February 2, 2010 at 11:30 am

Hi Howard,

The RF remote does not have a text display, so really not much you would want to do from another room.

As far as Picasa or Satellite radio, looking at the specs Picasa is available, but I don’t recall ever seeing anything about satellite radio

As far as video and music, Video is by far the strong point of the PCH. I think there are music jukeboxes that you can add on, but I have never used.

Do you have any interest in adding a Blu Ray Rom drive, or playing Blu Ray rips with full menu functionalily? The reason I ask is that PCH just released the A-200, which is about $120 cheaper then the C-200. It has just about the same functionality, just no ability to add a BR Rom Drive nor the ability to play full BR discs with menu functionality (i.e. BD Live)

Topper February 5, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Hi Damian,

I noticed you are using the combo HD-DVD/Blu Ray drive in the C200. Couple qs:
1. If you playback BluRay, does it work like a standalone blu ray player and display all menus etc?
2. Have you tried playing back HD-DVD movies at all and is the C-200 able to play those back at all?

Thanks,
-Topper

Damian February 5, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Hey Topper,

1. Yes, exactly like a Blu Ray player. Also, if you rip a BR Disc to Iso or BDMV it plays exactly like a Blu Ray player
2. Never tried but was told there was no hope for it to work as the SIgma chip never had support added.

Cheers
Damian

Simon February 11, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Despite all the hype, the box does not “play everything”. I have hundreds of MOV files recorded by my Panasonix Lumix. My PC’s play these files easily on Quicktime, WMP or MPC, but the C200 is having none of it. When I ask support about this (by the way, the lag in response mentioned above is true) they told me I would have to convert all my MOV files to avi files. All of them! This, of course, is never going to happen. MOV files are nothing special. They are probably the most common files after AVI files. The sales patter says the C200 plays MOV files (I did check before I bought) but apparently it only plays a certain breed of MOV file, and not your common or garden MOV file played by any PC on the planet.

There are dozens of complaints on the NMT site on this issue and many others. Look there before you buy.

Not worth the hassle or the money. I made a mistake, and wish I’d sent it back when i could.

Alex Kuretz February 11, 2010 at 4:17 pm

Hi Simon, I can understand your frustration on that. I too have Panasonic Lumix TZ3 (wife’s camera) and she takes a lot of quick videos of the kids that we like to watch on the TV together. Fortunately the HP Video Converter is able to quickly and easily convert them into easy to stream MP4′s that work with the streamers I’ve tried. I don’t know if you’re a MediaSmart Server owner or not, but this is a nice feature for this case.

Damian February 12, 2010 at 5:59 am

Hi Simon,

Sorry to hear you have had issues. I should state that the PCHs play “almost” everything. There are definitely still files/formats it cannot play and I have not seen a player that can play everything, but the PCH does a good job at covering most of the commonly used formats out there. The only MOV files I have ever come across are Apple Trailers which the PCH plays without issue. Have you had any luck playing your MOVs with other players (non PC related)? I wonder if it is a Sigma issue so it would affect all Sigma players

Fabio February 23, 2010 at 4:05 am

Hello Simon, and congratulations for your beautiful site!!
I bought the popcorn c200 a few days and I’ve already encountered problems.
The main reason why I took the C200 is that I was hoping to hear the sound of DTS-HD and TrueHD on my Full untouched Bluray ripped copyed in the internal Hard disk (The Matrix). I have an Onkyo TX-Sr507 and I connected the 2 devices with popcorn HDMI original cable’s but the result is that when I select through bluray menu ,the TrueHD audio, the receiver appears always multichannel PCM and does not detect TrueHD as in the photos you’ve posted in this page, whether I set the audio as Analog and the digital into popcorn menu.I have the latest firmware installed.
Any idea?
Thank you and keep your beautiful web-site!
Fabio

Damian February 23, 2010 at 6:26 am

@ Fabio,

Not sure who Simon is but I will let him know you said hi :-)

What format are your Blu Ray rips, are they ISOs, BDMV folder, or standalone file?

