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the new C-200 PCH, is going to be $299. It would be pretty hard to find a quality HTPC for this price. What is the major advantage of building an HTPC over buying the new PCH when it comes out?


Seems like you are paying at least twice as much as a PCH, when you build you own HTPC.
 

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I have a HD HTPC in our living room and two PCH's between bedroom and office. The advantage with a HTPC is the flexibility to play anything and play the way you want it at the cost of time to setup. The HTPC could also bring a nice interface to the table compared to the PCH. There are application such BOXEE are another plus for HTPCs.


The PCH is a fantastic device that will play 99.9% of anything you can throw at it with near zero hassles and setup time. The only complaint I've had regarding the PCH is the lack of multi-channel FLAC decoding support. The PQ is fantastic for HD and better than out of the box ffdshow SD quality.


I recommend the PCH to all of my friends that aren't geek and don't have excessive money and time.
 

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The PCH is great until it can't play a file or has glitches. Then you're screwed because you can't do anything to fix it.
 

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I agree with the two posts above me, except I wouldn't recommend it to non-geek friends, either. I have the A-110 and the current user interface lacks polish. It also tends to hang quite a bit (low memory and it runs out sometimes). It won't play a few of my older files (anime fansubs in Xvid, Div3) but so far, it hasn't choked on any of the new ones, yet. Subtitle support is still somewhat lacking, too, last I updated the firmware.


They're pretty regular with firmware updates and that can solve a few of the issue mentioned (UI, subtitles). It should also be possible to add support for additional containers/formats. Unfortunately, anything that's related to video decoding is dictated by the hardware decoder chip so I don't see additional/improved codec support happening beyond what the chip is capable of.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by lstepnio /forum/post/16848554


I have a HD HTPC in our living room and two PCH's between bedroom and office. The advantage with a HTPC is the flexibility to play anything and play the way you want it at the cost of time to setup. The HTPC could also bring a nice interface to the table compared to the PCH. There are application such BOXEE are another plus for HTPCs.


The PCH is a fantastic device that will play 99.9% of anything you can throw at it with near zero hassles and setup time. The only complaint I've had regarding the PCH is the lack of multi-channel FLAC decoding support. The PQ is fantastic for HD and better than out of the box ffdshow SD quality.


I recommend the PCH to all of my friends that aren't geek and don't have excessive money and time.

Really? I had a PCH-A110 and I wouldn't recommend to a non tech person at all. Reasons:


1) The interface is just embarrassing. Its clunky and slow. Its no where near any of the other set top boxes. I went from a appleTV running Boxee to a popcorn hour and it was quite a difference in UI speed, finish, and polish.


2) Movie management. To get anything similar to some of the more polished players, you have to use YAMJ. It is far from set it and forget. So once you find a skin you like, and you set up YAMJ, you are still going to be disappointed with interface. The skins that people have made aren't that great. I have seen a few that try to do coverflow and stuff, but the the javascript is so poor on those devices that transitions are slow and clunky(all the menu's in the PCH are just HTML files). Not only that bu t you have to run YAMJ from your computer everytime you add new contents to your popcorn hour, or its not going to show up.


Now having said that, it seems like the C-200 has a new interface and a faster processor. That should mean better javascript performance and such. However, I wouldn't consider plunking down 300 dollars on it(remember thats without a hard drive or dvd drive) yet until we some videos of interface and hopefully some new tools built into the device. It would be great if it was like mediabrowser, ie You add a file and it picks it up, grabs some basic meta data, and displays it. The fact that you need to use another machine to set up the meta data and use the crappiness that is YAMJ sucks.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suntan /forum/post/16850995


Correct me if I'm wrong, but you still have need for a computer when you use the PCH don't you? Doesn't really make it an all in one device.

