Syabas Technology Popcorn Hour A-110 media streamer
The Syabas Technology's Popcorn Hour A-110 provides plenty of features, but it could be more user-friendly
- Abundant connectivity, third-party applications, extensive file format support
- Can be difficult to use, no Wi-Fi, won't always respond to remote control
One of Syabas Technology's "networked media tanks," the Popcorn Hour A-110 is designed and built for those comfortable with technology. Thanks to third-party applications and regular firmware updates, this media streamer's feature set is constantly expanding.
Price$ 369.00 (AUD)
Syabas Technology's Popcorn Hour A-110 "networked media tank" is a feature-packed media streamer, but it isn't for the faint of heart. Strong community support means this media steamer can be expanded through third-party applications, but both the Popcorn Hour A-110 itself and its applications can be difficult to set up and use.
The Popcorn Hour A-110 media streamer is quite small, but it's packed full of connectivity. For audiovisual outputs alone you get component, composite, HDMI, S-Video and optical audio connections. To add to this there is an Ethernet port as well as two USB ports that can connect to external hard drives, USB flash memory and even external optical drives. A third USB port connects to PCs, but the media streamer's internal hard drive can't be read by Windows or Mac OS X systems. The only thing this media streamer lacks is Wi-Fi.
The Popcorn Hour A-110 can access media files over a network. It can also play files from an internal SATA2 hard drive, but it doesn't come with one installed. We found the SATA connection occasionally became loose and disconnected the hard drive during use. When this happens the Popcorn Hour A-110 will automatically revert to network-only mode.
Using the Popcorn Hour A-110 as a network media streamer requires you to install the NMT Applications suite. This lets the device use Windows and Apple network protocols, and adds UPnP and BitTorrent capabilities. The applications can be installed either over Ethernet or via a USB flash drive, and the former also allows you to update the media streamer's firmware. The applications are disabled by default and must be enabled individually.
Unlike the Apple TV, the Popcorn Hour A-110 can't automatically sync media like Apple's iTunes. Instead, you can configure shared folders on the network and UPnP-compatible computers as permanent media sources. This allows you to access files as if they were on the device's hard drive.
The media streamer's interface is attractive and generally quite speedy, though it can lag when browsing shared folders on a network. Nevertheless, the Popcorn Hour A-110 is quick to buffer and play media from both the hard drive and over a network. During testing, standard-definition and high-definition AVI and MKV files both played flawlessly.
Several quirks with the remote control may make using it a little frustrating. For example, the remote sometimes won't work (when the Popcorn Hour A-110 is buffering and playing the first few seconds of a file, for example). You can't go to the home screen when playing content; you must first press "Stop" and then "Home" to do this. The remote glows in the dark, which makes it easy use in a room with the lights off (although it can be distracting).
One of the attractive things about the Popcorn Hour A-110 media streamer is the ability to install third-party applications. Like the NMT Applications, they can expand the media streamer's features by adding Web services such as Internet radio, podcast directories and Usenet compatibility. There is no central repository to find these applications, and they can often be difficult to install. Nevertheless, should you need a specific media function, chances are there is an application for it.
Like the Chumby, the Popcorn Hour A-110 media streamer lends itself to enthusiasts rather than the average consumer. There is plenty to like about this media player, and the ability to expand its features through third-party applications adds to its appeal.
The Popcorn Hour A-110 is currently available locally through Streamaster Australia.
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @GoodGearGuide
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Gadgets & Things
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- Plex embraces Kodi as Plex Media Player becomes available to all
- 'Google Cast' is being phased out in favor of Chromecast for connected TVs and speakers
- PlayStation Vue is now available on Apple TV
- Apple's new TV app puts all the shows and movies you want to watch in one spot
- AT&T will acquire Time Warner for US$85.4b in content play
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- The top 10 best and worst tech gadgets and products of 2016
- Best phone of the year 2016
- TV of the year award 2016
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- CCChange AnalystNSW
- CCSolution ArchitectNSW
- FTPrincipal Project ManagerNSW
- CCSenior Front End DeveloperQLD
- FTTraining & Implementation Manager, PlatformNSW
- CCProject Manager- Office 365 and Core Azure servicesNSW
- CCWindows Systems Engineer - AD, VMware, RedHat experienceNSW
- TPLead Project ManagerQLD
- CCSME Senior Financial Planner - MelbourneNSW
- CCBI/DW Lead DeveloperVIC
- FTDesktop Delivery Team LeaderVIC
- FTMigration ArchitectSA
- FTSenior Reporting Data Analyst - TelcoVIC
- FTBusiness Intelligence Technical AnalystVIC
- FTDevelopment Manager / Engineering Manager - Canberra RoleACT
- FTDesktop Deployment EngineerWA
- FTILSP ManagerNSW
- FTService Lifecycle Management LeadVIC
- TPAutomation Test EngineerQLD
- CCDesktop Support EngineerNSW
- CCSenior Back-end Developer/Database DesignerNSW
- CCSenior Automation TesterQLD
- CCOrganisational Change Manager - Wealth ManagementNSW
- CCProject ManagerNSW
- FTEnterprise ArchitectACT