A Networked Media Server: The Popcorn Hour A – 210

Having a network attached storage device isn’t anything new to the average home network anymore. The sheer size of the files involved almost demands it. But, what if you could have a NAS device that would download, unpack, repair, and serve you your media files, wouldn’t that be too cool to be believed? You can do it now, the Popcorn Hour A – 210 comes with all the software and hardware you will need to do just that.

On The Inside

The PCH A – 210 comes with all the same stuff that comes in it’s predecessor, except the noisy cooling fan. The cooling is taken care of using massive heat sinks and the cool new aluminum body. The Sigma Designs SMP8643 chipset and 667 MHZ CPU do the trick to process all the information. It has 512MB DDR2 DRAM, combined with 256MB NAND flash memory. The A/V Outs are HDMI v1.3a, 36bpp deep color, Component Video, S-Video, Composite Video, Stereo Analog Audio, S/PDIF Optical and Coaxial Digital Audio. There is a gigabit 10/100/1000 NIC, and other interfaces include, USB 2.0 host on the front, a USB 2.0 slave in the rear, and a hookup for a 2.5” or 3.5” SATA HDD internally.

The Software Package

Usenet access is available through the built in NZBget client, if you have an account. And though they are working on adding in other clients, it remains a problem. Even in light of this, the NZBget can be remotely controlled via SABnzbd, Sick Beard, Couch Potato, and many others. With these remote apps you can add files, pause/resume downloads, change priorities, etc. The unit also comes packaged with a Torrent client also, though we haven’t had the pleasure of using this yet.

Support from the company comes in the form of an excellent forum that we found to be extremely helpful, and in there you can find more apps to add into the unit. Their app store is a little weak, but in the forum you can find links to software and clients that aren’t included in the package or store. Many users have modified existing apps to fit into the PCH on board software ant almost all of these work great.

Over all this is a fantastic unit. We found that the picture quality excellent, and software package to be good, though it would be nice if there were more add-ons. The one last downer when we opened the package was that a HDD isn’t included…but a problem that also is easily solved.