3 expert reviews - 0 user reviews
We have collected 3 reviews of the PopcornHour C-300. Experts rate PopcornHour C-300 7.3/10. Reviewsor.com helps you find reviews, best prices, user reviews of the PopcornHour C-300 and PopcornHour Multimedia hard drive.
The Popcorn Hour series of network media streamers have become cult classics, thanks to their excellent format support and abundance of features. The re-jigged line-up of devices includes this top-of-the-range model, the C-300. It's so smart it can act as a server for other media players on your network. With many smart TVs and Blu-ray players now capable of handling digital media quite well, is there still room for dedicated media streamers, especially ones that leave you little change from £350? Popcorn Hour has completely changed the user interface on the C-300 compared to the previous A-210 and C-200 models. Turn on the player and you're presented with a banner across the middle of the screen that contains five icons for Apps Market, Local Media, Network Content, Settings and a Set-up Wizard. The design of the menus is quite basic, especially compared to the Apple TV or Xbox 360, but at least they're not completely static. There are scrolling transitions as you move from one entry to another. The user interface is fairly basic and not all that intuitive to use.
The dedicated media streamer has thus far been a niche product, but that's changing fast. With the latest Apple TV embracing 1080p streaming for the first time, consider the ante well and truly upped in the world of media streamers. The new Popcorn Hour C-300's maker Syabas is a regular class leader, priced at £340 in the UK and $350 in the US. With smart TVs able to stream files over Wi-Fi and games consoles, tablet apps and £99 components also getting in on the act, some might wonder why we need a dedicated streamer. The simple answer is that this player - an update on 2010's Popcorn Hour C-200 - can also act as a NAS drive, decode almost any file in your collection, provides apps, and displays an entire media library complete with cover art. The only real trouble with the forerunning Popcorn Hour C-200 was a rather horrid user interface, but on the Popcorn Hour C-300 there's a completely refreshed version, alongside new Networked Media Jukebox software for handling its arty side. Across the front of the Popcorn Hour C-300 is a 2.5-inch display that can be activated to control music without needing a TV to be switched on, something that's never really made sense. However, the hard-button navigation controls have disappeared.
The Popcorn Hour C-300 has been designed very much in line with the hybrid PCH C-200 Blu-ray player plus media centre and the electronics and software are strictly speaking identical to the A-300. So what’s new? The colour LCD screen on the front of course! As we’ve said the Popcorn Hour A-300 and C-300 share the same components and internal software. We’re not going to repeat everything we’ve already said in our test for the A-300 and refer you to that for a breakdown of the strengths and weaknesses of the flash interface, which includes a universal jukebox and an applications market. In this article we’re going to concentrate on the colour LCD screen on the front. To summarise rapidly: it left us wanting more. Given its size and the fact that it’s a colour screen we expected it to be a true secondary display, giving access to information and features that would either be new or complementary to those displayed by the television or projector. Thus, in almost all cases, this screen simply gives a zoom of a part of the screen displayed on the television. This means you can browse the menus when the TV is off, notably in ‘tree’ mode (see illustration). In jukebox mode (NMJ), we were hoping for something from the screen with audio playback, where the TV isn’t used.
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