Popcorn Hour (NMT - Networked Media Tank) vs. XBMC?

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Livin Offline
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Question  Popcorn Hour (NMT - Networked Media Tank) vs. XBMC?
Post: #1
This device looks good... and an updated version the uses sata is supposed to be released in a month or two.

Anyone used the current version?

How does it compare to XBMC?

I'm not an expert but I play one at work.
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BLKMGK Offline
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Post: #2
Dunno', I use XBMC and love it <shrug>

Openelec Gotham, MCE remote(s), Intel i3 NUC, DVDs fed from unRAID cataloged by DVD Profiler. HD-DVD encoded with Handbrake to x.264. Yamaha receiver(s)
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Livin Offline
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Post: #3
BLKMGK Wrote:Dunno', I use XBMC and love it <shrug>

wow... not only did that answer nothing relevant to the thread but it cured world hunger! No

I guess I should preface any post with asking only for answers that are relevant. wow Eek

I'm not an expert but I play one at work.
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malloc Offline
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Post: #4
My guess is anyone using XBMC does not also use a proprietary HTPC. My suggestion is to scour the web for reviews of Popcorn Hour. Compare that with your personal experience with XBMC.

Always read the XBMC online-manual, FAQ and search the forum before posting.
Do not e-mail XBMC-Team members directly asking for support. Read/follow the forum rules.
For troubleshooting and bug reporting please make sure you read this first.
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xgrep Offline
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Post: #5
A friend of mine bought one, after he had xbmc on xbox and wanted hd, but before the linux port was stable enough for his liking.

He basically says:
- the sigma chip is good, it plays pretty much everything well (including 1080p) where xbmc needs a fairly beefy box for this.
- it's plug and play, where xbmc requires some setup work
- the interface is functional, though severely lacking and no where close to xbmc
- they have a fairly active dev community, but not as good as xbmc

The one point he tends to always fall back to is, that it's good, but it's not xbmc. He is actually putting his xbox back in service for photos and music.

Personally, 1 and 2 are moot for me, making xbmc the clear winner. Where as xbmc on linux matures, 1 and 2 will be moot for all.

xgrep

return null;
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Livin Offline
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Post: #6
xgrep
thx, that is good info... just what I was looking for, actual experience - not conjecture.

maybe others have some personal hands-on they can give feedback on - anyone?

I'm not an expert but I play one at work.
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athurdent Offline
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Post: #7
i have one for the bedroom, didn´t want to buy a whole htpc there. xbmc runs on a htpc in my living room.

the pch is silent, remote is okay. it can´t be switched off completely through the remote, yet. you have to pull the plug. the leds are a mess because of the case design, you can´t seperate them. never missed that, though. menu browsing is fast enough for me, no real lags. menus look nice to me.

as for playing video it´s really okay. mainly bought it because it plays mkv. so far it has played everything i threw at it. it doesn´t upscale sd material, that´s a minus at least for me. but it does 24p.
mp3 player is nothing comparded to xbmc, no coverart, half of my id3 tags are not displayed. but i did not buy it for that.

overall i do like it for the price. firmware is developed constantly, that´s a plus.

but if i had to choose between a decent htpc or pch and the price didn´t matter, i´d always go for xbmc.
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ould Offline
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Post: #8
Much like the rest of the people her I bought one of these to play video, namely MKV HD stuff and things recorded by MythTV.

I love the fact that it plays pretty much anything with no setup and no noise. But I find the interface lacking(REALLY lacking when compared with XBMC) and the firmware is still a little buggy for certain things.

Currently I have it hooked up in the same room as my XBMC/MythTV PC. I hope to eventually move the popcorn hour to another TV once XBMC is running perfectly. I still use an original XBOX with xbmc and love it. XBMC for linux is working really well too but I still have some segfaults.

Conclusion, it's a good device for ~$200 but not perfect. What we need is someone to slap the Sigma chip onto a PCI-Express card with Linux drivers of course and use that for video decoding then we could get away with much less powerful/quieter/cooler pc's. That would be ideal.

