Popcornhour A-300 Announced

by Damian on October 5, 2011 · 46 comments

in News

Just a few minutes ago Syabas announced the Popcornhour A-300, the follow up to the popular Popcornhour series of players. Details are as follows:

Main Features:

  • Sigma Designs 8647 CPU with L2 Cache
  • High Speed USB 3.0 connection to PC
  • 10/100/1000mbps Gigabit Ethernet
  • Fully automated Media Jukebox
  • Full Flash Interface
  • 3D MKV Support
  • Media jukebox for all your digital needs
  • Apps Market for your TV
  • HDMI 1080/24P
  • Supports Internal SATA HDD
  • NAS Server
  • BT/ Usenet Client
  • Aluminum chassis
  • Fanless

Specifications:

Screenshots:

More information, including additional screenshots, can be found here. The PCH A-300 is expected to be available for ordering on October 18th.





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


{ 46 comments }

jericko October 5, 2011 at 6:35 pm

I see no reason to upgrade from a A210 to the new 300.

Brandon October 5, 2011 at 7:44 pm

One reason is that the UI is said to be noticeably faster. If you already have an A210, and are happy with it, then there probably isn’t, but I’m pretty interested in this.

Damian October 6, 2011 at 6:33 am

Agreed. If you have a 200 series there really is no reason to upgrade unless you really need faster network transfer speeds for attached storage.

If however you don’t have then going with the A300 makes sense.

Of course I will be picking up an A300 for review purposes :-)

Brajesh October 6, 2011 at 9:16 am

Also, is NMJ v2 only for the A-300? So, the ability to add/edit NFO’s, posters and fanart from the unit itself will only be for A-300, with PopBox v8 having a lite implemenation of it.

Damian October 6, 2011 at 9:20 am

Right now yes. There is a bit of a debate going on over on the NMT forums about whether to implement for the 200 series. The main drawback, it would move the 200 to a full time flash ui which would mean all HTML skins will be rendered useless as well as some of the user customizations.

Brajesh October 6, 2011 at 10:09 am

That’s fine with me, but I’m sure some would object :).

Jon October 6, 2011 at 11:41 am
ganar dinero October 7, 2011 at 7:28 am

This needs to have 3 things! Availability locally at a retailer like Fry’s, available on Amazon, and priced competitively.

I have wanted one of these for a while, but I don’t like having to sit around for days waiting for it to show up, its a bit pricey ($200 USD for A-200). Ive been using XBMC myself, but want to switch to Popcorn Hour.

Brajesh October 7, 2011 at 7:39 am

Amazon will likely have it as it has PopBox and the PCH 200 series. But, I doubt you’ll see them locally. These devices are not geared toward the masses; they would have trouble figuring them out. You can tell this from some of the negative reviews on Amazon. However, if Syabas can bring PopBox v8 to the U.S. with at least Netflix, then it’s a different story. And PopBox v8 is designed to be simpler, more user-friendly… as much as it can be anyway for a media streamer.

Robert October 9, 2011 at 8:40 am

Damian, I have an A200 now in my living room and I wanted another Popcorn Hour device for my bedroom. Should I get another A200 or the new A300. I like my movie wall the YAMJ skins as I can custom nfo’s for home video subsets…etc…will the new A300 allow me to use YAMJ? I wouldn’t mind a faster browsing experience. And will the new A300 frame sync 1080 24p? Would be nice Popcorn Hour would just give the option to Passthrough HDMI. I’ve given up on networking and just use 2 TB internal and external. Thanks.

Damian October 13, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Good question Robert, and I will break it down to two scenarios:

Scenario 1: The PCH A300 will not support HTML skins. If you are using one of the HTML YAMJ skins then you will definitely not want to upgrade and instead get a PCH A200

Scenario 2: If you are using the YAMJ Eversion skin which is Flash Based this will work on both the A200 and A300. In this case I would recommend purchasing an A300

I assume frame sync 1080 24p will be available, there is a similar option in the PopBox V8 that I just reviewed.

Hope this helps. I will definitely try to get an A300 once it becomes available so I can get a review done.

Cheers
Damian

Robert October 13, 2011 at 2:36 pm

I will be getting another A200. This time the nice one without the fan. You really can’t hear the fan in my living room, but in my bedroom I would. Thanks for your reviews, I find them interesting…and following your YAMJ setup guide with all the mods has truly spoiled my family.