Cheers
Damian

Fabio February 23, 2010 at 6:50 am

Oh Damian,I’m sorry,I’m in error :-D The post reply was for you!! :-D
I have used BDMV folder(was an Iso that I have extracted in BDMV folder).
When I click to root folder of movie,start now the movie with all menu of a blueray(thanks C200!!), I select Hd audio, from audio menu of movie….but in the onkyo display do not show TrueHd….:-(
I have tested a demo of a HD audio trailer and do not recoignise it also.The audio from onkyo it is fragmented and intemittently.
Can you test also?The link is above:
http://darkanbil-hd.blogspot.com/2009/03/dolby-digital-hd-demo-1080i-h264-dolby.html

Damian February 23, 2010 at 7:07 am

@ Fabio – no worries, I have always wanted to be a Simon :-)

Do you have a DTS(MA) movie you can test out? If I recall many people report issues with TrueHD (I believe the latest beta fw has a temp fix for it). With my PCH A-200 if I play a movie with TrueHD the audio drops out every 5 seconds (sounds like the problem you have). Try DTS(MA) and let me know what happens.

Also, the link you sent, I assume it is just a standalone file? If so that C-200 cannot bitstream from standalone files which would explain why you would not see TrueHD light up.

Cheers
Damian

Fabio February 23, 2010 at 7:21 am

Yes was a m2ts standalone file.
I don’t know this…., if I play a standalone file m2ts or mkv, that contain Hd audio, the c200 can’t reproduce it? Sigh….in the next firmware will be implemented this feature?
Where is beta firmware?I can test it?
Now I’ll search a demo with DTS HD(MA) audio and tell you about it.
I have also xtreamer that have same problem with hd audio….
Thanks
Fabio

Damian February 23, 2010 at 7:26 am

Fabio,

Correct, currently the C-200 cannot bitstream from standalone m2ts/mkv (if you read I mention this in my review in the audio playback section). We have been waiting for this to be fixed since it was released, and supposedly in the coming weeks we might see a fix (no idea though to be honest). The only way to bitstream currently from the C-200 is from a BD structure (ISO or BDMV Folder)

The Xtreamer cannot bitstream audio from any file type/structure (I own one). In the case of the C-200 it should just be a matter of getting new micro code to allow for bitstreaming. With the Xtreamer it is actually a hardware limitation and because of this there is no expectation it will ever be able to bitstream.

Cheers
Damian

Fabio February 23, 2010 at 7:47 am

**…. The only way to bitstream currently from the C-200 is from a BD structure (ISO or BDMV Folder…**
With this mention, you’re talking about that I can create a fake structure under a folder with any name and subfolder BDMV(that I will create).
And Next I’ll put the file m2ts under that Folder?This work for me?
Sorry if I am a bit confusing with this explanation…

Damian February 23, 2010 at 7:52 am

The best way to do it would be to use Clown_BD. There is an option to create a Blu Ray structure which it will take care of for you. You should then be able to bitstream HD Audio from this format.

Fabio February 23, 2010 at 7:57 am

And if the original file contain Truehd o dts-hd audio,after conversion with Clown_BD, I will able to see true-hd or dts-hd title from display of onkyo?? :-D

Damian February 23, 2010 at 8:00 am

Yes, you should be able to with this method

Tim L March 22, 2010 at 11:41 pm

Hi Damian,

You made a reference to “add on’s” or adding on a music jukebox, I believe. Can you talk a little more about this? Are you saying that you can add additional functionality to the C-200? I’ve been thinking of it kind of like a TiVo. It does what it does and no more in the absense of a firmware upgrade. How would one go about adding functionality to the C200?