Kevin
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tvwatcher Offline
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Post: #9
well I have the popcorn hour and xbox with xbmc.. the only thing popcorn does better is HD Video, every hd file i have thrown at the popcorn has played perfectly, including 1080 mkv's. It's very easy to add a hard drive for the popcorn also.. I use xbmc for everything except HD Video.
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S80_UK Offline
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Post: #10
I recently got an Apple TV for running XBMC. I have had Popcorn Hour for about a year. After a lot of tinkering and quite a few firmware updates which have not really fixed what I see as some major issues, I am just about to sell and switch to XBMC. I also have had Roku PhotoBridge which was great apart from no DTS streaming and no subtitle support.

Sure, PCH does HD stuff better than ATV/XBMC. But I don't have HD stuff today. All else, PCH does worse IMHO. It is much less stable, has poor network performance (poor internal buffer management), poor error handling in streams, poor photo performance (even with very latest firmware this week, zooming still has horrible colour problems), and even worse audio player (clunky and does not play without massive gaps between tracks!).

Going forward, I will use Roku SoundBridge for audio (since I don't want TV on for that, and I already have two of them and the server is all set up), and XBMC on ATV for photo and video.

Last point - PCH is not an attractive box, and the clunky UI and remote do not help with the WAF (wife acceptance factor), whereas ATV/XBMC scores relatively highly.
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jozwikjp Offline
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Post: #11
I have had a popcorn hour for about 4 months now. My initial unit was defective and over heating.. I do alot of HD video though.. and the popcorn hour is the only device that play 1080P mkv with high bit rates with no issues.

It also does DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD through the hdmi as well..

Other then it playing HD vids the performance of the gui is sucky -
Playing DVD ISO is kinda sucky

But again I can play a 35 Gigabytes x-men over the network with no issues.
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HDClown Offline
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Post: #12
I replaced XBMC on a XBox w/softmod because I needed 720p/1080p playback support. The replacement is a PopCorn Hour A-110 Networked Media Tank. It plays absolutely everything I have thrown out it with no issue, but it does lack a little on the UI.

I need a device for my bedroom so I'm considering moving the PCH A-110 to the bedroom and building a Shuttle for XBMC. Given the cost of a PCH, I need my XBMC build to be competitive.

So, I am looking at using a Shuttle SG33G5 with 2gig RAM, small HDD (I will stream all content of MoCA LAN), and something with a GeForce 9400 GPU with HDMI like an MSI N94GT-MD512. I will take my E6600 2.4ghz C2D out of my current desktop and put it in the shuttle (excuse to upgrade my desktop). The shuttle uses a Realtek ALC888DD.

Extra cost aside, my concern is capability of video and audio output when comparing XBMC to an NMT. From what I read, it doesn't seem like I need to be too concerned with video, but I'm not sure on audio. Full support for common stuff like AC3 and DTS 5.1/6.1 seems to be there, but what about DD HD and DTS HD? I can't find any conclusive info on this front.

What are the thoughts on a build like this and XBMC as an alternative to a NMT.
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Matt Devo Offline
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Post: #13
I was wondering when you'd find you're way over here =)

as of the 9.04 release, passing of lossless codecs (THD/DTS-MA) via HDMI is not supported due to OS limitations (not XBMC limitations). I'd expect that Linux will get its act together first, since there's no HDCP issues. For now, you're limited to bitstream output of DD/DTS, or 6/8-ch PCM. XBMC does not currently decode THD/DTS-MA to PCM, so the files in question would need to have their audio decoded/stored as FLAC

what I've done for my bluray rips is keep both the original lossless audio (for future use), and a lossy DTS 1536kbps track (for now)

Questions about XBMC on an Asus/HP ChromeBox?

Check out the wiki and my EZ install script


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HDClown Offline
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Post: #14
That's good info. I think I'll just wait another a few months in general. I can build the Shuttle box for $350-375 total if I don't factor in the upgrade I would do to my desktop so I can move the E6600 to the Shuttle. I'm living with the lower class NMT UI without much issue so unless I can do XBMC cheaper (like ION platform), it doesn't make sense to sacrifice on the audio side right now.
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Matt Devo Offline
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Post: #15
the ION should be a great platform for XBMC once boards are available. I got tired of waiting and just put together a cheap system using a gigabyte 9400 IGP and celeron E1400

Questions about XBMC on an Asus/HP ChromeBox?

Check out the wiki and my EZ install script


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