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PopBox STB To Ship Soon But Without Netflix, Pandora 56

Posted by kdawson
from the littler-and-later dept.
DeviceGuru writes "Syabas says it is nearly ready to ship the PopBox, which it announced in January (though they said at the time it would ship in March). The $129 Internet-based A/V streaming set-top box will offer a variety of user-selectable media-streaming apps, but is unlikely at launch to include Netflix instant downloads (promised at announcement), Pandora music, or Amazon pay-per-view video support. According to Syabas, the PopBox only works with HDTVs and not standard definition TVs, and has component outputs in addition to HDMI; plus, the company says the device supports RealD 3D. More details are on the PopBox website."
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PopBox STB To Ship Soon But Without Netflix, Pandora

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  • Yawn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CaptainNerdCave (982411) on Monday July 12, 2010 @04:35AM (#32872528)
    Without Netflix, and without support for standard resolution televisions, why should I consider buying this over a Roku or any of the other "set-top multimedia" boxes?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by alen (225700)

      this is OSS Linux. instead of being entertained you can spend all night hacking it and playing with the file system

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by elrous0 (869638) *
      Maybe it would be easier to tell us what it DOES include. No Netflix, Hulu, or Youtube, as far as I can tell. What does that even leave?
    • No Netflix? DOA. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by WED Fan (911325)
      I couldn't care less about the standard res portion of that. But, without the single most popular stream service on the face of the planet, it is DOA.
    • by Phoghat (1288088)
      Got me a Roku box and it has Netflix (which is adding more recent films and features as we speak) and Amazon streaming, it has everything else the PopBox has plus other features like news, old ass movies, and syncs with your iTunes movies and music. It cost me less that $100. I should by a PopBox for more and giving me less? Que Lastima! It seems the Roku box is Swiss Army knife
  • This appears to be the first inexpensive STB that supports discovery and streaming of media directly from a SAMBA or other protocol server. Most of the set top boxes to date have been dependent on software running on a host OS on a computer elsewhere in your network (I have one of the Kodak ones).
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sortius_nod (1080919)

      Not so... WDTV Live (SMB, UPNP-AV, YouTube) has been around for a while and supports custom firmware. I have one, I can even play DVDs over USB DVD drive or SMB share (providing you have some sort of DeCSS tool running on the server/machine you're streaming from). To me, it looks like a bit of a waste if you just want to stream off your network. Other applications it may work well for, but I'll stick to my WDTV Live in the bedroom and my Beyonwiz DP-P1 in the lounge.

      • by Ostracus (1354233)

        Let's not forget it's competition is also newer TVs and Blu-Ray set-top boxes with app support built-in.

        There's also to consider Google TV and what that'll produce.

      • by longbot (789962)
        I didn't say it was the first, merely the first inexpensive one. Sub-$200 or so. Wasn't the WDTV box something like $299 when it came out?
    • by alen (225700)

      a lot of new TV's will play media off a hard drive connected via a USB port. no need for separate media servers

    • by toastar (573882)

      This appears to be the first inexpensive STB that supports discovery and streaming of media directly from a SAMBA or other protocol server. Most of the set top boxes to date have been dependent on software running on a host OS on a computer elsewhere in your network (I have one of the Kodak ones).

      is dlna that hard?

      • by Andy Dodd (701)

        No it isn't.

        MythTV has a DLNA (aka UPnP AV) server built in, and MediaTomb works great for other stuff.

        If this doesn't do Netflix, Pandora, or Amazon on demand, what does it do? It seems like it offers very little for $130 compared to slightly cheaper devices (like the WD TV)

        This looks like a Slashvertisement for a pretty dull product to me. I've seen some comments that this might be based on Open Source with hackable firmware, but there's nothing about that in the article summary.

        • by toastar (573882)

          That's sort of my point, Personally I use PlayOn to host netflix and local media to my DLNA machines though. Why is this better then a WD TV? The only difference I can see is it costs $50 more and only works on one TV in the house.

  • RealD 3D.... (Score:2, Informative)

    by metalmaster (1005171)
    I was always under the impression that this tech was dependent on a specific projector. Wouldn't that mean that the TV would have to support it? The projector alternately projects right-eye frames and left-eye frames 144 times per second.[6] It circularly polarizes these frames, clockwise for the right eye and counterclockwise for the left eye. A push-pull electro-optical liquid crystal modulator called a ZScreen is placed immediately in front of the projector lens to switch polarization. -- Wikipedia ent
  • by ultrapenguin (2643) on Monday July 12, 2010 @06:08AM (#32872828)

    If this unit has the same firmware development team (and likely, it does) who handle firmware for Popcornhour & etc, good luck getting this unit to a usable state until at least a year after initial release.

    popcornhour c-200 is a perfect example of good hardware ruined by crappy firmware support.
    there are still bugs over a year after release that aren't getting fixed. ridiculous.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I'm an original owner of the A100 and also C200 players from this company (pch, syabas).

      what the parent says is true.

