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Good: LOTS AND LOTS OF POSSIBILITIES AND GREAT PICTURE AND AUDIO!
Comment: LOTS AND LOTS OF POSSIBILITIES AND GREAT PICTURE AND AUDIO!
Good: All your media conveniently in one box
Bad: The on-board software looks like it was made by apes
Comment: The concept of the A110 - a network media tank - is fine. It lets you put all your media (audio, video, stills) in one box, and play it in your living room, or on other devices across the network, while it will also play media stored on those devices.
The implementation, however, leaves much to be desired. The user interface is stupid - for example, before playing an MP3 file one must go to the "home page" and select the music player, and before playing a movie one must select the video player. Associating a file type with an application so that a audio file is handled by an audio player and an image file by an image viewer is something we had 20 years ago in MS-DOS, but the Popcorn A-100 cannot do it.
Features are rudimentary at best - for example, there are no playlists. Let me repeat that: THERE ARE NO PLAYLISTS. One can point the player at an entire subdirectory with media files, all of which are then played in the order in which they appear, or one can play individual files by selecting them manually one at at time and playing them one at at time. And that's it.
Worst of all, the software is not stable. Which the manufacturer "solved" by fitting it with a reset button on the front panel. I have now had the A-110 for quite some time now, and it is clear that future software updates that really fix this problem are not to be expected. When playing a DVD from the internal harddisk (which lacks any cooling and runs hot enough to keep a pot of coffee warm, by the way) the A-110 will sometimes just freeze (it looks like it's doing that when it switches from one chapter or VOB file to the next, but I'm not sure) and this is not only the case with dubious "rips" obtained illegally, but also with a proper copy of a legitimate DVD, which plays fine on any other devices except on the A-110.
The idea of having the user community "contribute" is fine - this has resulted in some fine applications for the A-110, but in this case the manufacturer appears to use it as a substitute for releasing a proper product and supporting it properly.
In short, the A-110 is hackish, kludgy and unfinished, and the manufacturer not only has shown no intention to remedy this, but appears to rely on the user community to support itself.
At this time of writing, the A-110 has been superceded by newer models. Personally I would not consider buying any of these, unless I was very sure that the attitude that produced the A-100 and its many shortcomings has been scrapped and replaced with an entirely new set of design and production ethics - which in my experience is extremely unlikely.
I wish I had known all this before, so I could have steered clear of the A-110 and bought something better instead. As it is, I am seriously considering scrapping it and replacing it with a system based on a Micro-ITX mainboard, the A-110 s internal harddisk, and a few other odds and ends, on which I will then install the free Open Source XBMC software, which frankly makes the A-110 (which is NOT a cheap device!) look pathetic.
In closing, I would advise anyone to thoroughly investigate any relevant user reviews and peruse the various user community forums before considering buying any product from this manufacturer (Syabas Technology) now or in the future.
Good: nice features
Bad: pricey for its features
Comment: You say that A-110 costs US$215. I own a Mvix Ultio that I got for only US$169 with almost the same features a your PCH-A110. With a built-in 1-TB hard drive, Mvix Ultio comes with a price tag of just US$259. It also has a SAMBA client and a SAMBA server which I did not see on your list. My Mvix Ultio also came with a HDMI cable included in the package, which gave me another $10-$50 savings. I wonder if I can get that in your PCH-A110 package.
Good: Streams ANYTHING with no jitter whatsoever.
Bad: No "up folder" function.
Comment: Having read teh last review that says it cannot stream from a PC I felt I had to write this.
It streams from a PC no problem at all. No jitter whatsoever. Not a single frame lost. I have mine connected into a Gigabit switch, not that it matters cause the port on the A110 is only 100 megabit. Plays all the normal containers, including the best at the moment, .MKV. It even plays Blu Ray m2t files (17GB for 1.5 hours of movie = average of 30Mb/s) with no problems whatsoever. Absolutely Beautiful.
Browsing the Contents of my PC is really easy and quick (the front end is obviously a web app in a portalised browser running on linux). very slick. It's just missing an 'up folder' button. So you have to use the back button. Bit of a pain if you have paged forward 10 pages of titles. It even has a search button, so you can type in part of the name of a title and it'll show you what matches this on your PC.
If you want to watch your DVD collection that you have backed up on your PC, buy one now!
Good: Plays everything you throw at it,
Bad: Initial setup
Comment: This is a great product. Having read many many reviews about the different varied media streamers I came across this review and was totally sold. I have now had a popcorn A110 for 2 months and it's simply a great device. It plays anything and everything including protected Apple files. The great thing about this is its totally customizable if you don't like the initial menu layout download customizable skins including the Xbox media center also check out the many movie jukebox skins that are also available for upload. Upscales to Hdmi 1.3, acts as Nas or Usb this box does just about everything.
Please buy on you won't regret it.
Good: The promise and concept
Bad: THe actual working conditions
Comment: While in theory this box professes to provide all that one could want in a home system yet unfortunately it fails to deliver. When connected a local USB hard drive or internal hard drive the popcorn hour will work as directed. However the moment you try to use a NAS (Network Attached Storage) the popcorn hour stutter and slows to the point of almost one frame a second. One might think this could be attributed with network congestion or network speeds, except it was connected on a gigabit port (more than most home users have) and compared with any home computer connected over wireless network. Wireless network worked flawlessly yet popcorn hour failed to deliver.
If you think that this might be something that you can work with tech support think again. Requesting tech support takes between 36-48 hours before replies are sent and then another 48 hours for each additional step. A give conversation lasts several weeks before any progress can be made. While a novelty product stick with the name brands for now.
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