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Apple TV or Popcorn Hour as media extender?


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16 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   Hansen

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 11:55 AM

I'm at the phase where I'm looking for a media extender (do not want to go the HTPC route) to access my server to play movies ripped to the hard drive of the server (used My Movies to assemble all the data and DVD cover art) and play my music (all iTunes music). Picture quality is very important and easy user interface is important. So, what's better for picture quality and user interface: a "hacked" Apple TV (using maybe Boxee or XBMC) or a My Popcorn Hour (running one of the juke box like programs that improve the GUI by providing DVD cover art, etc.)?
HR20-700 (networked) with 750gb eSATA drive via HDMI to Panasonic 42" HD plasma
HR20-700 (networked) via HDMI to Pioneer 50" HD plasma with customized URC Complete Control MX-3000 touch screen remote using RF
HR20-700 (networked) via HDMI to Samsung 19" HD LCD
H20-100 via HDMI to Toshiba 19" HD LCD
H20-100 (now retired and collecting dust) via HDMI<DVI to Sony 42" HD plasma
H21-100 via HDMI to Sony 40" HD LCD (in outdoor pavillion)

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#2 OFFLINE   Chris Blount

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 12:20 PM

I have the Apple TV and it works well for what you are suggesting. Pretty easy to use.

#3 OFFLINE   deltafowler

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 12:26 PM

I like the more robust codec coverage of Popcorn Hour.
I'm planning on getting one very soon.

#4 OFFLINE   PatentBoy

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 01:22 PM

I am not that familiar with Popcorn hour, but I have an AppleTV and love it - Apple has done a pretty good job at integrating iTunes/iPhone/AppleTV - to their financial benefit - enhancing the user experience.

BTW - Apple has a free app for the iPhone which allows direct control of the AppleTV - increased speed entering of text for searches/iTunes purchasing/etc.; much faster searching of large media libraries; remote song selection and volume. Apple has also provided a software update to allow the AppleTV to function as a "Speaker" for iTunes.

But, the best thing I like about my AppleTV is that, since it is an Apple Computer and runs Mac OS (10.4.X), it is easily hackable. For example, I run an iTunes server which I can remotely connect to from my laptop located anywhere on the internet. I recently was able to install the SimplifyMedia server which allows me to access the same library with my iPhone from any accessible LAN/3G network. For more info, check out the great wiki here: http://wiki.awkwardt.../wiki/Main_Page There are many applications related to playing movies as well - I have 2 DVD changers holding 700+ DVDs and am moving them to hard drives accessible via the AppleTV USB port. Picture degradation may be perceivable depending on whether you compress the file or not, to reduce the file size from 4 Gigs to 2 Gigs for example. But of course, we are talking SD here... For overall picture quality, I would go to an Apple store and view a DVD or a sample iTunes HD file.

There are a great group of developers at the above wiki which are constantly improving on the capabilities of the AppleTV.

BTW - You can load on perian (http://perian.org/#detail) whose codecs expand QuickTime to allow you access to most file types.

Anyway, much too much info to post here, check out the sites above for more info.

As with DBSTalk, AwkwardTV is a daily stop...

Edited by PatentBoy, 27 January 2009 - 01:31 PM.


#5 OFFLINE   ibglowin

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 02:51 PM

+1 for AppleTV.

I use Handbrake to throw just about anything and everything into an AppleTV friendly format. DVD's, AVI's, MKV's you name it. I halve almost 600 movies and 200 TV shows on a Mac Mini server in the back of the house that I stream to the AppleTV in the living room.

Works great.
Mike

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#6 OFFLINE   durl

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 03:06 PM

Right out of the box, Popcorn Hour can handle just about anything you throw at it and can be had for under $200.

#7 OFFLINE   Hansen

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 06:58 PM

Right out of the box, Popcorn Hour can handle just about anything you throw at it and can be had for under $200.


Is the only legitimate source for the A-110 Popcorn Hour through Popcorn Hour's website?

#8 OFFLINE   durl

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 09:19 PM

Is the only legitimate source for the A-110 Popcorn Hour through Popcorn Hour's website?


As far as I know, yes. They apparently ship them in batches and you can keep up with your batch on the website. I got mine within 2-3 weeks.

I really like the PCH. While I wanted a nicer UI than the default PCH, functionality was the priority. Lots of codecs, no server software required, and the ability to use a jukebox made it a perfect choice for my purpose.

#9 OFFLINE   deltafowler

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 10:59 PM

Is the only legitimate source for the A-110 Popcorn Hour through Popcorn Hour's website?


Plenty of them on ebay, as well as other sources.
Use the Google.

#10 OFFLINE   Hansen

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 05:43 AM

As far as I know, yes. They apparently ship them in batches and you can keep up with your batch on the website. I got mine within 2-3 weeks.

I really like the PCH. While I wanted a nicer UI than the default PCH, functionality was the priority. Lots of codecs, no server software required, and the ability to use a jukebox made it a perfect choice for my purpose.


Thanks. Did you use a third party application to make the user interface a bit friendlier by adding DVD cover art and data?


Plenty of them on ebay, as well as other sources.
Use the Google.


