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How things look after inital market survey - Newbies look here - Going with POPBOX

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Well after a week of reading the boards, looking at products, and confronting the varying opinions and options offering; I'd like to share with others who are new to the board or the vets who have been at it for a while exactly how the playing field looks....

My needs are not too specialized however I happen to agree with iboum that the user interface and access to a few specialized internet products will make the choice media player shine through. We can all deal with a shortcoming here or there if it doesn't support this format at that fps in dts. But, if it takes three minutes to select our file on a windows 3.1 interface, I'd rather burn a disc.

Here how it looks from my point of view and why: (top contenders)

1. A.C.Ryan PlayON mini - new kid on the block right now. Not too much info as of yet. I see that they give you a real remote. This is nice as it is part of the interface by definition. I am curious if Ryan will firmware these unit to the next level of boxee and popbox or if he will do a different model...

2. WD Live - in terms of numbers, this product will be here for a while. I understand that the dvd read problem has been resolved by a 3rd party and some slight of hand. Many people have left WD live and some people love it. Don't know which is which. Much better interface visually than others though.

3. Xstreamer - I have to put this in there cause it looks like the sleeper. I know it doesn't look cool. But it is the only product that has been fully developed and followed thru on as far as I know.

4. XBoxMediaCenter - Setup a tiny desktop pc and run this software as a type of giant itunes off of it. $300 Super glitzy interface but with normal computer setup headaches.

5. Patience (Popbox - Boxxee) Popbox is due out in March. It is supposed to have a superior brain than 1,2,or 3. It is also supposed to break the wall with 20 internet aps. It also is going to have ads to keep the price down. No keyboard on the remote like the boxxee has. The boxxee is cool if you are twenty something, has the keyboard and hulu if you are in a position to dump your cable subscription.

Right now, I'd like to know if the interface on the A.C. Ryan is updated, if the player supports internet radio, if the company will be turning the source code over to 3rd party app, if they will be courting more internet apps for their current generation of devices or if they will be saving them for future models.

So, how did I do. Be my guest. Surely, there are some points I have overlooked...
post #2 of 17
I must say that I've been going through the same headache, but am currently leaning towards #4, the Acer Revo R3610 + XBMC. The Boxee remote does look nice.
post #3 of 17
You missed the big one. Boxee is open source. That future proofs it over the other ones. The hackers out there will keep it running till the juice in its capacitors dries up....
post #4 of 17
I have my money on PopBox...Syabas' proven codec support & great UI this time around. Ads are a minus. Boxee's beta software is known to be buggy, and the box is unproven as for video/audio playback support. I've tried Popcorns A110 & C200, WD TV & WD TV Live, PlayOn!HD & PS3. The PopBox looks most promising to me.
post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brajesh View Post

I have my money on PopBox...Syabas' proven codec support & great UI this time around. Ads are a minus. Boxee's beta software is known to be buggy, and the box is unproven as for video/audio playback support. I've tried Popcorns A110 & C200, WD TV & WD TV Live, PlayOn!HD & PS3. The PopBox looks most promising to me.


Doesn't Syabas also have the C200 which is still buggy as heck and not even close to stable?
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by doctor media View Post

You missed the big one. Boxee is open source. That future proofs it over the other ones. The hackers out there will keep it running till the juice in its capacitors dries up....

What, XBMC isn't open source? (And where do you think Boxee came from?)

@stanross
Revo 1600 costs only $200, not $300, and setup headaches were much less than anticipated.
post #7 of 17
Quote:


Doesn't Syabas also have the C200 which is still buggy as heck and not even close to stable?

Please point me to any box that doesn't have bugs. The C200 worked fine for me for the most part, but I returned it due to its so-so support for AVCHD discs & about the same darned clunky UI (though it & the A200 are supposed to be getting a new rich UI).

I'm at a point now where I just want a box that...
  1. Is simple to use & has a nice stock UI
  2. Pull movie & TV info. automatically from the Internet, but also allow customization (PopBox will do former via IMDb; latter unknown, but I'd hope so); don't want to mess with YAMJ (even though I know how)
  3. Has good codec support for the various video formats (as good as A110 is fine)
  4. Bitstreams DTHD & DTS-HD properly (Syabas needs to resolve this fully)
  5. Supports Blu-ray ISO, even if in a limited way (Syabas has said yes in a Twitter post)
  6. Support for USB hubs; important as 2 ports is hardly enough (I have several 1.5TB hard drives w/content)
  7. Solid firmware support to resolve bugs & add new features
Is that so much to ask for?!
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
I had thinned the list of 5 down to the popbox and the ac ryan. I had to let the more veteran players go because of were this market segment is going in the next year. The Aero PC was intriguing to me personally, but I know that my wife, who can barely operate the tv now, would be befuddled.