Why? You can install a hard drive on the PCH and keep your videos in the internal hard drive or you can use one of the USB ports and use an external USB hard drive. The Popcorn Hour is a stand-alone player similar to the Western Digital WDTV, except, it also has the capability to connect to a network and pull content from networked sources.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhome83 /forum/post/16848487


the new C-200 PCH, is going to be $299. It would be pretty hard to find a quality HTPC for this price. What is the major advantage of building an HTPC over buying the new PCH when it comes out?


Seems like you are paying at least twice as much as a PCH, when you build you own HTPC.

Does the PCH have 7.1 analog audio out like my HTPC? Because that's pretty sweet.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovejedd /forum/post/16851759


Why? You can install a hard drive on the PCH and keep your videos in the internal hard drive or you can use one of the USB ports and use an external USB hard drive. The Popcorn Hour is a stand-alone player similar to the Western Digital WDTV, except, it also has the capability to connect to a network and pull content from networked sources.

How do you get the videos to the PCH's hard drive without a computer in the first place was his question I believe.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Favelle /forum/post/16851907


How do you get the videos to the PCH's hard drive without a computer in the first place was his question I believe.

Technically, the Popcorn Hour does have a bt client so you could download videos (albeit illegally) without need for a computer... I understood Suntan's question to be "you need a computer running while using the PCH" and that is incorrect. Besides, if you're considering buying a PCH, you probably already have a computer in the first place. You can use pretty much any computer to transfer content over to the PCH (assuming you don't need Netflix, etc). Even an old PIII/PIV would manage it.


Besides, there was no claim that the Popcorn Hour is an all-in-one device. It's a pretty good media playback device with fairly wide format support (at least wider than its predecessors), but even then it has its limitations as has been noted above. Currently, I don't think there's a reasonably-priced standalone device that can compare to the support and flexibility afforded by an HTPC. If there was, I think every one of us would be jumping on it.



As for 7.1 out, the Popcorn A-110 can't do analog but it will output 7.1 PCM via HDMI, iirc. It will also do audio passthrough/bitstreaming for people with newer receivers. The audio bit is from memory. I use an HTPC for the living room and only have the Popcorn Hour connected directly to the TV in the bedroom (meaning only stereo is required).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovejedd /forum/post/16851759


Why? You can install a hard drive on the PCH and keep your videos in the internal hard drive or you can use one of the USB ports and use an external USB hard drive. The Popcorn Hour is a stand-alone player similar to the Western Digital WDTV, except, it also has the capability to connect to a network and pull content from networked sources.

If you want even a most basic movie/music jukebox interface instead of just folders with files in it with no meta data at all, then you need a computer to run the YAMJ software.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovejedd /forum/post/16852284


Technically, the Popcorn Hour does have a bt client so you could download videos (albeit illegally) without need for a computer... I understood Suntan's question to be "you need a computer running while using the PCH" and that is incorrect. Besides, if you're considering buying a PCH, you probably already have a computer in the first place. You can use pretty much any computer to transfer content over to the PCH (assuming you don't need Netflix, etc). Even an old PIII/PIV would manage it.


Besides, there was no claim that the Popcorn Hour is an all-in-one device. It's a pretty good media playback device with fairly wide format support (at least wider than its predecessors), but even then it has its limitations as has been noted above. Currently, I don't think there's a reasonably-priced standalone device that can compare to the support and flexibility afforded by an HTPC. If there was, I think every one of us would be jumping on it.



As for 7.1 out, the Popcorn A-110 can't do analog but it will output 7.1 PCM via HDMI, iirc. It will also do audio passthrough/bitstreaming for people with newer receivers. The audio bit is from memory. I use an HTPC for the living room and only have the Popcorn Hour connected directly to the TV in the bedroom (meaning only stereo is required).

Fully agreed.
 

