New PCH C-200 for HT Use - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 296 Old 08-28-2009, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
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I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm starting to get pretty excited about the new Popcorn Hour (PCH) C-200. It has a much nicer form than the A-110, and with some small tweaks to performance and GUI, etc, it should be a pretty great streamer/player.

I also think it's a great opportunity to try another thread...geared for newbies and HT enthusiasts...who may not yet be well-versed in digital media. We're not going to go into all the stuff that got us in trouble before, but I don't see anything wrong with the HT community pulling together here, in one spot, to help each other get their new PCHs (or older A-110s ) going.

In fact, I'll contribute the first topic: with my A-110 I've been a YAMJ (Yet Another Movie Jukebox) guy, and I know many of the other PCH guys here (like SW and CJ) are as well. This is the cover-art GUI that gets many users interested in the PCH and streaming in the first place. Part of the anticipation and speculation about the C-200, and its new, faster processor, is how that might enhance the user experience...the user interface. In other words, how will it allow GUIs like YAMJ to be even better?

Well...the initial scuttlebutt over at NMT is that YAMJ is pretty much going to stay the same; at least for now. However, with that news, lots of C-200 buyers are trying to decide whether to stick with YAMJ, or perhaps back UMC (Ultimate Media Collector). I have to admit...before seeing these posts about YAMJ staying pretty static, I was unaware of UMC. But I'm pretty intrigued. Shawn, CJ, et al...any thoughts, good or bad, about UMC? http://hdd-player.de/umc/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

CD

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post #2 of 296 Old 08-28-2009, 11:54 AM
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Thanks CD - I'll grab a seat at the table in the observer section.

I've used the google translator to try to keep up with many of the posts in your's and Shawn's threads but my browser just crashes. jk

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post #3 of 296 Old 08-28-2009, 12:15 PM
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I'll be giving you some company there KJ...

I gotta say though the UMC interface looks really nice CD. The thing that kind'a dissapointed me about YAMJ is that it was only for movies. A one stop solution for TV, pictures, music and anything else you need would certainly be better. Part of the reason I was thinking of doing a HTPC with media portal instead of the PCH. I would still need a pc good enough to do the "unspoken thing" to blu rays but this puts the PCH back in the game for me.

I suppose that UMC guide is compatible with the existing PCH?
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post #4 of 296 Old 08-28-2009, 12:53 PM
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I asked for clarification from PCH's PR folks, but they are saying that with the addition of a BD drive (like the one currently available for $50 from SonyStyle), the C-200 will be able to playback commercial BD discs with copy protection. If true, that could definitely make this a VERY reasonably priced jack of all trades. At $299 + $50 (BD Drive) + $40 (PlayOn for Hulu, NetFlix, etc) and you're looking at a sub-$400 box that should play back every type of HT media other than SACD/DVD-A.

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post #5 of 296 Old 08-28-2009, 02:21 PM
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So, does the new PCH store and play the disk (files) or do you still need to store the files somewhere else, like a PC or one of those mega disk players? I see the little network antenna in the pics above.

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post #6 of 296 Old 08-28-2009, 02:23 PM
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It doesn't rip discs like a Kaleidescape or similar device... it plays back media files (internal hard drive, network) as well as internet streaming media. It (supposedly) can also play commercial BD discs if you install a BD drive... I'm still waiting to see if this one is true, but PCH's PR firm says it is.

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post #7 of 296 Old 08-28-2009, 02:35 PM
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There is a music extension for the UMC, so I dont know what that really means for playback. It would take someone to test it to really find out for us
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post #8 of 296 Old 08-28-2009, 09:16 PM
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I pulled the trigger and ordered a C-200 so I will tag along here, as I start to learn the whole thing. My next task is to decide on how to store the media. What is everyone here using for a NAS/server?
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post #9 of 296 Old 08-29-2009, 12:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CDLehner View Post

The little antenna is for the new RF remote (another improvement over the A-100/110, depending upon who you're asking). You could store the files on the C-200, with an installed or attached hard drive, but you still have to get the movie files. Understand?