Damian March 23, 2010 at 5:27 am

Hi Tim,

When I talk about add ons I am talking about community developed add ins. A good example would be YAMJ (http://www.mediasmartserver.net/2010/01/14/guide-setting-up-yamj-yet-another-movie-jukebox-aeon-in-whs/) which is an add on. An example of a music jukebox add in would be this (http://www.networkedmediatank.com/showthread.php?tid=24832&highlight=music+jukebox). So really you are not adding additional functionality per se to the C-200, but instead using community developed apps/jukeboxes to present a different UI/look to access your media. Hope this makes sense.

Tim L March 23, 2010 at 11:59 am

That makes perfect sense. Thanks for the knowledge (and the links).

Eric March 29, 2010 at 9:01 pm

One thing that I haven’t seen in any of the reviews of these players. Are you stuck with the pre-defined streaming media sights, or if I want to can I just enter an address:port somewhere and get streaming mp3 audio?

Damian April 3, 2010 at 9:43 am

@ Eric,

It is hit or miss. There are some sites that you can add but for the most part it appears you have to go with the sites that are already set up. Some members figure a way to port things over (as an example one member set up a way to get Yahoo Trailers on the c-200)

Fabio April 8, 2010 at 6:19 am

Hi Damian!I’m returned…!
I know you are a beta tester of networkmediatank.Do you know if will be supported in new firmware the HD Audio (dts-HD MA, Dolby TrueHD) bitstream in MKV, M2TS, TS…?
I will not deceived again by false advertising as the one made on xtreamer (which I am deeply disappointed)
I wonder if we will exit a new firmware that will support it.
Ps: I know that on another player with the SAME chipset, the bitstreaming is supported! This is the “Dune BD Prime 3.0″
Thanks

Damian April 8, 2010 at 6:33 am

@ Fabio,

Bitstreaming HD Audio is still not supported for standalone m2ts and mkvs with the PCH C-200..

I would not group the PCH in the same company as the Xtreamer with regards to false advertising. The Xtreamer advertised HD Audio bitstreaming when it never existed and Realtek even confirmed recently that is it impossible to do with the chipset. The PCH advertised Bitstreaming HD Audio which the C-200 can do (via Blu Ray Structure). Not necessarily defending Syabas, just stating I would not put it on the same level as Xtreamer (I own an Xtreamer as well).

The Dune and HDX BD1 both support bitstreaming from Standalone m2ts/mkv. The reason why they do and the PCH C-200 does not even though they have the same chip is because Dune/HDX is using their own micro code and not relying on Sigma. Syabas is using Sigma’s micro code which unfortunately means they have to wait on Sigma to fix this bug.

Hope this makes sense, let me know if you have any other questions.

ImTheTypeOfGuy May 12, 2010 at 7:20 pm

Are you going to do another review after the latest firmware to see if it addresses most of the issues you ran into.

Damian May 12, 2010 at 7:29 pm

Aside from updating the current reviews I will probably do a quick writeup highlighting the changes (or lack of) with the firmware. The problem is that usually the firmware comes out in stages, so it isn’t something where new FW comes out and addresses everything. I will probably just wait until I see new fw that included “important” fixes before I write about. The main items on my list are:

- Enable bitstreaming of HD audio from standalone m2ts/mkv
- Allow for 1080p subs in mkvs
- New UI

Tim L May 12, 2010 at 10:16 pm

Having used a C-200 for a couple months now, I love it — even the current interface — but like other folks have reported, HDMI audio doesn’t work reliably. Sometimes it works; then it doesn’t. Restarting the C-200 get audio back…for a while.

Mark June 2, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Hi Damian
some question about C200..
i have read somewhere in order to play BD ISO from HD is needed the installation of a HD formatted by the C200 with all the applications..is is true ?
Moreover..is it possible the installation of 2 3.5″ HD (one internal and one in the external tray) ?

Many thanks !

Damian Perez June 2, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Hi Mark,

You don’t need a HD per se. If you don’t have an internal hd you do need to install an internal USB thumb drive. You don’t need apps install, the HD or USB thumb are used to store the BD live info

As far as two 3.5″ drives, I think it can be done but honestly never tried. You may want to ask on the NMT forum as I am sure others have accomplished this

FYI – I just got the latest beta FW yesterday based on the new SDK and supposedly bitstreaming of HD audio from standalone mkv/m2ts/ts files is now supported. I loaded the FW last night but didnt get a chance to test.

