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Considering buying a Popcorn Hour A-300 but looking for comparable device options

post #1 of 62
Thread Starter 
Hey guys,

Fairly straight-forward: I am looking at getting the Popcorn Hour A-300 media player to connect to my PC via Cat 5e so that I can watch all of the Blu-rays on my PC in my theater room. Besides having a bunch of questions specifically geared toward the A-300 (which I am addressing on their dedicated forums), I am looking at other players to compare against the A-300 to make sure I am making the best choice for me.

- I do not require 3D support
- I do not require a built-in HDD
- I do not require a built-in DVD drive

I have already been looking into the Dune HD Smart D1 player, but because of price mark-up to buy it in the States it has moved to the back of my list.
Any other players to look at? Ease of use and ability to use user-friendly jukebox interfaces is of high priority.

Thanks!
post #2 of 62
Dune.... you're getting what you pay for..... I would never buy another PCH after owning the dune and I had and still use an A-110 and C-200. Went through 2 popbox's and they were junk so they were returned and I bought the D1 and never looked back.

Its simple better than the C-200. Its more stable and has yet to crash in months of use. I have reboot the PCH c-200 daily and I dont have ANY SYSTEM apps or anything running. Same thing with the A-110. If you want it to work and not play IT guy then suck it up and buy the dune. Otherwise take your chances....
post #3 of 62
Thread Starter 
I have nothing against the performance of the Dune players, and indeed have read many good reviews, but the lack of buying options is a high negative. Is duneplayer.com the only online store that sells Dune players?
post #4 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCoolJesus View Post

I have nothing against the performance of the Dune players, and indeed have read many good reviews, but the lack of buying options is a high negative. Is duneplayer.com the only online store that sells Dune players?
Why is the "lack of buying options" a negative if you already know where to buy one? Both duneplayer.com and diamond home design carry the Dunes and have good reputations...
post #5 of 62
Thread Starter 
So I have to apologize.....this whole time I thought the MSRP of the Dune players were lower than what dunplayer.com was selling them for, hence my frustration redface.gif

Not often I make a big deal out of something I caused out of my own stupidity. lol
post #6 of 62
Thread Starter 
Is the general consensus that the Dune is superior to the Popcorn Hour? I spent the last day over at the MediaTank forums learning how to setup the Popcorn Hour pretty effectively. Is the Dune setup just as simple? What is the best jukebox to use with the Dune players?

Why are the Dune players 10/100Mbps only? No 1000Mbps? That was another reason I initially looked at the Popcorn Hour players because I just upgraded my network for 1000Mbps to ensure the best possible performance........
post #7 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCoolJesus View Post

Is the general consensus that the Dune is superior to the Popcorn Hour? I spent the last day over at the MediaTank forums learning how to setup the Popcorn Hour pretty effectively. Is the Dune setup just as simple? What is the best jukebox to use with the Dune players?
Why are the Dune players 10/100Mbps only? No 1000Mbps? That was another reason I initially looked at the Popcorn Hour players because I just upgraded my network for 1000Mbps to ensure the best possible performance........
Depends on who ask! biggrin.gif
you will never see 100Mbps let alone 1 gi on ANY current player (and you don't need it) so that is a no issue as well..
I have both a Dune and a pch. I prefer the Dune but you will find other people prefer the pch..
post #8 of 62
Im the opposite of steam I love pch but dune is also a great player. You wont go wrong with either one in the end. I think most people on dune use zappati as there jukebox, But its hard to understand as some people say none of the dune jukeboxes are automated as in you have to manually pick for each show/movie not sure if this is true or not though.
post #9 of 62
I think the dune is one great player.
BUT I do not like the idea of an older piece of hardware going UP in price.
that is just a rip off insult to anyone thinking of buying one.
post #10 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by halfelite View Post

Im the opposite of steam I love pch but dune is also a great player. You wont go wrong with either one in the end. I think most people on dune use zappati as there jukebox, But its hard to understand as some people say none of the dune jukeboxes are automated as in you have to manually pick for each show/movie not sure if this is true or not though.

Doesn't sound like you own both so how do you compare...

what you said about jukeboxes is not true. I can't say I have actually seen anyone who owns both prefer the PCH. The PCH is good until you use the Dune and then its stability flaws become more obvious. I though the C-200 was as good as it gets for a long time but I was wrong.

Sean
post #11 of 62
Thread Starter 
So I've been looking at comparison sites and I notice there are a lot of other brands of media streamers out there.