CD

I think so. I still need a harddrive or pc with the right software to get the movie files from the DVD/BD disk, then the PCH can access the files for playback?

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post #10 of 296 Old 08-29-2009, 04:03 AM
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I'm still on the fence trying to decide between the new PCH, upgrading my trusty old HTPC, or buying a new "nettop" PC when they become viable for HD. I'm looking forward to the first real reviews to come out for the C-200. If it truly nails both BD playback and every video codec, I'll be buying at least one! (Worst case is it ends up in my bedroom)
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post #11 of 296 Old 08-29-2009, 04:37 AM
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Thanks for starting this thread. I've heard of the Popcorn Hour before, but never new what it was used for. This thread has answered some of my questions.
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post #12 of 296 Old 08-29-2009, 06:39 AM
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I just received my popcorn hour A110 last week, sitting here in the box, received my acer easy store H340 as well. Hopefully I can make some time to get it all set up and running, busy trying to build the theater at the moment though, there is just not enough time in the day lol.

The new pCH does look cool, I will be ordering one once th e theater is complete and using the 110 in my bedroom.
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post #13 of 296 Old 08-29-2009, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oman321 View Post

A one stop solution for TV, pictures, music and anything else you need would certainly be better.

I would suggest you check out SageTV. Their HD200 extender (with Sage server running on a PC on the network) will give you all these things. I run 4 tuners (allowing for recording/timeshifting of 4 shows at the same time) plus access to ripped DVDs/Blu rays and audio, etc.

Further, it really is ideal for multi TV setups. With Sage (either a computer or an extender) hooked up to each screen, you can start a TV show or movie downstairs, pause half way through, go upstairs and get ready for bed, then just press play upstairs and watch the rest of it in bed.

Personally, I really don't understand why the PCHs have gotten so much attention since coming out, when their "whole house" functionality seems to be rather limited compared to a Sage setup.

www.sagetv.com

-Suntan
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post #14 of 296 Old 08-29-2009, 03:36 PM
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Wow, that Sage box sounds cool. No pc? where do you store the files? Still need a storage device I take it? Looking to do Blu-Ray playback. Yes, I'm new to this. All I have is a 1 year old laptop. I don't really want another computer.
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post #15 of 296 Old 08-29-2009, 07:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CDLehner View Post

PCH, of course, plays everything you can throw at it.

So you have confirmation that this new PCH plays Blu Ray ISO rips (not mkv but that it can parse straight ISOs for all of us that would rather archive our collection completely instead of having to hackney around with re-muxing everything?)

Because none of the other PCHs can...

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Originally Posted by CDLehner View Post

Second of all, while I'm not dogging SageTV (like you did PCH)

Jeez, if what I said is all it takes for you to feel like I am disrespecting it.

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Originally Posted by CDLehner View Post

I am scratching my head over how you play your own content without a PC?

So did you just choose to *not read* the part where I talked about having Sage Server running on a networked PC?

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So maybe that's why the PCH has "gotten so much attention"; because it does everything the Sage does, and more?

How's the customer service? Gotta love searching a wiki when something doesn't work right...

Anyway, you obviously feel a direct attachment to your brand of network player that I just don't have for mine, so I will leave you to ardently defend your gear. As I mentioned before, I think Sage is ideal for multi-TV setups, where a person wants identical and interconnected, real time interfaces with multiple TVs throughout the house. I never meant to imply that the PCH products are any less than they are (as in fact I never said anything of the sort.)

Sorry I interrupted your PCH love in, but as someone in particular initially mentioned:

Quote:


I also think it's a great opportunity to try another thread...geared for newbies and HT enthusiasts...who may not yet be well-versed in digital media.

I was under the mistaken impressions that the idea was to help newbies and HT enthusiasts get a leg up on understanding what their options were. Again, sorry I was mistaken, that's obviously *not* what this thread is for.