Hope this helps.

Cheers
Damian

Mark June 8, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Hi Damian

many thanks for your answer !!
I need again more help…a little OT please excuse me…browsing the web i’ve find another mediaplayer the DUNE..in its versions HD BASE 3.0 and BD PRIME 3.0
I’ve understand (tell me if i’m right) both can read the BD ISO structure and rhe only difference between the two is the BD ROM PLAYER in the BD PRIME..You know ? Can you tell me more about quality..my first need is concerning ISO BD
Thanks again
Mark

Damian June 8, 2010 at 8:03 pm

@ Mark,

You are correct, they can both play BD ISO Structure, only difference being the BR ROM drive in the Prime. They are a little pricier then other players but from what I have heard they seem to be the most reliable/stable players out there

Mark June 9, 2010 at 10:39 am

Thanks once again Damian !

Of the two of them (POP or DUNE BASE) which one would you choose ?

Damian June 9, 2010 at 3:58 pm

@ Mark,

Tough to say because all I know about the Dune is via word of mouth. I would have to actually test out a Dune before I could give an honest answer. Based purely on price the PCH is a hands down winner. As far as performance and stability it appears that the Dune is ahead.

Nicolas June 21, 2010 at 4:45 pm

I am ripping all my original Blu-Ray movies with Moyea’s Blu-Ray Ripper. I am using the “Full Disk Copy” method, which copies the whole Blu-Ray disk onto my PC to avoid any losses or compressions. Will the C-200 be able to play these rips in 1080p and with the original sound? With subtitles? Will I keep the menus of the Blu-Rays?

Oh, is it compatible with a Drobo Pro?

Thanks! And sorry for the ammount of questions!

Damian June 21, 2010 at 6:54 pm

@ Nicolas,

I am not familiar with Moyea’s Blu Ray Ripper but assuming it is just leaving a full BR Folder it will play on the PCH C-200 just as if you were playing directly from the disk (including menus, subtitles etc…)

I have never used a Drobo but I see no reason why it shouldn’t work. The PCH should just see the Drobo as some sort of NAS.

Morgoth July 22, 2010 at 7:02 am

Damian,

I’m about to buy a media player. Considering that you own both Xstreamer and C-200, which one do you recommend? Value for money.

Or, maybe even another player is better?

Morgoth

Damian July 22, 2010 at 8:06 am

@ Morgoth,

Hello. I am waiting for the new firmware/jukebox to be released for the Xtreamer (supposed to be any day now and should add HD Audio bitstreaming support + Movie Jukebox). Once the new fw is up I plan on putting together my review of the Xtreamer. I also just received a Dune Prime to review, and should have that review posted within a week.

What in particular are you looking for from a player (i.e. BR Menus, HD Audio bitstreaming, internal HDD, ROM PLayer, etc…)?

Morgoth July 22, 2010 at 9:55 am

@ Damian,

Thanx for quick reply.

Internal HDD is important, but both enable that. Any issues here?
HD audio not important.
User friendliness and good remote control functions are important. Fast fastforwarding I would really like – to pick up from an unfinished watch.
Functioning video streaming capabilities would be very nice, but I can live without it.

I’m looking forward to your Xtreamer review (Pro?) and Dune review.

Btw, would a A-110 suit my purposes? I can get a used one for about 100 euro, I think.

Thanx a lot in advance.

Damian July 22, 2010 at 11:26 am

@ Morgoth,

The Xtreamer Sidewinder has room for a 2.5″ drive, the Pro has room for 2×3.5″ drives. The C200 has room for either 2.5″ or 3.5″ drives depending on if you install a rom drive.

My Xtreamer review will actually be of the Sidewinder, I received the updated model when my original one broke.