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my main htpc doubles as media server for the whole house and it can do video encoding. i have a big ups on all the theater electronics so if the power goes out (happens here) then the show goes on.


i would have to have all that stuff anyway + the popcorn hour. so the price comparison is between a decent video card in the pc vs. the whole cost of the media tank device.


popcorn hour makes more sense in a bedroom. i have a pch in the bedroom. but, i don't like the interface as much as what i can provide with a pc. i am replacing the popcorn hour with an ion based htpc running windows 7.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by oliverjg /forum/post/16854278


popcorn hour makes more sense in a bedroom. i have a pch in the bedroom. but, i don't like the interface as much as what i can provide with a pc. i am replacing the popcorn hour with an ion based htpc running windows 7.

Same here. I wouldn't want an ION for a main HTPC (too restrictive), but for an auxiliary unit/extender/PCH replacement, I think it's awesome. I've been waiting to get an ION to replace my Popcorn Hour. Right now, I've got one using the Zotac IONITX-D-E but I haven't put it in production use, yet. I'm still trying to find time to play around with it.
 

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I'm debating between PCH C200 and Asrock Ionstar 330. Both have upsides and downsides. (I've got an A100 and have been very happy with it - it plays 1080i and 1080p content very well - and does a reasonable de-interlace)


If I can get XBMC to de-interlace properly on the ION with VDPAU I'll be tempted to jump that way. However the PCH does just work - and work very well.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovejedd /forum/post/16852284


I understood Suntan's question to be "you need a computer running while using the PCH" and that is incorrect.

Nope. I meant it the other way. Without the facilities of a computer (to rip your discs) the C200 will just be a relatively novel Blu Ray player. One that would not have real advantages over many other players that would work out to be cheaper in the end.


All extenders/media clients/whatever need a computer to be a big brother of sorts some way or another. The HTPC can do everything itself. Whether this is an issue to a person is dependent on what they want out of it and what they plan to setup.


As a person that runs both a HTPC on a TV and a STB client on a TV (Sage HD extender in this case) I know the pluses and minuses of them.


-Suntan
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovejedd /forum/post/16852284


Besides, there was no claim that the Popcorn Hour is an all-in-one device. It's a pretty good media playback device with fairly wide format support (at least wider than its predecessors), but even then it has its limitations as has been noted above. Currently, I don't think there's a reasonably-priced standalone device that can compare to the support and flexibility afforded by an HTPC. If there was, I think every one of us would be jumping on it.

And they never will match it, if for no other reason than that "flexibility" goes hand in hand with all the issues that drive people away from HTPCs.


What it really comes down to is which would you rather have:
  • HTPC:
    • Flashiest interface
    • Most bleeding edge format support
    • Most bleeding edge streaming (internet) media support
    • "PC" functionality (web browsing etc).
  • Extender/Media player
    • No driver issues
    • No decoder issues
    • No playback glitches
    • Simple setup


With an extender/streamer you give up some UI bling, and support for some of the most bleeding edge formats, and some internet video, but you gain a much simpler and more reliable solution.


It's just a matter of what's more important bling and flexibility or simplicity and reliability.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suntan /forum/post/16855304


Nope. I meant it the other way. Without the facilities of a computer (to rip your discs) the C200 will just be a relatively novel Blu Ray player. One that would not have real advantages over many other players that would work out to be cheaper in the end.

Come on, let's be realistic, who on this forum doesn't have a PC in their house already.



So what if the PCH doesn't rip discs, or have a large internal HDD. What's the problem with doing that on some other PC that you've certainly already got.
 

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Just a nitpick from stanger89's post:


What it really comes down to is which would you rather have:


* HTPC:

o Most bleeding edge format support (false with HD audio - the reason I bought the ACH-110)


One could argue that PCs still don't 100% support HD Audio formats of Dolby TruHD and DTS-MA. That's based on my understand the 24p still doesn't 100% work with HDMI audio. I could be wrong there. Even with that, the ACH-110 had support for those formats many months (at least 6) before the PC did.
 

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Everyone is missing the most obvious thing a HTPC does but PCH does not do:


PVR


You cannot tune your TV Channels and cannot record your TV shows on it. You can play back what other devices record, but cannot record on it.


At least not that I am aware of.
 
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