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Popcorn Hour C-200

DIY media centre, anyone?

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.

Popcorn Hour C-200 Networked Media Tank

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.

Verdict

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 Networked Media Tank

Popcorn Hour C-200

Versatile media streamer with some unique expansion possibilities for the technically adventurous, but currently a tad too pricey in the UK.
Price: £310 RRP