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post #1 of 152 (permalink) Old 07-21-2010, 08:36 AM Thread Starter
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Popbox!!

I got my popbox media streamer in the mail last night, it shipped and arrived early! I'll do a quick initial impression but before I do I should mention what my needs/goals where.

I wanted:
  • stream many different file formats from my pc to my tv, iso for sure
  • easy setup
  • good interface
  • easy use for streaming kids movies(swapping discs is a pain and they get all scratched up)
  • component video/optical audio option(my old panny plasma predates HDMI)

Now for the pics!! Sorry for the quality, I snapped them with my blackberry late last night. I'll get better ones when I have a chance.

Unboxing and size of unit in comparison to my DirecTV dvr.




Media/Movies screen, notice IMDB scraped data on the right(IMDB doesnt have the info for my pearl jam unplugged DVD, weird). Also screen shot of movie playing. (all movies at this point are dvd iso images, they loaded within 5 seconds of clicking them and streamed with no issue)









here is a shot with the home buttons overlayed on top, this pops up whenever you hti the home button. note the weatherbug app installed to one of the 2 widget locations. Sorry the image is so washed out and ignore the time/date, not sure yet why that is pulling wrong as initially when I set it up in my media room it was pulling right.



Here is a shot of more of the IMDB info for a particular movie. All of this is auto populated.



Here is a quick shot of the music interface, which frankly I think blows and I hope is updated in future firmware releases. I don't intend to really use it but put some content out there just for testing.


Chris

Last edited by Vcook; 07-21-2010 at 08:49 AM.
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post #2 of 152 (permalink) Old 07-21-2010, 08:41 AM Thread Starter
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Initial thoughts are this is exactly what I was shooting for. I'm going to try putting lots of other video file formats out there and see how it handles them. The interface still needs some fine tuning, but I'm sure firmware updates will be coming soon. Also out of the box it defaults to 1080p which is lame, I feel that devices like this should default to their lowest resolution setting to ensure compatibility. I had to set it up on a different TV just to view it properly then dropped the res to 1080i for the EDTV plasma in my living room(when setting the device to my TVs native 480p the image looked awful and it was clear that using either 720p or 1080i and letting the set scale it was the best route). I'd like to get some BD iso's for testing but that can wait, unless someone can torrent a couple to me to test!!

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post #3 of 152 (permalink) Old 07-21-2010, 08:42 AM
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Very nice! I'm looking to get something like this in a few months. Thanks for the review. For the time being, I've been loading stuff onto a USB stick and plugging it into my TV, which works, but this seems like a much better solution, and at $150, seems like a no brainer.

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post #4 of 152 (permalink) Old 07-21-2010, 08:47 AM Thread Starter
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$129 for the wired version, which is what I'm running. There are several other products at this price point, the most popular being the western digital unit, but currently the popbox has the best interface and it beat the Boxee to market. It'd be nice if they'd get netflix support on this thing, time will tell on that one. Source say Netflix is balking due to the open source nature of the previous syabas offerings(popcorn hour).

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post #5 of 152 (permalink) Old 07-21-2010, 08:48 AM Thread Starter
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the remote is simple and fairly intuitive with good response but the backlighting on it is way too bright and not everything is backlit the way you'd want it to be.

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post #6 of 152 (permalink) Old 07-21-2010, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Vcook View Post
$129 for the wired version, which is what I'm running. There are several other products at this price point, the most popular being the western digital unit, but currently the popbox has the best interface and it beat the Boxee to market. It'd be nice if they'd get netflix support on this thing, time will tell on that one. Source say Netflix is balking due to the open source nature of the previous syabas offerings(popcorn hour).
Awesome information. I'll be bumping this thread in a couple months when I'm ready to buy to get your long(er) term impression.

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post #7 of 152 (permalink) Old 07-21-2010, 09:03 AM
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I have read a few reviews and this is supposed to be one hot box! Thanks for sharing the set up and your own review info. Keep us informed Chris.

Color me jealous in the meantime.

