POPCORN HOUR A-400 is coming soon - Page 10 - AVS Forum
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Networking, Media Servers & Content Streaming > POPCORN HOUR A-400 is coming soon
Brajesh's Avatar Brajesh 09:41 AM 11-16-2012
Hoping the same here. C'mon Diamond Designs, come through for us quick before Thanksgiving smile.gif!

halfelite's Avatar halfelite 10:51 AM 11-16-2012
Although the reports that the avengers was stuttering last firmware and was fixed with the new firmware is a good sign. Although the user still says others stutter, But we need a bigger user base to test out, As hard to say if its the boxes fault or someones network setup,
Wryker's Avatar Wryker 02:04 PM 11-16-2012
EVT's Avatar EVT 02:38 PM 11-16-2012
So what are you guys ripping your blu-ray's to in order to get proper playback wtih forced subtitles?

As I have two Dune players I rip the movie only but play it back as a blu-ray so all forced subs are picked up and multi file blu-ray's do not cause skips or dropouts - since it looks like all media players are moving away from blu-ray menu support I'm trying to figure out how to setup all my future rips (I can't even imagine having to re-rip my existing library).
bluewhale1's Avatar bluewhale1 04:58 PM 11-16-2012
Still having trouble fining the answer to a couple of questions
1) Does each movie iso have to be in its own folder? (Does the app have to add info and images to the folder containing the movie ie fanrt.jpg, background.jpg etc etc)
2) The nmj for the A400 is it only and app that can only be used via the a400(ie not a stand alone software)?
3) If the Nmj app isnt a stand alone software does that mean i would have to update my library on each a400 machine?


Thanks for any help
Also i talked to diamond design this morning via email. They said they were hoping they can start shipping by Tuesday. Mind you this was told to me probably before they opened so not 100% sure
Fudoh's Avatar Fudoh 07:02 PM 11-16-2012
So, today I got my A-400 (I'm in Germany).

I posted a longer review (or a bunch of first impressions) over here, but it's in german: http://www.hifi-forum.de/index.php?action=browseT&forum_id=181&thread=9102&postID=75#75

To summarize a few points in english though: I've been using a Oppo BD player and a Dune Smart unit. Both paired up with external video processors (also with VXP processors). The main reason why I got the A-400 was to check how good the Sigma 8911 is and if it can replace a Oppo + standalone VP for SD playback. In short: it can't.

The A-400 looks and feels nice and doesn't even get warm after 4 hours of use (without internal HDD), but the current firmware (the one released yesterday) is extremely buggy. I had of lots of crashes, either when starting or ending MKV playback and a few times on the info screen as well. But I guess those bugs will be fixed in the long run. Just wondering why the essentials can't be fixed with the Popcorn Hour players around for years now.

The HD rips I tried (MKV) all played fine, but I was really disappointed to see what remained of the VXP features. I mean, hello, the "big" VXP processors came out in 2006 and 2007. Gennum was purchased by Sigma in 2008 and 4 years later, Sigma can't even bring the full VXP feature set to it's flagship decoder/processor ? 3D Noise Reduction, Block Artefact Reduction, Mosquito Noise Reduction - all not available. What's there is the adaptive contrast control (which is silly since nobody likes it anyway and those who do can use the same feature on their TV set). I was looking forward to the deinterlacing features, but they're not great. In the menu VXP deinterlacing can be set to on or off and it switches the A400 from a simple video deinterlacing mode to the VXP video mode. I tried a bunch of DVD rips with hard telecines and the VXP was not able to switch into film mode - not even for a moment. So I don't see where the "adaptive film mode" ads come from.

The VXP's video deinterlacing is nice, not great though and NOWHERE as good as the deinterlacing on any standalone VXP processor is or was. For people who know other processors: I would rate it below the ABT2010/15 and below the Marvell QDEO on all accounts. Of course it's better than what a realtek player does (or what the old Sigma chips did), but it's still a joke for serious SD playback. A problem is also the 8911's scaling engine. It's soft and completely lacks any wow-factor. I would compare it to the Silicon Optix Reon, but probably not even that "good". I tried a number of SD DVDs, like SW Episode 4, Tarzan from the Warner Archive collection and a bunch of others and it wasn't great. Not even a hint of an "HD-look".