-Suntan
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post #16 of 296 Old 08-30-2009, 05:06 AM
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Is anyone getting a Middle Atlantic Custom Shelf made for a C200?
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post #17 of 296 Old 08-30-2009, 07:43 PM
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Just to throw a little more gas on the fire...

I have SageTV and the one thing it has that PCH doesn't (you said it has everything I think) is a TV programming guide. I have an HDHR and I've also considered getting the Hauppauge Component video recorder. Both require the guide to really be effective.

I've been exploring alternatives to SageTV but they all fall short in this regard. Don't get me wrong, I really wish SageTV wasn't written in Java and it occasionally drives me nuts. If I had an easier and more attractive alternative I'd probably switch. Gotta have the guide though. Hulu's only so good and quality isn't so great on a 60" screen. If you want a channel surfing DVR type of experience you have to have a program guide.

There's talk of the XBMC group of apps getting this but it's probably a good long way out.

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post #18 of 296 Old 08-30-2009, 09:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BitBass View Post

I have SageTV and the one thing it has that PCH doesn't (you said it has everything I think) is a TV programming guide.

With the continuing development of GB PVR, there is support beginning for DVR capabilities in regular NMT units. I've never used it, but I'd put wagers down that it is not as fleshed out as Sage in that regard.

Quote:


I just don't think your positioning, intended or otherwise, was fair.

I started my first post with, "I suggest you check out SageTV." ...Yeah, that's really 'unfair' to tell someone to go look at a webpage. I mean, certainly nobody around here can actually look at stuff on their own and decide for themselves if it will meet their needs. I suppose it would have been 'more fair' to say "whatever you do, don't look at Sage, get on that waiting list for a C200!"

-Suntan
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post #19 of 296 Old 08-30-2009, 09:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suntan View Post

With the continuing development of GB PVR, there is support beginning for DVR capabilities in regular NMT units. I've never used it, but I'd put wagers down that it is not as fleshed out as Sage in that regard.



I started my first post with, "I suggest you check out SageTV." ...Yeah, that's really 'unfair' to tell someone to go look at a webpage. I mean, certainly nobody around here can actually look at stuff on their own and decide for themselves if it will meet their needs. I suppose it would have been 'more fair' to say "whatever you do, don't look at Sage, get on that waiting list for a C200!"

-Suntan

Dude, I give...OK. You said more than just "I suggest you check out SageTV"; "it really is ideal for multi TV setups"..."you can start a TV show or movie downstairs, pause half way through, go upstairs and get ready for bed, then just press play upstairs and watch the rest of it in bed"..."I really don't understand why the PCHs have gotten so much attention since coming out, when their "whole house" functionality seems to be rather limited compared to a Sage setup"..."So you have confirmation that this new PCH plays Blu Ray ISO rips...Because none of the other PCHs can"..."How's the customer service? Gotta love searching a wiki when something doesn't work right".

OK; all I did was copy and paste your remarks, so stop painting yourself to be some innocent victim...you've said plenty. I don't care if you like SageTV, and I don't care if other people look into SageTV; that's all well and good as far as I'm concerned. What I don't like, is you come in here and dog the PCH...yes, your comments make it sound like the SageTV does this and that, and PCH doesn't...and then you play all hurt "who me" victim, like I'm the attacker here.

In any case, I think you've effectively derailed the thread...good job.

CD

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post #20 of 296 Old 08-31-2009, 12:05 AM
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I'm glad we can all be mature. Everyone has their personal preferences. I personally like using a HTPC for my needs. I can add all features if I want, or pick and choose what I need and leave out the rest.

I just checked out SageTV...never heard of it. Neat features but not what I want. I don't record TV, I get my shows on DVD / Blu-ray, and I typically watch a movie / show in one sitting. But I realize that others may find it useful.

I was looking at building a low-profile HTPC to access my media server...as of now my HTPC and server are the same computer. When I saw that I could get the PCH C-200 and add a Blu-ray drive for $350+ I was instantly interested. I'm not entirely sure I'm sold but I do know that the PCH is still on my list while SageTV is not.

