updated 10:25 am EDT, Mon August 4, 2008
Popcorn Hour A110
Popcorn Hour has revamped its network media hub today with the release of the A-110. Aside from a switch to a home theater-friendly black, the A-110 now supports HDMI 1.3a output to pipe through advanced and lossless surround formats such as Dolby TrueHD, DTS HD Master Audio, and related formats in a form that can be decoded by a receiver. It also introduces support for both 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch hard drives, optical SPDIF for audio output, and moves a USB port to the back for owners who keep connections hidden from view.
The device continues to earn its reputation as a rival to the Apple TV and similar hubs by supporting more formats and more features; the Popcorn Hour device plays enthusiast video formats like Matroska and XviD, offers direct access to Internet media services such as Vuze and YouTube, and supports live photo feeds from multiple sources. Media is automatically shared over the network both from the Bonjour networking used for iTunes as well as DLNA and Windows Media Center PCs.
The A-110 also serves as a BitTorrent client, a network-attached storage device and a web server, and is available for pre-order now for $215 without a built-in hard drive. Popcorn Hour hasn't set a ship date.
Hobbyists and professionals also have access to the B-110 Baseline, a raw version of the A-110 hardware that strips off the casing for those who want to build their own designs or integrate them as part of a larger platform. The only hardware change is the disabling of 7.1-channel analog audio. These changes trim the price to $199 for pre-orders.