I had my Dune Smart connected at the same time, accessing the same network share and even there, the SD Images look *WAY* better. Considerably sharper and more detailed. Even when playing back 720p MKVs, the Dune's scaling was sharper and just nicer to look at. Of course the Dune totally sucks at deinterlacing, but what good is a nice deinterlacing mode (lacking a real film mode though) if the scaling doesn't cut it in the end ?

I think that most bugs will eventually be fixed and that the A400 will become a very popular HD media player with great app archive for online access to the popolar sites, BUT as of NOW and for ME, the 8911's VXP features are a total failure.
halfelite's Avatar halfelite 08:21 PM 11-16-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudoh View Post

I think that most bugs will eventually be fixed and that the A400 will become a very popular HD media player with great app archive for online access to the popolar sites, BUT as of NOW and for ME, the 8911's VXP features are a total failure.

Nice write up did you test any 3d content? Also it has been said that more VXP settings might come, so guess we will wait and see. Do you think the shot comings of the vxp is the settings they are using are not giving its full potential or bad implementation?
Fudoh's Avatar Fudoh 03:03 AM 11-17-2012
I didn't test any 3D yet, maybe this weekend.
Quote:
Do you think the shot comings of the vxp is the settings they are using are not giving its full potential or bad implementation?
might be a mix of both. If stuff like noise reduction is available in the chip, it can be made accessable through a software upgrade. The VXP is certainly capable of full film mode deinterlacing (other Sigma would be stupid as hell) and I have no idea why the A400 only offers a single video mode. The (lackluster) scaling on the other side might be a limitation of the implementation.
breadvan's Avatar breadvan 03:35 AM 11-17-2012
Is there a reason you can get one in Germany but not PCH own website?
dbone1026's Avatar dbone1026 03:40 AM 11-17-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by breadvan View Post

Is there a reason you can get one in Germany but not PCH own website?

Germany gets special treatment because of this guy wink.gif

David_Hasselhoff.jpeg
breadvan's Avatar breadvan 03:57 AM 11-17-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbone1026 View Post

Germany gets special treatment because of this guy wink.gif
David_Hasselhoff.jpeg

Now I know, perfectly reasonable, my bad biggrin.gif
GusGus748s's Avatar GusGus748s 04:14 AM 11-17-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbone1026 View Post

Germany gets special treatment because of this guy wink.gif
David_Hasselhoff.jpeg

Dude, you just made me spill my drink. I am LMAO biggrin.gif
sanderdvd's Avatar sanderdvd 05:14 AM 11-17-2012
I have a specific question for the upcomming A-400:
What I need is 'dual-audio output'. With this I mean audio both send over SPDIF (the core DD/DTS signal) and simultanously the lossless DTS-MA/True-HD signal over HDMI). The Dune and Oppo have this 'feauture' for example.
You guys think this will be supported by the Popcorn Hour A-400?
Gary J's Avatar Gary J 05:26 AM 11-17-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudoh View Post

So, today I got my A-400 (I'm in Germany).

The A-400 looks and feels nice and doesn't even get warm after 4 hours of use (without internal HDD), but the current firmware (the one released yesterday) is extremely buggy. I had of lots of crashes, either when starting or ending MKV playback and a few times on the info screen as well.

Why I wait months after any new PCH products now. Not sure why all the de-interlacing and scaling concerns though unless you play a lot of pre-HD stuff.
aaronwt's Avatar aaronwt 08:58 AM 11-17-2012
So is VXP really for SD content then? If so then I will never turn it on since I will be watching HD content with my A-400. Besides the picture already looks superb from my C200 with my DVDO DUO and Darbee Darblet in the video chain.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudoh View Post

