A quick visit to the on/off switch always rectified matters but this does explain why the relevant forums are busy with debate about Popcorn firmware issues. Happily firmware revisions come thick and fast from Popcorn – they have appeared every month since the C-200 was first released in the US in September – so issues are likely to be addressed sooner rather than later.
On-line content is easily accessed
Whether or not the C-200 represents value for money depends on which side of the Atlantic you live on. In the US the basic unit costs $299 (£187) but adding the RF remote control and wireless card ups that figure to $361 (£225). Popcorn will ship the C-200 to Blighty for $50 but you will still have to pay the relevant VAT and import duty which will get you pretty close to the UK price which is currently in the region of £310 including the remote, but not the wireless card.
If buy your C-200 in the UK and then cough up for a Blu-ray drive and high capacity 2.5in HDD, you will be looking at a total spend in the region of £450 and that's a lot when you consider that a decent Blu-ray player, such as LG's BD390, will set you back less than £250 and a Hisense 1080p can be picked up for under £60. If you want the external storage facility, then a fully fledged NAS box like EZY Technologies' MyXerver MX3600 will cost less than £150 with 1TB of storage. Go figure.
The C-200 is a powerful, competent if sometimes temperamental media streamer with plenty of expansion opportunities and if it came fully loaded with a wireless card, Blu-ray drive and a 250GB hard drive for around £350 we'd say it was a sure-fire winner. As it stands, it's just too darned expensive in the UK and many will baulk at buying a device with firmware that will always feel like a work-in-progress. ®
Thanks to AdvancedMP3Players for the loan of our review unit.
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Popcorn Hour C-200
If you want a cheaper alternative, without the BR drive and LCD.
They have just announced (about an hour ago), the new A200, same chip $179
Christ this thing is expensive! It might play virtually any format but a 360 / Tversity combination plays DIVX and AVI files easily and for a lot cheaper than this item. If I had this much money to burn I'd rather build a dedicated media PC and have fully functional device connected to my TV. But to spend this much on something you have to add to anyway is laughable!
Windows Media PC?
Don't make me laugh, Windows on a media PC is a strange concept, XBMC runs much better on my PC under Ubuntu than under XP.
Plus I've got it setup to boot straight into an XBMC session, no need to even see the desktop.
And anyway, it's fairly easy to set Windows so that it doesn't download updates automatically, and even if it does you can set it to not install them without your say so.
Read the forums first
Make sure you have a good read of the NMT forums (http://www.networkedmediatank.com) before getting one of these, there are subtle bugs in various areas that can trip up the non-geeky user! This is definitely a hobbyists device, not for mum and dad!
Media PC? Don't make me laugh. Imagine being halfway through Avatar when Windows decides to download updates and reboot.