Popcorn Hour C-200

The Popcorn Hour C-200 is the most powerful and versatile Networked Media Tank yet and has moved in with us to replace the PS3’s duty of streaming media.

The C-200 sports a 667MHz CPU, 512MB RAM (a further 256MB NAND flash), Blu-ray capability, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI 1.3 connection (and several other outputs), 5x USB 2.0 ports (2 front, 2 back and 1 internal), 2x SATA (one occupied by HDD tray), 3.5″ HDD tray, Internal mounting for 2.5″ HDD, mini PCI connection for WLAN module.

It is called a “Networked Media Tank” for a reason, as it supports any media format and is the perfect movie library. The PS3 did a very good job with media, but only supports a select number of media formats.

Installation of the C-200 was simple. I only got a 250GB 2.5″ internal hard-drive, as my media library sits on 2TB NAS storage and I mount the libraries via SMB over Gigabit. The library management is so much better than on the PS3:

Various indexing mechanism exist and your library can be skinned to your liking and will display all your media (it will fetch movie information from IMDB) in a nice graphical fashion:

Be wary: The C-200 is one of those “bleeding edge” devices. The hardware is top-notch and probably can only compete with high-end media-servers, but the firmware is still in beta/experimental stage. I have experienced rare hang-situations and the UI is still sluggish, but with the upcoming production firmware, those issues will be resolved.

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