Damian October 13, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Sounds good. I have the A200 with the case mod. I kept the fan in but the aluminum case helped drown out the fan.

Glad the YAMJ writeup helped. I like using either Eversion or using the Zappiti YAMJ skin.

Just be aware that there is a vote going on about whether or not to bring over the UI from the 300 to the 200. If this did get done this would kill the use of HTML skins on the 200. Of course if this comes to be you either don’t update the fw or would have to switch over to a flash skin

Robert November 14, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Will the A-300 with new interface (flash…whatever) support music playlists and can I build them dynamically with a remote? I still run modded original Xbox machines (with SOLDERED IR ON AND OFF MODS!!!) running XBMC since I can build music playlists dynamically with a remote. It also decodes flac..

Can my A200 have an interface that lets me build music playlists on the fly with a remote?

Jon October 19, 2011 at 6:55 am

$219 isn’t that Bad ($19.99 Shipping to USA Not included) .. I actually Sold one of my C-200 for $350 on Ebay a few days ago .. to Give this a shot without my Wife Freaking out : ) I Am Interested in seeing the Extra Speed and the Flash GUI

Chris P October 19, 2011 at 10:45 am

I was about to hit the ‘buy’ button on the A210. Should I get the A300 instead ie Is it all round a better purchase hardwarewise? Bit worried about the apps, if they will all work on this (my main concern).
C

Damian October 19, 2011 at 2:14 pm

A300.

If you already own a 200 series there is no real reason to upgrade. However, if you are in the market for a PCH and unless the extra $20 is too much, there is no reason to get a 200 series and instead go for a 300 series. The only reason I could think of to get a 200 series is if you were using an HTML jukebox that you wanted to continue using.

Chris P October 20, 2011 at 11:00 am

Thanks Damian! I was thinking of getting the A210 as it had an inbuilt hard drive to remove streaming problems. Or is the hard drive fairly moot if you have a NAS connected over ethernet anyway? ie the A200/A300 would stream fine?

Damian October 20, 2011 at 11:23 am

The A300 supports internal hard drive as well. I stream from my server with no issues. Typically streaming is as much dependent on your network. If you plan on streaming from your NAS connected to the PCH there is no need to use an internal hard drive

Jon October 21, 2011 at 7:24 am

Damian .. What Settings did you set your MSS for streaming .. I never had much luck with my C-200 streaming blu ray folders from my HP WHS .. So i gave up and used External HD’s to watch all Blu ray folders .. With the A-300 i wanted to give it another go (and i built my house since then all Cat 6 / Throughout)

Damian October 21, 2011 at 8:27 am

I use SMB for streaming from my WHS (I also have NFS set up). I have no issues streaming as long as I have demigrator shut off. I would definitely try streaming with your MSS since you have a new house/setup, and make sure demigrator is shut off.

Anders October 23, 2011 at 7:57 am

Think this is better than the Xtreamer Prodigy?

Damian October 23, 2011 at 8:29 am

Depends. The one benefit the Prodigy will have over the A300 is that the Prodigy will supposedly support Blu-ray 3D. Aside from that I would lean towards the PCH. If the Prodigy does finally make it stateside I will try to get my hands on for a review (will be reviewing the A300 as well)

Mondo October 25, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Damien,

What ethernet cable do you use to connect the PCH to your PC? Crossover? Straight? Shielded Twist Pair?

Thanks!

Damian October 26, 2011 at 3:53 am

Why would you connect your PCH to your PC via ethernet? You would connect over the network usually via a switch, or if you want to transfer files directly you can connect via USB

Mondo October 26, 2011 at 9:31 am

I thought one of the options for direct file transfer was ethernet. If USB works, no worries.

Damian October 26, 2011 at 10:20 am

Yes, you can transfer via ethernet, but this means transferring across your network, not by connecting the PCH to your PC directly via ethernet cable. YOu will probably find doing via USB is faster

Valeria October 26, 2011 at 6:49 am

Hi Damian,
I’m looking into getting my first of this kind of devices, but I have a mac, would that pose a problem compared to options w a pc? I’m based in Europe btw ;-) and am a bit worried w the bug things mentioned, w new series, new chip etc – hope I can make things work along the way without being a total tech wizard like you all! thnx!

Damian October 26, 2011 at 9:19 am

I don’t think you will have an issue being a MAC user, but TBH I don’t use MACs. I would expect the A300 to have minimal bugs as the new chip is not much of a departure from the current 8642/8643 chip. Of course we won’t know for usre until we get the A300 (which I hope to have next week).