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post #8 of 152 (permalink) Old 07-21-2010, 09:03 AM
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Cool box.

So, what would this do that my having a Media PC wouldn't do? Is it just a good user interface? Does it upscale to 1080p?

I'm hard pressed to add anything to my setup right now. The media PC is setup at 1080p, with Optical Digital sound, 6TB online (mostly TV shows), and 22MB download speeds. I typically download a TV show in the time it takes me to let the dogs out.

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post #9 of 152 (permalink) Old 07-21-2010, 09:06 AM Thread Starter
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  • user interface, my wife could figure this out with no training(try that with a media pc)
  • lower power consumption (and it's MUCH MUCH smaller than a media pc, even the smallest ones, and it's silent)
  • remote (without getting creative)
  • price! For 129$ you could put one in each bedroom and stream from your media pc
  • you set the output resolution, but I can't comment on how good the scaling is

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post #10 of 152 (permalink) Old 07-21-2010, 09:10 AM
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Quote:
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  • user interface, my wife could figure this out with no training(try that with a media pc)
  • lower power consumption (and it's MUCH MUCH smaller than a media pc, even the smallest ones, and it's silent)
  • remote (without getting creative)
  • price! For 129$ you could put one in each bedroom and stream from your media pc
  • you set the output resolution, but I can't comment on how good the scaling is
Those are all very good points, but not enough to get me to switch over. Maybe for a second room though, if we ever get the basement back together.

Neat setup Chris! Great choice of movie by the way.

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post #11 of 152 (permalink) Old 07-21-2010, 09:11 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Neat setup Chris! Great choice of movie by the way.
which one, They Live? Love that movie!


Oh and the orangish globe thingy you see on the screen in several of the shots is the reflection of a end table lamp.

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post #12 of 152 (permalink) Old 07-21-2010, 09:18 AM
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which one, They Live? Love that movie!

That's the only one I noticed.

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post #13 of 152 (permalink) Old 07-21-2010, 10:38 AM Thread Starter
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He Eric, do you have some suggestions on some different files I can download and use for some demo material to test out the different codec and container support? I'm OK with trailers and stuff like that, doesn't need to be BD bootlegs or anything like that.

Chris
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post #14 of 152 (permalink) Old 07-21-2010, 10:47 AM
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I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I'm all out of bubblegum. Good write up V!
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post #15 of 152 (permalink) Old 07-21-2010, 10:49 AM
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He Eric, do you have some suggestions on some different files I can download and use for some demo material to test out the different codec and container support? I'm OK with trailers and stuff like that, doesn't need to be BD bootlegs or anything like that.
It would have to be torrents. I really don't download any other ways these days. Movie trailers and such are already more common formats (quicktime, flash etc).

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Try some MKV, AVI, MP4

Edit to add: I'll see if I can pull together some on my system and post them some where. But it won't be till tomorrow at best.

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post #16 of 152 (permalink) Old 07-21-2010, 12:30 PM
 
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I'm going to try and play with this too. How safe are torrents anymore nowadays? Last time I fired up utorrrent and pulled some files it downloaded a virus. Is there a list of trusted torrents you guys use?
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post #17 of 152 (permalink) Old 07-21-2010, 12:53 PM Thread Starter
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recommended torrent clients? I'll try to get some tv shows from the link Eric posted for testing.

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post #18 of 152 (permalink) Old 07-21-2010, 01:07 PM Thread Starter
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running utorrent now to pull down a recent True Blood episode torrent I found on the link LR posted. Hopefully by tonight it finishes and I can test, it's an mkv 720p cap file.

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post #19 of 152 (permalink) Old 07-21-2010, 01:10 PM
 
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recommended torrent clients? I'll try to get some tv shows from the link Eric posted for testing.
For TV I don't even bother downloading, I just stream direct from my laptop to TV from http://www.tvgorge.com/watch-tv-online/

for instance ~ True Blood

I'm more interested for purposes of testing.