CDLehner, how do you store your Blu-ray rips? I rip mine to MKV with the chapters file, untouched video, and the HD audio track converted to FLAC. I see that the PCH supports MKV and FLAC, but if I recall you mentioned somewhere that you weren't sure if it supports FLAC in a MKV container...you were just sure that it could play a FLAC file by itself.

I've heard of many using TS files, but that doesn't support FLAC. And I've heard that TS files typically bog down the network vs. MKV. I know that you successfully play BD rips and was curious what you do. I was looking at YAMJ and wasn't sure what NMTPath to use nor how to set them up. I see the HTTP is fastest (but doesn't support ISO and IFO files), then SMB, and NFS. I would like to try HTTP streaming but I have no idea how to do this. As it is I'm not even sure what I want to do for a server.

I was looking at using unRAID, but then saw flexRAID. Then I wasn't even sure if I should just get Windows 7 or WHS and install a couple RAID cards to setup RAID5 or RAID6. I like the idea of unRAID but I'm not sure if I want to venture away from Windows. And with RAID5 / RAID6 I have a tolerance of 1 / 2 drives...anything more and all data is lost. But with unRAID I can lose 2 drives and not lose any data...anymore and I only lose the data on the corrupt drives.

Sorry! That was a lot thrown out there. I'm in the process of getting a server and a new PCH / HTPC and am having a hard time deciding what will work best. I would like to go the PCH route but need to make sure my current rips can work with it or that I can convert them over to work (like to a TS or M2TS container). I just want to keep full resolution video and audio.

Thanks for any help. I look forward to more news on UMC. So far YAMJ looks pretty good but I want to look at all my options. I will have to research it.
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post #21 of 296 Old 08-31-2009, 07:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CDLehner View Post

In any case, I think you've effectively derailed the thread...good job.

Not at all. As you yourself have said multiple times (but seem to have deleted) the idea was to give people some notion of their options. That's what I was doing. It didn't get petty until you responded back telling me to effectively "go away" because I had the audacity to suggest a different brand of box.

-Suntan
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post #22 of 296 Old 08-31-2009, 07:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Hopkins View Post

I asked for clarification from PCH's PR folks, but they are saying that with the addition of a BD drive (like the one currently available for $50 from SonyStyle), the C-200 will be able to playback commercial BD discs with copy protection.

It will.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suntan View Post

So you have confirmation that this new PCH plays Blu Ray ISO rips (not mkv but that it can parse straight ISOs for all of us that would rather archive our collection completely instead of having to hackney around with re-muxing everything?)

Due to the legality, they will not confirm it, but it is widely understood that this is going to be possible. I'll let you know for sure next month

Quote:
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How's the customer service? Gotta love searching a wiki when something doesn't work right...

I've actually found the combination of wiki and forums to be very helpful. The developers do participate on the forums along with the everyday users.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suntan View Post

Further, it really is ideal for multi TV setups. With Sage (either a computer or an extender) hooked up to each screen, you can start a TV show or movie downstairs, pause half way through, go upstairs and get ready for bed, then just press play upstairs and watch the rest of it in bed.

I can do this now with the NMT's or any other source and don't use an extender box (just a/v distribution).

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post #23 of 296 Old 08-31-2009, 08:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlmaclennan View Post

I've heard of many using TS files, but that doesn't support FLAC. And I've heard that TS files typically bog down the network vs. MKV. I know that you successfully play BD rips and was curious what you do. I was looking at YAMJ and wasn't sure what NMTPath to use nor how to set them up. I see the HTTP is fastest (but doesn't support ISO and IFO files), then SMB, and NFS. I would like to try HTTP streaming but I have no idea how to do this. As it is I'm not even sure what I want to do for a server.

I haven't had any issues with streaming TS files over a 100kbps network using SMB.