Cheers

PenangUser October 26, 2011 at 11:15 am

I own a A110 and pretty happy about the features but the interface is sluggish. Definitely I’m looking for an A300 now, but just wonder if supports RMVB files ?.

Damian October 26, 2011 at 11:52 am

I have never used RMVB files so not sure. On teh spec sheet it lists support for RMP4, not sure if this is the same thing?

dantheman November 2, 2011 at 11:23 am

I got mine two days ago, no, it does not support RMVB files.

Jon November 1, 2011 at 6:50 am

Got my A-300 yesterday (from Hong Kong to Mass USA in 3 days WHOA !~) Set it up this morning , As a A-100 and C-200 owner since launch i can say the Speed of this is amazing … The set up is Way more user friendly … I haven’t dug all the way into yet but i would say its a winner .. I will update later after i play a few BD’s back from my WHS

Damian November 1, 2011 at 6:52 am

Same here, arrived yesterday. I took it out of the DHL packaging but haven’t taken it out of the box yet. Probably won’t get a chance until the weekend. I have seen a few bugs reported on the NMT forum so far but doesn’t appear to be bad, especially if you were a C200 owner at launch!!!

Jon November 2, 2011 at 10:42 am

Yeah i have had some issues with Full Navigation Blu ray playback from USB hard drive, I will be able to test more tonight it could just be a Universal / Disney branching Issue

LoneWolf November 3, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Yeah, I remember being a C-200 owner in the early days, though I was probably in the second or third wave of shipments.

Good box, but not sure it has been all PopcornHour (or its users) wanted it to be. However, it allows me to have a BD-ROM, a content streamer, and my Tivo Premiere XL all on two HDMI inputs. For the most part, it dos the job I need it to do. The Tivo is about the same way; imperfect, but functional.

penanguser November 2, 2011 at 10:48 pm

Jon, why u get it from Hong Kong ?. I’m in Singapore ..can get this any cheaper in Hong Kong ?.

Damian, you can inspect if the A-300 has an extra internal USB port that allows USB thumb drive to connect alike C200.

Jon November 4, 2011 at 7:32 am

I bought it From Popcornhour.com .. They just Shipped them all from Hong Kong directly instead of to a USA Warehouse and then to everyone

Paul September 28, 2012 at 7:43 am

Hi Damian,
I have A300. How do i edit or replace the wallart if NMJ send the wrong art everytime?
Can you replace with your own jpg picture?
When you rip a movie, what is correct format name in order for NMJ to send correct wall art?

thanks.
Paul

Damian September 28, 2012 at 8:16 am

Hi Paul,

I always name my movies exactly what themoviedb.org shows (including the year). For example Avatar (2009).mkv

I believe you can replace with your own picture. However, tbh I don’t use NMJ (I use the YAMJ plugin) so I don’t know off the top of my head the steps to do

Cheers
Damian

Paul September 28, 2012 at 8:23 am

Hi Damian,
Thanks for quick response. How’s easy is YAMJ’s setup and where can i download plugin and install? ease to use and convenience?
any opinion/comparision of YAMJ and NMJ.
thanks.
Paul

Damian September 28, 2012 at 8:27 am

Hi Paul,

You can find t he info for YAMJ/Eversion here (https://github.com/accident12123/eversion/wiki). You need to manage the jukebox from your PC (i.e. just to update the jukebox, not to actually use on the PCH).

If you look in my review I show briefly a few screenshots (3rd party jukebox section) – http://www.mediasmartserver.net/2011/12/20/review-pch-a300-review/

Cheers
Damian

Paul September 28, 2012 at 8:33 am

I have multiple network shares drive.
How can i link all network shares drive to make one big jukebox wall art?
Any jukebox can do that? NMJ, YAMJ,Oversight, etc?
thanks,
Paul

Damian September 28, 2012 at 8:35 am

NMJ you can’t (which is a big drawback for many people). All other jukeboxes (YAMJ, oversight, etc…) you can group into one big jukebox

Cheers
Damian

Paul September 28, 2012 at 8:49 am

do you need to leave PC on all the time for A-300 to run YAMJ jukebox?

Damian September 28, 2012 at 8:53 am

No, just to update the YAMJ jukebox. The only device that needs to be on to use YAMJ is wherever you store your actual jukebox output file (I store mine on my server, you could store on your PC, internal PCH drive, etc…)

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