      I would not have any confidence in this box's ability to do what its advertised (well) and to go beyhond it with meaningful updates.

      they will claim some api or toolkit or library is holding them back. for years at a time, they'll say this.

      so very lame.

      sorry, but do not buy this box or their designs. they are not well thought out (spdif and NICs are also not well designed from a hardware POV

  • Hurry up and release please, or I might end up buying this.

  • Who is the market? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by indytx (825419) on Monday July 12, 2010 @06:52AM (#32872976)
    If you don't care about Netflix or Pandora, sure maybe this is something to buy. But I see inexpensive blu-ray players that have Netflix and Pandora for less. Who is the product's intended market? Not me; I don't see a need for any of the "apps" in the screen shot, and I certainly don't want something else by the TV sucking up electricity and using up space.
    • I have to agree. I took a look at the PopBox website and don't see the need that this device fills. Would be better to by a cheap netbook, laptop, or small-footprint desktop with HDMI-out. Would get all the "functionality" of PopBox plus a multi-purpose computer. Could be wrong, but I think that PopBox will be DOA.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Nukenbar (215420)

      The market is for people that download 4-8GB Bluray rips off of the PirateBay and want to play them on their big screen HDTVs. Most laptops older than 3-4 years that were not top of the line will not have the horsepower to do a 1080p mkv, let alone have an HDMI and optical audio output.

      This might not do everything, but If your main goal is to play Hires movies that you already have on your network, this is not a bad option.

  • I own a WD TV Live (Score:5, Informative)

    by Beowulf_Boy (239340) on Monday July 12, 2010 @06:56AM (#32872992)

    And am really unhappy with it.

    They advertise that it works with network shares. The pains I had to go through to get it to work with windows 7 was crazy. It just wouldn't recognize the shared drive. I'd be able to see it from my wifes PC just fine, but the WD Live wouldn't see it. Had to go through 3 or 4 howto's online to figure out how to make it work. Finally got the right combination of settings and it worked, but if you disconnect the network cable from it (I only have one cable ran to my living room and it has to share with my 360) it takes about 15 minutes before it'll start talking to shared drives again. It'll get online and let me watch youtube, so I know it has access, but it won't talk to the drive on my laptop.

    This is going to sound kinda dumb, but I also really hate how small it is. It doesn't look like it fits in my TV cabinet with everything else.

    In order to use Hulu and netflix, I have to use a program that runs on my laptop called Playon. It essentially transcodes the video and acts as a media server. So I use the WD Live, go to media servers, then Playon, then select hulu, and I can search TV shows. It also works for netflix, amazon video, ESPN, Comedy Central, and a few others. The interface is really bad, it looks just like folders in explorer in windows. Actually searching for something is impossible, you just have to look through alphabetically. And no way to make playlists or anything. I'd like to make a playlist that has my favorite shows on hulu so I can check it quickly, but instead I have to check each show for new episodes individually.

    • I can't comment on the WDTV, since I don't own one, but why are you switching the network cable? Get yourself a cheap switch at Newegg and be done with that hassle.

  • popcorn hour (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 12, 2010 @07:13AM (#32873042)

    I own the popcorn hour box (the same company - network media tank - as far I understand) and well, it leaves a lot to be desired. Internet is full of complaints from users trying to play their blue ray disks; youtube does not work even though there is some note about it on their main page (now the support has been promised in the "next firmware version"), podcast clients (provided as standalone "application" for each podcast) are absolutely useless - no history, no forwarding, sometimes skipping a part of the podcast. Internet browser is worse than IE 3.0. Networking quite slow (4-5MB/sec in my case), even on a 1G network.

    So if you are looking for something to play your DVDs, .avi and .mkv, with optional subtitles, go for it. just do not expect it to do anything else. If you need more, it might be better/cheaper to buy a mini fanless computer with an external HDD.

  • If someone will just produce a small form-factor XBMC-dedicated box then I will be very happy indeed.

    At the moment I use a hacked Apple TV, which is perfect, except that it's too slow to play HD content.

  • Meet the competition (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kimvette (919543) on Monday July 12, 2010 @09:17AM (#32873670) Homepage Journal

    The $129 Internet-based A/V streaming set-top box will offer a variety of user-selectable media-streaming apps, but is unlikely at launch to include Netflix instant downloads (promised at announcement), Pandora music, or Amazon pay-per-view video support.

    Oh, so in other words, it's dead on arrival.

    When you figure that Blu-Ray players can be had for $12 more than this piece of crap and the Blu-Ray player can do not only Netflix, Amazon, Pandora, Youtube, and so on, it can also play Blu-Ray, DVD, and CD media.

    Fail.

  • From the web site:
    Optional 801.11 N/B/G Wi-Fi
    From Amazon.com:
    PopBox Wireless Media Player Price: $149.99

  • netflix and pan. is nice

I'm all for computer dating, but I wouldn't want one to marry my sister.

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