As far as UI, until the new Xtreamer Jukebox comes out you are stuck with the stock ui which is blah. With the PCH or Dune you already have access to different jukeboxes that you can use to replace the stock UI. The A110 would probably work for you, but since there are so many newer models out there I would probably lean towards getting a newer model.

Now if only Xtreamer would release the new firmware so I can work on my review!!! Working on the Dune review as we speak.

Moe Kaddas September 18, 2010 at 1:27 pm

Hello Damian,
If PCH C-200 can read BD ISO it means it can read BDMV files, because BDMV is the index of the BD right? correct me please !

Damian September 18, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Correct Moe, BD Isos and BDMV folders are two of the same (The ISO is just holding the BDMV folder). The C200 can play both

Barstef October 7, 2010 at 8:46 am

Hi Damian

Great reviews, have read with interest this, the Dune one and Zappati guide too.. I am after a player and am considering the PCH C200 probably with YAMJ or the Dune Max with Zappati, but I am struggling to see if there is a fundamental difference between the two or whether it is just a matter of preference for the look and feel?

I’m looking for one that will stream from my Netgear NAS DVD and Bluray rip’s, which are backup copies of the discs in there original file structures, and intelligently manage the files in the library and not present a separate thumb for each file in the Stream folder, as that isn’t wife friendly ;).. Automatically scrape the metadata and update as new content is added to the library.. Pass the HD audio codecs to my sound processor without downscaling them to core. Also play MKV’s, AVI’s, MP4 etc.. Good network and play back performance, preferably over homeplug but also have gigabit..

I would also be interested to know if you have made any comparisons with this price band of players with the more high end solutions like DF Solutions and Fusion etc. and to know your thoughts on whether they are fundamentally superior for their many ’000′s $ price tags, especially when hooked up to a highend home cinema surround system.

Opinions would be greatly received..

Many thanks

Damian October 7, 2010 at 9:04 am

For the most part I would say that the PCH and Dune are on par. I have found that the Dune has been more stable, but the C-200 has been very stable for me for a while now. If you are looking for a BluRay player as well I would choose the Dune (which comes with a BluRay drive already preinstalled) over the PCH C200 (which you have to add your own drive). Overall, the major differences will be more look/feel (and of course price). Both will handle all your requirements that you listed. With Dune + Zappiti it does not automatically update, so if you add new content you just need to run Zappiti on your PC (this takes a few minutes to do). The same goes with PCH + YAMJ (although you can actually schedule YAMJ to run periodically).

I honestly have no experience with high end solutions, and really if you are willing to get your hands dirty for a few minutes setting something up I fail to see the perceived value

Barstef October 7, 2010 at 9:19 am

Thanks Damian, most helpful.. A couple of further question though does Zappiti support Mac too that you know of? Have you has chance to compare the Dune blueray player with some of the standalone players like the Oppo, or the NuForce variant, and the Pioneer LX91? Does it stand up both visually and audibly against them?

Many thanks again..

Damian October 8, 2010 at 1:51 pm

I am not a Mac user but I am pretty sure Zappiti does not support. I believe there is a Dune jukebox for Macs (can’t think of the name off the top of my head)

The only other BluRay player I have ever owned is the PS3, so I have basis for comparisons against those other players unfortunately

Barstef October 9, 2010 at 3:15 am

Thanks Damian, if you do happen to remember the name it would be much appreciated, especially after reading Tim L’s comments..

How does it compare to the PS3 blueray?

Tim L October 7, 2010 at 3:21 pm

Having used the PCH-200 for just less than a year now, updating it regularly as new firmware is released, I have to say I’m disappointed. My primary use is a little unusual. I use it to store and playback internet content that I have downloaded from sites like Kelby Training and Lynda.com. I find that the audio frequently drops out during file playback. These dropouts will last anywhere from 10 seconds to over a minute. The audio data is there and if I go back and replay the missing section, I get audio the second time around. But who wants to be constantly doing this? One of the firmware updates was supposed to specifically address the reliability of audio playback for MP4 files but the problem is not solved.