So, today I got my A-400 (I'm in Germany).
I posted a longer review (or a bunch of first impressions) over here, but it's in german: http://www.hifi-forum.de/index.php?action=browseT&forum_id=181&thread=9102&postID=75#75
To summarize a few points in english though: I've been using a Oppo BD player and a Dune Smart unit. Both paired up with external video processors (also with VXP processors). The main reason why I got the A-400 was to check how good the Sigma 8911 is and if it can replace a Oppo + standalone VP for SD playback. In short: it can't.
The A-400 looks and feels nice and doesn't even get warm after 4 hours of use (without internal HDD), but the current firmware (the one released yesterday) is extremely buggy. I had of lots of crashes, either when starting or ending MKV playback and a few times on the info screen as well. But I guess those bugs will be fixed in the long run. Just wondering why the essentials can't be fixed with the Popcorn Hour players around for years now.
The HD rips I tried (MKV) all played fine, but I was really disappointed to see what remained of the VXP features. I mean, hello, the "big" VXP processors came out in 2006 and 2007. Gennum was purchased by Sigma in 2008 and 4 years later, Sigma can't even bring the full VXP feature set to it's flagship decoder/processor ? 3D Noise Reduction, Block Artefact Reduction, Mosquito Noise Reduction - all not available. What's there is the adaptive contrast control (which is silly since nobody likes it anyway and those who do can use the same feature on their TV set). I was looking forward to the deinterlacing features, but they're not great. In the menu VXP deinterlacing can be set to on or off and it switches the A400 from a simple video deinterlacing mode to the VXP video mode. I tried a bunch of DVD rips with hard telecines and the VXP was not able to switch into film mode - not even for a moment. So I don't see where the "adaptive film mode" ads come from.
The VXP's video deinterlacing is nice, not great though and NOWHERE as good as the deinterlacing on any standalone VXP processor is or was. For people who know other processors: I would rate it below the ABT2010/15 and below the Marvell QDEO on all accounts. Of course it's better than what a realtek player does (or what the old Sigma chips did), but it's still a joke for serious SD playback. A problem is also the 8911's scaling engine. It's soft and completely lacks any wow-factor. I would compare it to the Silicon Optix Reon, but probably not even that "good". I tried a number of SD DVDs, like SW Episode 4, Tarzan from the Warner Archive collection and a bunch of others and it wasn't great. Not even a hint of an "HD-look".
I had my Dune Smart connected at the same time, accessing the same network share and even there, the SD Images look *WAY* better. Considerably sharper and more detailed. Even when playing back 720p MKVs, the Dune's scaling was sharper and just nicer to look at. Of course the Dune totally sucks at deinterlacing, but what good is a nice deinterlacing mode (lacking a real film mode though) if the scaling doesn't cut it in the end ?
I think that most bugs will eventually be fixed and that the A400 will become a very popular HD media player with great app archive for online access to the popolar sites, BUT as of NOW and for ME, the 8911's VXP features are a total failure.

moxxey's Avatar moxxey 09:29 AM 11-17-2012
is the picture Quality better then the Dune Smart series?
Fudoh's Avatar Fudoh 11:21 AM 11-17-2012
Right now the Dune Smart has better picture as long as scaling is involved and as long as the source is already progressive.

1080i looks better on the A-400, which isn't hard since the Dune Smart had quite mediocre deinterlacing. 1080p looks the same to me on both players.
canton160's Avatar canton160 11:37 AM 11-17-2012
halfelite's Avatar halfelite 01:39 PM 11-17-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by canton160 View Post

from what ive being reading the A400 is very buggy
http://www.networkedmediatank.com/showthread.php?tid=63799
http://www.networkedmediatank.com/showthread.php?tid=63775

its looking that way hopefully some more seasoned media streaming people as well as respected people get there hands on one so we get there input on it as well. Always hard to tell a box by the first time users.
Rui Pedro's Avatar Rui Pedro 02:40 PM 11-17-2012
Does medx is better then the a400 ? Btw where did u guys got the a400? I cant find a site for order mine...
dbone1026's Avatar dbone1026 02:41 PM 11-17-2012
I think the big area that people will run into issue with is playback of Blu ray 3D over the network (in particular smb). Hopefully owners who are looking to do this are already aware it will be a big issue.

I do worry as well if the A400 is very buggy that Syabas will focus even more resources towards and thus further delay fixes for the more "stable" 300 series
halfelite's Avatar halfelite 04:45 PM 11-17-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbone1026 View Post

I think the big area that people will run into issue with is playback of Blu ray 3D over the network (in particular smb). Hopefully owners who are looking to do this are already aware it will be a big issue.
I do worry as well if the A400 is very buggy that Syabas will focus even more resources towards and thus further delay fixes for the more "stable" 300 series

I think the next question to arise from this is, it actually the player or the NAS unit they are using cant keep up with the stream, It will take a lot of users input, with different hardware setups, to come to a full conclusion, As I suspect some of the older generations NAS units might not be up to speed to handle it either. But they players will get the blame.
dbone1026's Avatar dbone1026 04:53 PM 11-17-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by halfelite View Post

I think the next question to arise from this is, it actually the player or the NAS unit they are using cant keep up with the stream, It will take a lot of users input, with different hardware setups, to come to a full conclusion, As I suspect some of the older generations NAS units might not be up to speed to handle it either. But they players will get the blame.

