Updated Popcorn Hour A-210 Shipping In December

by Damian on November 22, 2010 · 7 comments

in News

Earlier this year I did a review on the Popcorn Hour A-200, and one of my biggest criticisms was the fact that a cheap plastic case and fan was used (where all previous models had used an aluminum case and were fanless). To get around this I ended up modding the A-200 with a 3rd party aluminum case, which I documented here. The only downside of this is that it added an extra USD 70 towards the A-200, bringing the cost from USD 179 to USD 271 (including shipping). Well, thanks to an alert of commenter Jason it appears that an A-210 version has been announced and will begin shipping early December. From what I can tell the A-210 will be running identical hardware/firmware as the A-200, but will be using an aluminum case and will be fanless. The price will be USD 199, which will be a USD 20 increase over the A-200. This is a welcome change and for only a nominal bump in price (and obviously much cheaper then going the 3rd party route that I went). I still don’t understand why Syabas opted for the cheap plastic case in the first place (especially if USD 20 was all that was holding them back), but I am glad they listened to the community and made the necessary changes.

A-200 with plastic case:

A-210 with aluminum case:

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


Brajesh November 22, 2010 at 8:52 am

In light of Netgear releasing their NeoTV 550 with HD audio, full BD-ISO support and media jukebox capabilities for $170 street price, Syabas’ may not get much love with $200 for the A-210.

Damian November 22, 2010 at 8:56 am

Good point Brajesh, I was just talking about the NeoTV 550 on AVS a few minutes ago. If the NeoTV can do what it advertises at that price it could really shake things up. I would be cautiously optimistic though until the player gets into the public for some real world testing (as Boxee Box definitely proved you can’t always buy into the hype).

As far as the A-210, this may just be a holdover until next year when they announce the new models (I am thinking HDMI 1.4, real gigE, 3D, etc…)

Brajesh November 22, 2010 at 9:20 am

Oh I’m cautiously optimistic alright; emphasis on cautiously ;). I bought into both the PopBox and Boxee Box hypes. It’s funny how the PopBox doesn’t look half bad now as it’s getting HD audio and other improvements.

Damian November 22, 2010 at 9:31 am

Well, i did put in a request for a review unit of the NeoTV 550, so hopefully that goes through.

I hear ya, on the Popbox at $130 (and much less on Ebay) with coming updates it could make a nice little box

Geek Boy November 22, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Damian, thanks once more for some great news.

About 7 months ago I purchased a Netgear Eva 9150 which appeared to have the potential to become the media streamer of choice. Iv’e been running the Beta Firmware since purchase and even with the glitches/bugs it’s usable and rock solid. No firmware updates in over 9 months inspite of the promise.

My point is that this product is EOL and Netgear abandoned the product. I think the price point of $350 was the killer. Given this, my own view is that any other box they (Netgear) produces should be viewed with a LARGE dose of caution. :)

Jeff C. November 26, 2010 at 1:18 am

I really like my WD TV Live as it plays everything I throw at it. The only thing I would move to from it would be the Popcorn or Boxee. But based on your review of Boxee, I think I’ll pass after seeing all those failures.

Also I really liked how in the Boxee review you went thru many different video types and did a pass/fail. I hope your review of the A-210 would provide the same should you do that.

In regards to this from your Boxee review:
“mkv w/ chapters – chapters are supported BUT you have to bring up the options menu which is a little annoying (PASS)”

Do any boxes out there just support the prev/next buttons to skip from chapter to chapter? My WD Live is the same way, takes you out of the movie and pops up a chapter menu. While this is nice for skipping ahead to a chapter you want to get to, the next/prev buttons should work while the MKV is playing. Is this not possible on media boxes? It seems a no brainer. I mean DVDs functioned this way, why not an MKV.

Damian November 26, 2010 at 5:50 am


The A-210 is identical hardware/firmware wise to the A-200 which I reviewed and did similar file tests. I just need to update the review as many of the issues have been fixed with the latest firmware. I will update the review this weekend, but just to mention a few items:
- Bitstreaming of HD Audio from standalone mkv/m2ts works
- VC-1 mkv plays without stutter

The PCH supports mkv chapters. The funny thing about chapters, all it is is a text file with time codes. Many of these players can handle exotic formats, etc… yet cannot handle a simple text file!

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