I’ve also had audio playback problems (audio randomly drops out) during the playback of certain Blu-ray ISO’s (Iron Man, in particular). This is even more annoying when it happens and I suspect it’s actually a separate problem.

If the PCH200 worked liked it is supposed to work, it would be my favorite component in my equipment rack. Unfortunately, using it is like using a high end EPSON photographic printer. It’s capable of great things but half the time when you go to use it something goes wrong and you end up working on the hardware instead of enjoying its output.

Damian October 8, 2010 at 1:53 pm

I have found the C-200 to be tricky. For example, I have had no issues for a while with playback (just TV show rips and BluRay rips). However, for every person like myself who has no problems there always seems to be someone like yourself who runs into issues. The C-200 is not my main player in my house (it is now in my Sons playroom) so it could very possibly be I don’t use it enough t o run into issues others have seen?

Damian October 9, 2010 at 5:07 am

@ Barstef,

I found it to be the same as the PS3 for BluRay playback.

Here is a Mac program similar to Zappiti:

http://www.mpcclub.com/forum/showthread.php?t=24436

Bryan October 25, 2010 at 9:01 am

Hi Damian, this is just a shot in the dark but I thought I would try you first, before asking at the vendor forums. Have you tried Monsters vs. Aliens or How to Train your Dragon, in Bluray .ISO format on the C-200? Or any other media player? I use AnyDVD to rip my Blurays and it has worked very well. However recently with both of these movies I’ve found the image to be ‘blocky’. The trailers and menus are fine, it doesn’t show up until the movie starts. I’m thinking it has something to do with 3D? Is the C-200 trying to play the 3D version? There are no settings for picking which version to play on the disk menu, and the movie plays fine when played from the disk on a Samsung Bluray player. Any thoughts? I’m assuming these disks have both a 3D version and a regular version contained on the same disk, but I’m not sure.

Damian October 25, 2010 at 9:28 am

Hi Bryan,

I have How To Train Your Dragon (I ripped as a main movie BDMV Folder using AnyDVD + Clown_BD) and had no issues with playback (I only tested on my HTPC though, not my PCH yet)

Bryan October 25, 2010 at 10:41 am

Yea I have a feeling it has something to do with the .iso file. I’m going to try it on my PC this week to see if it’s only a C-200 thing though.

Bryan October 26, 2010 at 7:38 am

Just FYI, I got it to work by changing the video settings on the C-200 from “Auto” to my video device’s output resolution. Much better :) Weird that ALL my other movies worked fine with the Auto setting, it was just these 2 animated movies that were screwed up.

Damian October 26, 2010 at 8:16 am

That is odd. Funny enough, I was messing around with the A200 and connected it via HDMI to my PC monitor. When I turned it on I could not see the welcome menu (that little computer icon in the middle and all the options which rotate in a circle). I would only get a file browser view and hitting the source button who bring up the Apps. Turns out that by having Auto as the output resolution was causing the issue, I switched it to 720p and the menu showed up again, very strange…

Kevin November 16, 2010 at 3:15 am

Hello damian.

Ty for the review.

I was wondering if you have tested any of .srt files (subtitles files on it)? Im from denmark, and the wifey wants subtitles sadly :)

Secondly I have read many review of this product and encounters some users who have had trouble with .mkv files playback. Have you encounters anything of this after you bought it?

Thanks you for the respons.

Kevin

Damian November 16, 2010 at 3:30 am

Kevin,

I have never tested with .srt subtitles (the subtitles I use are IDX or SUP subtitles). From reading on the NMT forums though I believe .srt subtitles do work

As far as mkv playback, there were problems when the C-200 was first released last year. However, I have been running the C-200 with minimal issues (I think the only issue is that with the latest fw TrueHD downmix is broken), and have had no issues playing back my mkvs (both h264 and vc1)

Fredrik December 6, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Hi Damian

Is it possible to get HD-audio out in the speakers with C-200 even if the reciever itself doesn´t have this capability(HDMI1.1). I mean if it is possible to let the C-200 do all the job and then let the reciever just pass the true HD-signal out

Damian December 6, 2010 at 3:25 pm

Hi Fredrik,

I am not sure I follow, since your receiver is HDMI 1.1 it cannot process TrueHD, not sure where you want the receiver to send it to? What you would need done is to have the C200 decode the TrueHD to PCM and send this to your receiver, which your receiver should have no problem playing back.