Agreed
As of now we know synology doesnt work well for streaming 3d blu ray (both smb and nfs). My whsv1 machine has no issues streaming via nfs but smb struggles (assuming issue is with smb protocol on the player.

I will have to dust off my whs 2011 or server 2012 to test out as well, see how consistent the results are
Wizziwig's Avatar Wizziwig 06:09 PM 11-17-2012
Nobody should buy a new media streamer at launch unless they enjoy being an unpaid beta tester. Best to wait until the dust settles in a few months or a year. It's a very bad idea to buy a player with expectations of features being added or fixed after purchase - you will likely end up disappointed. This goes for most brands, not just PCH.
Brajesh's Avatar Brajesh 06:42 PM 11-17-2012
This is true of practically every media streamer released to date. It's just whether you want to put up with the sh*t or not while they make the player more stable.
JaremyP's Avatar JaremyP 06:49 PM 11-17-2012
Been looking at the content for local meta data on this page: http://networkedmediatank.com/showthread.php?tid=46095

So PCH devices pull meta for movies and TV shows from IMDB? Not from themoviedb nor thetvdb at all? When organizing TV episode order in file names then, you need to name according the IMDB order and all should be well?
Ph8te's Avatar Ph8te 09:30 PM 11-17-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by JaremyP View Post

Been looking at the content for local meta data on this page: http://networkedmediatank.com/showthread.php?tid=46095
So PCH devices pull meta for movies and TV shows from IMDB? Not from themoviedb nor thetvdb at all? When organizing TV episode order in file names then, you need to name according the IMDB order and all should be well?

They might have changed to themoviedb and thetvdb, as that guide is 2 years old.....From the posts in the A400 thread they say its themoviedb and thetvdb
sanderdvd's Avatar sanderdvd 12:03 AM 11-18-2012
I have a specific question for the upcomming A-400:
What I need is 'dual-audio output'. With this I mean audio both send over SPDIF (the core DD/DTS signal) and simultanously the lossless DTS-MA/True-HD signal over HDMI). The Dune and Oppo have this 'feauture' for example.

Let me try to explain more detailed:

I have a D-Box Motion Code system. These are motion seats that work with a special decoder. This decoder NEEDS the lossy DD/DTS core signal feeded by optical (since the D-Box decoders does not have a HDMI input and only a optical input).

What the Oppo (eg. BDP-93) and Panasonic (eg. 310) can do is send the core DD/DTS trough its optical out and simultanously send the lossless True-HD/DTS-MA signal through its HDMI out (which also of course contains the video signal). This all when playing a Blu-Ray with the True-HD/DTS-MA track selected.
With this config I can enjoy both my D-Box AND lossless audio.

So I m specifically looking for the above 'feature'. Someone knows (due to experience with other Popcorn Hour models like the 300) if this will work on the A-400?

Thanks in advance.
vdd104's Avatar vdd104 09:54 AM 11-19-2012
So has anyone had an update from Diamond Design?

I received an email at about midnight (USA EST) telling me that the A-400 will be available from the Popcorn website this Wednesday. Im hoping that we will get our "pre-order" units before people that have simply ordered from the Popcorn website this Wednesday.
halfelite's Avatar halfelite 10:49 AM 11-19-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbone1026 View Post

Agreed
As of now we know synology doesnt work well for streaming 3d blu ray (both smb and nfs). My whsv1 machine has no issues streaming via nfs but smb struggles (assuming issue is with smb protocol on the player.
I will have to dust off my whs 2011 or server 2012 to test out as well, see how consistent the results are

Some more tests have came in from people willing to test. Someone had an ISO that would not play over samba/windows 7 he unpacked it to just a bdmv and said it played fine for the 45 minutes he left it running, So somewhat of a good sign that its not a network issue and maybe a container issue on the a400 right now.
Tags: Popcorn Hour A 400 Network Media Jukebox
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