So the AC Ryan is the safe play in that it has internet radio, plays stuff, and an upgrade UI that is coming. ??? wait a minute... I emailed the netherlands to hear that its coming with no pics available yet. I might as well be patient

but wait Stan, don't you have misgivings about going with a product that is untested in the marketplace. Do you want to get stuck like the c-200 guys did.

Well, the way I look at it is that the sigma and popcorn is a work in progress. This unit is popcorn finally getting the sigma figured out. I don't think you can beat their company for video performance at this price point. They have the hardware. The big factor here is that they are building they with a 2 gb sd card for popapps and partner companies who have spent thier own money to write their apps. The more units they sell, the more sticking power this unit will have in the marketplace, from the manufacturer and from consumers. I think it might be the next big thing.

Let's see what they have:

The hardware..(sigma)
Open to drives and wireless (unlike Roku)
Corporate parnters (netflix and many others)
ability to play legal content (acceptance in mainstream)
good UI with IMDB feed
inexpensive price point
ability to change and evolve past manufacture possible with acceptance

I invite your opinions....
post #9 of 17
The main issue w/PlayOn!HD and similar Realtek-based devices is no bitstreaming of DTHD & DTS-HD (despite some claiming they can).
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by stanross View Post

I had thinned the list of 5 down to the popbox and the ac ryan. I had to let the more veteran players go because of were this market segment is going in the next year. The Aero PC was intriguing to me personally, but I know that my wife, who can barely operate the tv now, would be befuddled.

So the AC Ryan is the safe play in that it has internet radio, plays stuff, and an upgrade UI that is coming. ??? wait a minute... I emailed the netherlands to hear that its coming with no pics available yet. I might as well be patient

but wait Stan, don't you have misgivings about going with a product that is untested in the marketplace. Do you want to get stuck like the c-200 guys did.

Well, the way I look at it is that the sigma and popcorn is a work in progress. This unit is popcorn finally getting the sigma figured out. I don't think you can beat their company for video performance at this price point. They have the hardware. The big factor here is that they are building they with a 2 gb sd card for popapps and partner companies who have spent thier own money to write their apps. The more units they sell, the more sticking power this unit will have in the marketplace, from the manufacturer and from consumers. I think it might be the next big thing.

Let's see what they have:

The hardware..(sigma)
Open to drives and wireless (unlike Roku)
Corporate parnters (netflix and many others)
ability to play legal content (acceptance in mainstream)
good UI with IMDB feed
inexpensive price point
ability to change and evolve past manufacture possible with acceptance

I invite your opinions....


If I were going by the info currently on their website I'd consider the popbox a huge pail of fail.

No HD audio. No ISO support. No BD-menu support. No Pandora. No Gigabit. Plus depending who you believe it might have ads all over the UI.

Now, I recognize the hardware is certainly capable of most of this, but they've not officially listed them in the specs, and until/unless they do it's not even on the table for consideration for me.

Currently the HDX-BD1 is #1 on my "I'll buy it if it actually does the stuff they claim when it releases" list. Around 200 bucks and does pretty close to everything I could want including most of the stuff I listed the popbox not yet listing as features.


My personal requirements:

Must have:
DVD ISO with menu
BD-ISO with menu
HD audio bitstreaming
UI that doesn't make me want to spoon my eyes out
Around $200 or less (otherwise I might as well use a cheap PC)

Would like to have but not mandatory:
Pandora
Gigabit

Don't care about local storage whatsoever, would never ever use it, I have 10TB on my network.

Honestly don't care about IMDB either, they're my movies/shows, I know what they are already....guess it's a nice feature but the lack doesn't bother me at all.

Don't care about netflix either given I've got 4 other devices that can stream it (tivoHD, 360, PS3, Wii)
post #11 of 17
Spend just a little more and get the Dune Prime 3.0. It just works!!!
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurtz9 View Post

If I were going by the info currently on their website I'd consider the popbox a huge pail of fail.

The Popbox is not designed for the normal streaming market. It's mostly an online streamer, from what I can tell. The advertisements are a Netflix thing that Syabas didn't have much control over. The A-200 is much more of a local content streamer, without the ads.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurtz9 View Post

Currently the HDX-BD1 is #1 on my "I'll buy it if it actually does the stuff they claim when it releases" list.