Thanks. It seems that 3rd party purchase sources are selling them for a good $40 more than Popcorn Hour itself. Looks like best source for price is Popcorn Hour...but as noted by Durl, there is a wait period.
HR20-700 (networked) with 750gb eSATA drive via HDMI to Panasonic 42" HD plasma
HR20-700 (networked) via HDMI to Pioneer 50" HD plasma with customized URC Complete Control MX-3000 touch screen remote using RF
HR20-700 (networked) via HDMI to Samsung 19" HD LCD
H20-100 via HDMI to Toshiba 19" HD LCD
H20-100 (now retired and collecting dust) via HDMI<DVI to Sony 42" HD plasma
H21-100 via HDMI to Sony 40" HD LCD (in outdoor pavillion)

SWMLine dish

DirecTV since 1997


#11 OFFLINE   deltafowler

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 07:20 AM

You must be using a different browser than I am.
I see $250 from popcorn hour and $245 from the first Google shopping results. :confused:

#12 OFFLINE   Hansen

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 07:34 AM

You must be using a different browser than I am.
I see $250 from popcorn hour and $245 from the first Google shopping results. :confused:


Thanks. I redid the search and found those. I guess you end up paying about $30 more than direct from the manufacturer but you get it quicker (no need to wait for it to be manufactured and to ship from China). I suspect that is why the e-tailers are charging a premium over Popcorn Hour.
HR20-700 (networked) with 750gb eSATA drive via HDMI to Panasonic 42" HD plasma
HR20-700 (networked) via HDMI to Pioneer 50" HD plasma with customized URC Complete Control MX-3000 touch screen remote using RF
HR20-700 (networked) via HDMI to Samsung 19" HD LCD
H20-100 via HDMI to Toshiba 19" HD LCD
H20-100 (now retired and collecting dust) via HDMI<DVI to Sony 42" HD plasma
H21-100 via HDMI to Sony 40" HD LCD (in outdoor pavillion)

SWMLine dish

DirecTV since 1997


#13 OFFLINE   durl

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 10:34 AM

The A-100 is $179 from Popcorn Hour's website. That's the basic model that has plenty of functionality.

The A-110 is the newer version with some improvements and it runs $215.

These prices are before shipping, of course.

They actually ship quite fast. It's waiting on the batch to be made that takes more time. Once mine left the factory, I seem to recall receiving it in 5-6 days.

#14 OFFLINE   Hansen

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 06:24 AM

As a follow up to this thread I started, I ended up going with the SageTV HD200 extender. I tried the AppleTV with the boxee/xbmc hacks and found that while they were neat and promising, they are indeed very early alpha versions and would not be good for FAF (family acceptance factor). SageTV was recommended and I looked into it and ordered it. Excellent product. It works beautifully and the interface is simple...yet powerful with the SageMC interface add in.
HR20-700 (networked) with 750gb eSATA drive via HDMI to Panasonic 42" HD plasma
HR20-700 (networked) via HDMI to Pioneer 50" HD plasma with customized URC Complete Control MX-3000 touch screen remote using RF
HR20-700 (networked) via HDMI to Samsung 19" HD LCD
H20-100 via HDMI to Toshiba 19" HD LCD
H20-100 (now retired and collecting dust) via HDMI<DVI to Sony 42" HD plasma
H21-100 via HDMI to Sony 40" HD LCD (in outdoor pavillion)

SWMLine dish

DirecTV since 1997


#15 OFFLINE   BuckSatan

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 12:43 PM

I have (had) both of these. But once I got the PH, my AppleTV went in the trash, literally.

The Apple TV cant handle HD in any acceptable way (only 720p files under a certain bitrate), it cannot play some files, even with Perian installed. Yes, the patchstick gives it some cool functionality (Boxee etc..) but this, for me, no way makes up for all of its shortcomings.

The PH out of the box will play anything you throw at it. Via SMB, Internal HDD, HTTP or what have you. Its only shortcoming is the way it handles music files, but it plays them.. Even FLAC and OGG

There is no comparison between these two products.. unless you just want to watch SD content and listen to music.

#16 OFFLINE   ilgiampa

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 07:06 AM

I tried briefly the PH, it was great for playing networked content, but I was a little bit confused by the online services...
I just got the BLOBbox and for now I'm very much happy, especially because of the integrated bittorrent management.
And I wanted a set-top box with dtt tuner so now I have it.
The PH was too much like a computer, to me, I prefer consumer electronics, for my sofa!

ilGP

#17 OFFLINE   Grentz

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 04:25 PM

I have (had) both of these. But once I got the PH, my AppleTV went in the trash, literally.

The Apple TV cant handle HD in any acceptable way (only 720p files under a certain bitrate), it cannot play some files, even with Perian installed. Yes, the patchstick gives it some cool functionality (Boxee etc..) but this, for me, no way makes up for all of its shortcomings.

The PH out of the box will play anything you throw at it. Via SMB, Internal HDD, HTTP or what have you. Its only shortcoming is the way it handles music files, but it plays them.. Even FLAC and OGG

There is no comparison between these two products.. unless you just want to watch SD content and listen to music.


Even with XBMC or Boxee you could not play more than 720p files? I am curious as I am looking to upgrade...I currently use XBMC on the original Xbox and love it, just the hardware cannot keep up with HD formats very well.

XBMC is an AMAZING media player/organizer...probably one of the best out there with all it has integrated into it.
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