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post #24 of 296 Old 08-31-2009, 08:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlmaclennan View Post


I just checked out SageTV...never heard of it. Neat features but not what I want. I don't record TV, I get my shows on DVD / Blu-ray, and I typically watch a movie / show in one sitting. But I realize that others may find it useful

I do know that the PCH is still on my list while SageTV is not.

Fair enough. I will just add that Sage extenders do have full support for cataloging and playing back DVD rips, including full menu support. It also supports main movie playback of Blu Ray rips, although they are still working to add support for Blu Ray menus.

One nice thing is that they support the blu ray folder structure such that you can just rip the disc (or select for AnyDVDHD to rip the main movie) and it will play the main movie. You don't need to deal with remuxing each disc, into an mkv etc.

As for disc playback, if you already own AnyDVDHD, you can play a Blu Ray or DVD disc on the extender by putting it in the computer blu ray drive.

On the downside, the HD200 does not currently support HDA like TrueHD or DTS HD-MA it will only transport the core tracks (DD/DTS) embedded in those streams. This is the main limitation holding me back from using it for all my Blu Ray needs.

-Suntan
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post #25 of 296 Old 08-31-2009, 08:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suntan View Post

I would suggest you check out SageTV. Their HD200 extender (with Sage server running on a PC on the network) will give you all these things. I run 4 tuners (allowing for recording/timeshifting of 4 shows at the same time) plus access to ripped DVDs/Blu rays and audio, etc.

Further, it really is ideal for multi TV setups. With Sage (either a computer or an extender) hooked up to each screen, you can start a TV show or movie downstairs, pause half way through, go upstairs and get ready for bed, then just press play upstairs and watch the rest of it in bed.

Personally, I really don't understand why the PCHs have gotten so much attention since coming out, when their "whole house" functionality seems to be rather limited compared to a Sage setup.

www.sagetv.com

-Suntan

Thanks for the heads up on Sage. I have heard of it before but never looked into it. I'm gonna see everything it has to offer, but ultimately for me I think a HTPC might serve my needs best right now and then in the future I can add additional access points thru out the house either using PCH, Sage other NMT's.

The one downside to what you recently mentioned is the DTS-MA and DD-THD but that would be no biggie for bedroom and other areas besides the HT. The future holds many possibilities, now to get the funding
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post #26 of 296 Old 09-01-2009, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJO View Post

I haven't had any issues with streaming TS files over a 100kbps network using SMB.

CJ

Hmm, I searched for where I saw that info on TS files being a network hog but I can't find it...maybe I imagined that. I just read in the NMTWiki that TS files actually support higher bitrate spikes, up to 40mb/s where as MKV only supports 30mb/s spikes.

With that knowledge it seem TS would be better. Though I would have to re-rip all my Blus (only about 30-40) since I use FLAC and it is not supported for TS files. Plus with the C-200 I can leave the HD audio tracks untouched and allow for audio pass-through...though I'm not sure TS files support them. M2TS files do. Hmm, need to do some more research before I commit to buying.
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post #27 of 296 Old 09-01-2009, 04:22 PM
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So if I were to use Any***HD and rip BD discs to my Windows Home Server, and keeping the discs original. By that I mean the VOB equal in BD I think it's MT2S or something like that, will this bit stream DTS-MA and True HD?

I don't want to stream, recode, decode, remux, or covert. I want the original disc on a hard drive with no compression, served through the wired network to the PCH. Basically a disc-less changer.
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post #28 of 296 Old 09-01-2009, 09:39 PM
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Yep.

CJ

coneilliv at aol dot com

The Dark Knight Theater
(a bunch of good reference links and material in first 15 posts)
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post #29 of 296 Old 09-01-2009, 10:16 PM
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Just ordered my MA custom shelf for the C-200.
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post #30 of 296 Old 09-01-2009, 10:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJO View Post

Due to the legality, they will not confirm it, but it is widely understood that this is going to be possible. I'll let you know for sure next month

CJ

Looking forward to finding out if this is true as well...keep us posted, please!

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