You're not the only one. I'm still holding my breath that this thing actually does what it says when you buy it, not 6 months later. If so, it's on. If not, I'm back to the Prime / C-200 debate.
post #13 of 17
Quote:
No HD audio. No ISO support. No BD-menu support. No Pandora. No Gigabit. Plus depending who you believe it might have ads all over the UI.

Where have you read about no HD audio support (bitstreaming)? There will be DVD & BD ISO support if you believe their Twitter post. There will be BD-lite menu support from what I've read on Twitter & the NMT forum, but no full menu. I actually prefer that. Pandora would be nice, but isn't a deal breaker, especially if there's another Internet radio app. No Gigabit is also okay; you can stream almost everything over 100. Ads are a minus I agree, but we'll have to see how bad. I can't imagine they'd make it so obtrusive.

The HDX-BD1 looks interesting, but other than the screenshot of the main UI, the rest look similar to Syabas' clunky one now for A110. Also, the HDX-BD1 has no Netflix or any real Internet apps like Popbox or Boxee.
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brajesh View Post

Where have you read about no HD audio support (bitstreaming)? There will be DVD & BD ISO support if you believe their Twitter post. There will be BD-lite menu support from what I've read on Twitter & the NMT forum, but no full menu. I actually prefer that. Pandora would be nice, but isn't a deal breaker, especially if there's another Internet radio app. No Gigabit is also okay; you can stream almost everything over 100. Ads are a minus I agree, but we'll have to see how bad. I can't imagine they'd make it so obtrusive.

The HDX-BD1 looks interesting, but other than the screenshot of the main UI, the rest look similar to Syabas' clunky one now for A110. Also, the HDX-BD1 has no Netflix or any real Internet apps like Popbox or Boxee.

I'm going by the specs on their actual website, which lists DTS and Dolby Digital but not DTS-HD (or any other HD audio format).

http://www.popbox.com/#/everything

Likewise it doesn't list ISO of any kind in the specs, let alone with menu support.

As I said, it might end up supporting all that stuff, but if it offers all that at $129, why is anybody gonna look at the more expensive stuff they sell?

Kinda curious why you prefer BD-Lite menus over full ones though?



Quote:
Originally Posted by mlknez View Post

Spend just a little more and get the Dune Prime 3.0. It just works!!!

It's also $350. That's just too much for a box that moves my content from one room to another. To my mind anything above the 125-225 dollar range, delivered to my door, and I might as well just use an HTPC that's gonna support everything without waiting for some guy in asia to get around to a firmware update.

That's why the HDX-B1 is looking so good so far, sounds like it'll do everything the Dune does, and more, for just over 200 bucks. I'm at least willing to wait a few weeks to find out if it does or not. (the other big "coming soon" devices, the popbox and the boxee box, have remained somewhat sparring in claiming to support half the stuff I'm looking for so far).
post #15 of 17
I think you guys are wrong. Open source FTW. Just look at Tomato router or DD-WRT. The other boxes are vulnerable to being "obsoleted" by the manufacturers switching support to a newer box they want you to buy. But not the Boxee box. Somebody from XBMC will surely make a port and then you will have two options for the Boxee.

Ask Syabas if you can have a lookey at their source.
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brajesh View Post

The HDX-BD1 looks interesting, but other than the screenshot of the main UI, the rest look similar to Syabas' clunky one now for A110. Also, the HDX-BD1 has no Netflix or any real Internet apps like Popbox or Boxee.

Where did you see any interface for the BD1? As far as I can tell "Voir' is still a mystery. The shots you see are just menus or settings.

The BD1 has Bluetooth support, a "real" web browser (no java) and so does have internet access. If you want Netflix or other commercial access then you seem to be right. It's not high on my priority list.

Tough choices. The PopBox will apparently not be sold in Canada according to my retailer ( for obvious reasons). The Boxee Box appears to be interesting but it's quickly going commercial like the PopBox ( and AppleTV before it).

I really wonder how many people consider Blu-Ray copies an important feature.

philip
post #17 of 17
Agree we're either speculating or going by Tweets or maybe non-official info. Once the Popbox release nears, we should know more what it's going to do vs. not. I've given up on an all-in-one solution after owning the C200 for a few weeks. So, I got a PS3 for Blu-ray and now want a NMT box that will as much as possible in terms of Internet apps & latest video/audio support w/a nice UI and no tinkering w/YAMJ or the like.

As for why I prefer BD-lite menu support for ISOs, it's to get to the damn movie itself quickly w/quick subtitle switching & chapter access. Don't want all the other fancy menu stuff.
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