Fredrik December 6, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Thanks for your quick response, Damian Sorry if my question sounded odd but i am not an expert in this area. In the scenario that you wrote will I get HD sound out of my system. Is PCM the same as true hd. will the reciever just passthrou the lossless sound out to the speakers

Damian December 6, 2010 at 4:02 pm

I guess the easiest way to explain, TrueHD is compressed whereas PCM is uncompressed audio. In the case where you pass through the TrueHD to your receiver, your receiver would then be responsible for decoding the TrueHD track to PCM from playback. This should all be lossless so no loss in quality. Since your receiver cannot handle TrueHD if you tried to pass through the TrueHD track to your receiver you would end up getting no sound. In a case like this what you need is another device to decode the TrueHD track and send out as PCM (once again, if done correctly there should be no loss in quality). You can set up t he C200 to decode HD Audio to PCM, which would then send the PCM directly to your AVR. Hope that makes sense.

The only potential issue, I know there is a bug with the current firmware where TrueHD is not being downmixed to stereo. I don’t know if this specifically affects downmixing to stereo or if this affects decoding to PCM

Fredrik December 7, 2010 at 12:43 am

Thank you very much, Damian. I think I get it now:-)

If I understood it right so with a C-200 I do not have to buy a new reciever. Instead I let the c-200 do the decoding and configure my reciever to just pass the signal through untouched. I did so with my PS3 and PCM was lit on the display.

Jurgen October 7, 2011 at 7:06 pm

hi Damien – thank you for great article; i would like to ask for your input:

my requirement is to have a system where i can easily play-back music of various file system (MP3, ACC, FLAC, ORG, M4A, WMA, FLAC) and CD. due to the size of my collection and how i have organise this, i would like to be easily navigate by artist names (i.e. filter by artist starting with E), navigate by genre (i.e. filter by lounge) and it would be great to navigate by file location (i use this to separate my collection by artist and compilation albums.

in your opinion, do you believe the C-200 to be a good solution? do you know of any other solution that would be suitable.

your feedback is very much appreciated – thanking you and best regards

jurgen

Damian October 8, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Hi Jurgen,

Can you confirm, are you looking for a music player or a video player that has some music capabilities? If your main focus is music none of the media players are really strong at music, and instead I would recommend looking at a solution such as Logitech or Sonos (check the review section as I have reviewed those). Let me know if I can help answer any other questions.

Cheers
Damian

Jurgen October 9, 2011 at 2:10 am

hi Damien – thanks for the reply and your recommendation is more in line what i would like to achieve.

cheers – jurgen

Jurgen October 9, 2011 at 2:11 am

…my apology, it should have been Damian!

Damian October 9, 2011 at 5:06 am

Haha, no worries Jurgen, people spell my name the other way all the time. Good look choosing a music player t hat works for you. I have a Logitech Squeezebox Radio at my job and Sonos at home, and both make excellent solutions. Out of the two the Sonos would be on the more expensive side

Mario November 16, 2012 at 1:54 am

Hi Damian.
Thank you for your great reviews.
Now this product is about 3 years old and with the release of the A series can be found at a very affordable price.
I need a player for my multimedia files, I would like to play some internet radio station and possibly start playing some music file without having to switch on the TV.
I wonder whether this product can still be a choice or it should be better to look at something like the Dune Smart D1.

The link to the planet earth video sequence, the pole to pole one, is no more available: is the player abler to play the sequence with hundreds of birds without artifacts? I found that sequence a nightmare for many players.

Thank you.

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