popcornhour

For a few years now I have wanted a proper media center that is not connected to a PC, but more like a standalone system that can access your network or shared devices. Well that time as finally arrived, with the arrival of the Popcorn hour network media streamer. Unless you frequent Audio/Visual Forums or websites, the chances are pretty great that you have never heard of it. However if you are interested in knowing more, click on the following link: (Streamers and Network Players).

As these devices go, they are cutting edge and not available in the high street. They are also somewhat buggy and unless you are willing to settle with a device where you’ll have your fair share of hiccups it’s recommend you not buy one. Of course the advantages of owning one is that you get to test theses new devices, advice the makers of bugs, and hopefully they fix them and release new firmware  and you have a player that plays every possible format (codec) under the sun.

The popcornhour is no bigger than DVD enclosure, and fits perfectly underneath your LCD or amongst your other media devices and is an incredible piece of equipment considering it can play all of the following formats:

Video [extension(s)] :
• ASF/WMV [.asf, .wmv] | MOV/MP4 [.mov, .mp4] | MPEG2PS [.ps] | MPEG2TS [.ts] | AVI [.avi, divx] | MPG [.mpg, .mpe, .mpeg, .m2v, .vob, .vro]

Video :
• 4 standard definition streams (PAL and NTSC formats) in any of the following
format: VC-1, H.264, MPEG-4 and MPEG-2
• One high definition stream 1920 x 1080i(60), 1920 x 1080p (30), 1280 x720p
(60) and one standard definition stream simultaneously
• H.264 BP@L3, MP/HP@L4.0, HP@L4.1
• WMV9 MP@HL
• VC-1 MP@HL, AP@L3
• MPEG-4 ASP @L5 1
• MPEG-2 MP@HL and MP@ML

Subtitle [extension(s)] :

• MicroDVD [.sub]
• SubRip [.srt]
• Sub Station Alpha [.ssa]
• Sami [.smi]

Audio [extension(s)] :
• WAV [.wav, .pcm] | ADIF, ADTS [.aac] | M4A [.m4a] | O.G.G. [.ogg] | ASF/WMA [.asf, .wma] | FLAC [.flac]

Audio :
• MPEG 1/2 Audio Layers I, II, and III (MP3)
• Dolby Digital® (AC-3)
• DTS
• PCM
• MPEG-2/4 AAC LC and HE
• Microsoft WMA and WMA Pro
• Supports the audio sampling rates at 8, 16, 22.05, 24, 32, 44.1, 48, and 96KHz
• Audio samples at 16, 20, 24, and 32 bits per channel
• FLAC (software decode)

and supports the following networks and Protocols:

Networking :
• Ethernet interface, 10-baseT/100-baseT
• miniPCI card slot for IEEE 802.11n
– Wi-Fi SSID : Maximum 64 characters
– Wi-Fi Security : WEP 64-bit, WEP 128-bit, WPA, WPA2

Protocols :
• UPnP AV NMPR v2.1
• UPnP 1.0 (connect to myiHome Lite)
• Bonjour
• Streaming via HTTP protocol over local network or the Internet
• WMS over HTTP support via the Internet
• RTSP over HTTP support via the Internet
• Multicast/IGMP support (optional)

But that is not all. You can also go online and watch online videos from sites such as YouTube, Google Video, MetaCafe, VideoCast, DL.TV, Cranky Geeks.
You can also listen online to the following: iPodcast, Radiobox, ABC News, Jamendo
Share or post Photos at Flickr, Picasa
Keep track of RSS feeds from Yahoo! Check the Weather, Traffic alerts, Stock, Cinecast, Traffic Conditions.
You can watch Peer-to-peer TV from SayaTV and listen to Internet Radio from Shoutcast.

It is an incredible device, and what makes it really special is that the firmware updates can be accessed online from the box and the team behind the Popcornhour (NMT – Network Media Tank) are constantly improving this device, which is a welcoming thought.