Are Dune/Popcorn Hour just the most popular, most stable, or are they the only ones capable of doing what's needed to stream from a PC?
post #12 of 62
Yep, most stable, and most features that work have something to do with Most Popular. ITs certainly not the cost or the buying options.... you have to realize all the players in the space have lots of flaws even the best ones.... The others are simply very unpolished, unstable, and often lack features.
post #13 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by sean_w_smith View Post

Doesn't sound like you own both so how do you compare...
what you said about jukeboxes is not true. I can't say I have actually seen anyone who owns both prefer the PCH. The PCH is good until you use the Dune and then its stability flaws become more obvious. I though the C-200 was as good as it gets for a long time but I was wrong.
Sean

I did own a Dune but sold it as it did not offer me anything over the PCH, at the time and there was not many jukebox options out for the DUNE some new ones have came along but going by the eversion on dune thread it said there was still no automated jukebox solutions That you had to hand identify each movie so was asking more if that was true., I dont have stability problems with my PCH Only time I have rebooted my A300 is when i install firmware updates other then that never, Last popbox v8 firmware was 20 April 2012 and it has not been rebooted since then either. My c200 after a firmware update got a little unstable and would lock up but a factory reset cleared it up and same thing I would maybe have to reboot the C200 once a month if that, I have since Sold the C200 also. I have basic needs but for me both were solid players.
post #14 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCoolJesus View Post

So I've been looking at comparison sites and I notice there are a lot of other brands of media streamers out there.
Are Dune/Popcorn Hour just the most popular, most stable, or are they the only ones capable of doing what's needed to stream from a PC?

PCH and DUNE have the most DEV power and pretty much only sigma based players out there left. All the rest of the brands micca, himedia,mede8er all run off the realtek chips most being the 1186 now, Realtek offers turnkey solutions being they give you the software and you design a front end around it and thats it you cant self fix anything wrong with the player part, Were sigma on the other hand gives you and sdk and allows you to build your own player/software around it it takes a lot more DEV power and longer turn around time But you usually get better stuff in the end. If there is a problem with a micca/himedia or anything all of them share the same problem, Only time PCH/DUNE share problems is if its in the sigma SDK but they usually never run off the same SDK Although I think both companies are moving to the lighter/faster sdk.
post #15 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCoolJesus View Post

So I've been looking at comparison sites and I notice there are a lot of other brands of media streamers out there.
Are Dune/Popcorn Hour just the most popular, most stable, or are they the only ones capable of doing what's needed to stream from a PC?
Yes to the first two questions, no to the last one.
What you need to do to get a solid recommendation is list EXACTLY (and I mean EXACTLY) what you want to be able to do with as much information as possible in order to get a SOLID recommendation from this board.
Examples of info needed.
How do you plan to store your blu ray rips and dvd rips. file folders? iso's? mkv's?
do you require HD audio?
How do you plan to hook the streamer up to your display? Are you going through a receiver? what model receiver?
etc etc etc
The more information you give us the better a recommendation we can give you.
post #16 of 62
Jukeboxes for dune are not automated like eversion, but you don't need at all to enter manually each title rolleyes.gif scrapping is automated but export is manual (you need to click somewhere to start the export while with yamj/eversion does everything in one click). But IMO this is a better solution if you want to tweak your data to every extend you want and in a very easy way. Of course if you don't care about having a cover or backdrop which will be the first result from tmdb (could be an ugly one), if you don't care about the data accuracy and personal changes (categories, boxset, etc...), in short : if you are a huge downloader and all you need is a cover and plot whatever they are because the movie you are watching will be only a "one shot" before being deleted from your hdd, then yamj is great.

If not, the time you will gain at the beginning with yamj will be lost x10 whenever you will need to make a stupid change like another cover or add the movie to a personnel category (and I'm not counting the time needed just to understand how yamj works and how to set it up)
post #17 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Eric View Post

Jukeboxes for dune are not automated like eversion, but you don't need at all to enter manually each title rolleyes.gif scrapping is automated but export is manual (you need to click somewhere to start the export while with yamj/eversion does everything in one click). But IMO this is a better solution if you want to tweak your data to every extend you want and in a very easy way. Of course if you don't care about having a cover or backdrop which will be the first result from tmdb (could be an ugly one), if you don't care about the data accuracy and personal changes (categories, boxset, etc...), in short : if you are a huge downloader and all you need is a cover and plot whatever they are because the movie you are watching will be only a "one shot" before being deleted from your hdd, then yamj is great.
If not, the time you will gain at the beginning with yamj will be lost x10 whenever you will need to make a stupid change like another cover or add the movie to a personnel category (and I'm not counting the time needed just to understand how yamj works and how to set it up)

Thanks that explains it by not automated thought it ment you had to hand pick everything thanks for explaining. Does it export it to the movie folder? just wondering if you start over are you preferences on fanart saved or do you have to do it again? would an option like ember by better where you save the information with the movie file? Or is that what export does?

Yamj has never really failed me, the fanart/cover are usually good enough its not first returned but rather top rated it gets which is usually the nicest cover/art. So the difference is for us yamj users we are used to NFO managing to tweak our library and you all use a GUI software solution?
Edited by halfelite - 7/19/12 at 12:06pm
post #18 of 62
Yes we all use gui software. I guess that results are good when you speak English and most top covers are in English, but when you are French like me, you want the French cover and this is clearly not the first one to go out, so you need to tweak your scrap.