Last edited by Superspud needs his med's; 07-21-2010 at 01:15 PM.
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post #20 of 152 (permalink) Old 07-21-2010, 01:13 PM Thread Starter
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I'm not interested in pirating content, I'm a law abiding citizen!! I am interested in testing playback of the different file formats.

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post #21 of 152 (permalink) Old 07-22-2010, 08:43 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, so the IMDB scrape needs work and they say it will get better. Especially for TV shows but I'm going to try to use nfo files to make it work better on those.
Friday's firmware is supposed to fix the resume functionality, so that will be good.

in the mean time, here are some shots with my point and shoot camera.

empire strikes back, dvd iso stream, paused with the info button hit. They need to make this progress bar pop up automatically when you FF/RR/Pause, it's been requested hopefully they do it. The blown out looking buttons on the right are for "add to favorites" and "dvd menu" since it's a DVD iso.



This is a HD WMV demo of Step into Liquid, downloaded from microsoft.



This is a 1.5gb mkv torrented download of a Top Gear episode



This is a 1.5gb mkv torrented download of a True Blood episode



Here is a better picture of what the home screen overlay looks like, the time has been fixed and you can better see the weatherbug widget here.


Chris

Last edited by Vcook; 07-22-2010 at 08:46 AM.
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post #22 of 152 (permalink) Old 07-22-2010, 09:07 AM
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Thanks for the write up. I'll probably get one of these next month. I was considering the WD TV Live which is a bit less expensive. I like Netflix but I get that through my stand alone blueray player.

I am a bit concerned about the default to 1080p. I don't have a 1080p TV so I'm not sure how I would be able to get into it to change that. Does it have a web interface that you can configure it from the network?

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post #23 of 152 (permalink) Old 07-22-2010, 09:14 AM Thread Starter
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No on the web interface, however this has been brought up on their forums(by me) and they responded to it. Looks like they're going to try to fix that with the next firmware release, or the one after that. Next firmware release is Friday, current one came out Tuesday. It's not perfect but they're acting fast.

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post #24 of 152 (permalink) Old 07-22-2010, 09:19 AM
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That's awesome that those formats work, Chris!

You'll probably still run into a few that wont play, because the people that encode them don't stick to a more common (de facto) standard. AVI's have always been the worst for me.

Here is a primer on video file formats I found on a quick Google search:

http://www.tomsguide.com/us/pictures...i-formats.html

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post #25 of 152 (permalink) Old 07-22-2010, 09:23 AM Thread Starter
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I also downloaded several Family Guy episodes in AVI format and played them without issue, I just didn't take screen shots. The IMDB scrape for TV shows and the layout for that section is just horrible. I hope they fix it soon, or allow the use of nfo files to override the scrape.

Frankly I dont do much downloading and don't envision changing that, except for maybe Top Gear episodes since my BBC-A on DirecTV sucks. I'll probably be creating my own video files from the discs I own.

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post #26 of 152 (permalink) Old 07-22-2010, 09:39 AM
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Welcome to the media streaming world..

I am yet to play or use a pop box, but looks much like the popcorn hour in many ways, (same company), just looks like that made it more user friendly.

The specs does not show that is supports ISO's?

VCook I'll PM you my phone #, I would like to get more details on the setup info on your box. I was thinking of pulling the trigger on the c-200, but have not made up my mind yet.

As for torrents I do not use nor get my stuff from those, many other ways to do it.

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post #27 of 152 (permalink) Old 07-22-2010, 09:42 AM Thread Starter
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It will do DVD iso without issue, all my DVD movies you see in my pictures are ISO images. I have read people are streaming BD iso files too, but I have not done that myself. Post all your questions and I'll answer as best I can, and if needed I can get files for testing of whatever you want.

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post #28 of 152 (permalink) Old 07-22-2010, 10:30 AM
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I need to check your box out.
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post #29 of 152 (permalink) Old 07-22-2010, 10:39 AM Thread Starter
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I need to check your box out.
Come on by, bro.

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post #30 of 152 (permalink) Old 07-22-2010, 01:00 PM
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LOL... nice screen shot of They Live. It's on AMC right now... weird.
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