All dune jukeboxes are creating a special folder with everything in it in a special format that the dune is able to read. This folder is based on each jukebox internal files, so differently to yamj it's not using general XML or nfo, but files that can be used only with the jukebox you chose. If you want to test another one you will need to rescrap everything, and of course do all your changes again. But most of the time, as those software are very easy to use and configure (yamj is a monster compared to it) you can test it with a small list of movies/series, see the one that fit your needs (they all have their strength and weaknesses) and stick with it forever.

On a purely visual point of view, DFI result on a dune is the exact same thing as eversion, except that all the tweaks you want to do can be done through a nice GUI and not by messing with nfo or cut/paste files in folders.
post #19 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by streamerlover View Post

Yes to the first two questions, no to the last one.
What you need to do to get a solid recommendation is list EXACTLY (and I mean EXACTLY) what you want to be able to do with as much information as possible in order to get a SOLID recommendation from this board.
Examples of info needed.
How do you plan to store your blu ray rips and dvd rips. file folders? iso's? mkv's?
do you require HD audio?
How do you plan to hook the streamer up to your display? Are you going through a receiver? what model receiver?
etc etc etc
The more information you give us the better a recommendation we can give you.

- Blu-rays will be stored as a single M2TS file for each movie (using ClownBD)
- The M2TS files will only be the main video and main HD audio for each movie: NO subtitles and NO secondary audio tracks
- No compression will be done to any movie: untouched 1080p/24 video and untouched HD audio being streamed to the media player
- The media player will be hooked up to my Anthem MRX700 receiver via HDMI
- No decoding of HD audio by the media player is necessary: All audio will be handled by the receiver (TrueHD, DTS-HD, PCM)
- All content will be on my PC that is in another room and hooked to the media player via my home network
- Ability to use a user friendly interface which allows editing to be done on the PC end of things is highly positive
- NO 3D CAPABILITY REQUIRED

Pretty simple list: Just need the best player that can stream my Blu-ray rips from my PC and hand it off to my Anthem receiver to do the rest (process the HD audio and pass the video onto my Sony projector). User friendly interface for PC is a high positive. Do not need 3D streaming capability.
Edited by BigCoolJesus - 7/19/12 at 1:09pm
post #20 of 62
^^ being you are going single m2ts I think either or would work for you. if You decide to go with full bdmv folders with menus and everything then go DUNE, they seem to handle menus a little better.
post #21 of 62
Thread Starter 
No menus at all. I'm a very simple type of guy. Just want the video with audio, no menus, no previews, no extras.

Is there any difference between ripping to a single m2ts file and ripping to a single mkv file?
post #22 of 62
MKV is a container that is very easy to work with... You can add/remove audio and subtitles tracks with simple, easy to use tools... MKV also supports chapters, which i believe that M2TS do not... I also believe that MKV use less overhead and therefore requires marginally less space for storage...
post #23 of 62
Thread Starter 
Is there any quality loss/compression when ripping a Blu-ray to MKV vs. M2TS?
post #24 of 62
.mkv is a (excellent, flexible) container, it doesn't affect quality. I'd vote for the Micca EP 600 G2, it does the job and I have had zero problems with mine, it swallows and plays everything I have tried. I'd rip BD's to ~10GB-15GB mkv's with a DTS audio track with video encoded to L4.1/HP to ensure maximum compatibility.
post #25 of 62
Thread Starter 
Does MakeMKV handle pull down flags like ClownBD does? (I.E. - proper 24p ripping)?

Also, what extra steps are involved to encode the video as you suggested above? Doesn't that degrade quality? And take a lot more time then just ripping right to MKV?
post #26 of 62
What about the new HD player just come out not long ago Tizzibird F30 does it match to PCH/Dune.
Anyone have it ? Please, share your experience , I looking for one too
post #27 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCoolJesus View Post

Does MakeMKV handle pull down flags like ClownBD does? (I.E. - proper 24p ripping)?
Also, what extra steps are involved to encode the video as you suggested above? Doesn't that degrade quality? And take a lot more time then just ripping right to MKV?

Slapping video into a container doesn't take very long. As for quality, its indistinguishable. .mkv does respect flags, your player might not. If you use something like ripbot, you'll get to choose the profile - you want High Profile @ 4.1.
post #28 of 62
Thread Starter 
What's the difference between letting MakeMKV do its thing vs. specifying a profile with ripbot?
post #29 of 62
An x264 profile switches certain video encoding settings on or off. You want to set it to High Profile 4.1 to ensure maximum quality and maximum compatibility as most streamers do not support past 4.1. Main Profile is for SD.
post #30 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiddles88 View Post

An x264 profile switches certain video encoding settings on or off. You want to set it to High Profile 4.1 to ensure maximum quality and maximum compatibility as most streamers do not support past 4.1. Main Profile is for SD.

But how is this any different than ripping to mkv using MakeMKV? Both routes give lossless audio/video........
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