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$129 Popbox Aggregates Online Content, Streams Media from Home Network

From Syabas, developer of Popcorn Hour, new DLNA-compliant Popbox adds Clicker.com, Netflix, Twitter, Flickr and other partners; streams 1080p from devices on the home network


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Images from Electronista

Syabas, creator of Popcorn Hour, is slowly emerging as a leader in digital content aggregation.

At CES 2010, the company will demonstrate a new piece of hardware, the DLNA-compliant Popbox, along with some new content partners that were sorely missing in the original Popcorn Hour lineup.

Popcorn Hour started as a simple streaming solution for digital media stored on PCs and other storage devices on the home network. The original box, the C-200, also enabled streaming from a handful of partners in the music and video world, such as Shoutcast, Flickr and popular news stations.

Popbox is the successor. Electronista reports:

Video processing has also been given a lift and now supports 1080p video up to a 100Mbps bitrate. As with the Popcorn Hour, the sheer variety of formats is the selling point and includes all common MPEG formats, H.264, VC-1, WMV and XviD; it can not only handle common containers for Internet video like Matroska (MKV) but also multiple subtitle formats, including Microsoft's own. On a local network, the Popbox can stream content from an iTunes computer or media server using Apple's Bonjour and can also recognize content delivered by DLNA and UPnP sources.

Hardware is kept simple and uses just Ethernet for networking and component and HDMI for video input; RCA and SPDIF are available for audio. While there's no built-in storage for the Popbox itself, it has two USB ports to take external hard drives and an SD card slot. Syabas also promises a quiet device that consumes less than 15W of power and doesn't require a fan.

More importantly, Syabas has added important new content partners for Popbox.

The original Popcorn Hour is probably best known for rankling YouTube, which yanked its support in late 2009.

Who cares now? Plenty of other content providers will support Popbox (below). There's Netflix, which was not available initially. There's still no Hulu, but Clicker.com is an apt replacement.

Developers are invited to develop their own apps for Popbox using Syabas's DAVID platform. Applications can be deployed through the Popbox app store.

Expected to ship in March for $129, Popbox will compete with products and services from the likes of Boxee, Clicker.com, Hulu, Yahoo Widgets, Windows Media Center, Roku, Tivo, Vudu, ZeeVee, and myriad others, including the very-high-end ADMS from Crestron.

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Learn more in the Digital Media track at EHX Spring. | http://www.ehxweb.com
Electronic House Expo Spring 2010: The New Opportunities Show, March 25-27, 2010, Orlando, Fla.
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New Content Partners for Popbox


  • BlipTV: Distributes 48,000 independently-produced Web shows

  • Clicker: An Internet TV guide that catalogs all broadcast programming online, along with TV-quality Web originals, making it easy to discover what's available to watch (and what isn't) online, where to watch it and what's worth watching

  • Crunchyroll: An online video service and community that offers full-length episodes and movies of the very best in Japanese anime and Asian entertainment

  • Eyecon: Enables consumers to connect to their content and seamlessly route it to any compatible playback device in the home

  • FunSpot: A casual gaming service that offers everything from multiplayer board, arcade and card games to puzzles, strategy and quizzes

  • Internet Movie Database: (IMDB) A video search engine that supplies the metadata that integrates a consumer’s video collection with the corresponding movie’s artwork.

  • Internet Video Archive: The entertainment industry's leading aggregator of movie and TV trailers, game previews and music videos. The channel features 500,000 unique video assets from over 1,200 content providers

  • Livestation: Live video streams of international news channels to give you more choice and perspective wherever you are.

  • MalaysiaKini: An independent media organization that streams Malaysian video news and views

  • Mediafly: An Internet service for managing digital media shows such as video and podcasts and downloading them to many types of devices

  • MetaChannels from Channels.com: A video aggregation and distribution service that enables device manufacturers and application developers to integrate the best shows on the Web into their product offerings

  • Netflix: The world's largest online movie rental service, with more than 11 million subscribers

  • NextNewNetworks: Producer of online television networks that creates, packages, brands, markets and syndicates some of the Web's most popular regularly scheduled and episodic programming

  • Photobucket: The premiere site on the Internet for uploading, sharing, linking and finding photos, videos and graphics

  • PicoChannel: A service that makes it easy for people to share their personal photos and videos with friends and family on connected TVs and picture frames

  • Swarmcast: Transforms the Internet into a reliable medium for distributing high-quality video enables content providers to engage global audiences through high-quality viewing experiences

  • Twitter: A free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables consumers to send and read messages up to 140 characters in length

  • Twonky: Streams music, photos and videos to compatible devices in the home

  • Waterfront Entertainment: Develops casual games for interactive TV, Web, mobile and emerging platforms

  • WeatherBug: The leading provider of weather information services that manages and operates a proprietary network of over 8,000 WeatherBug Tracking Stations
Additional partners already announced include:
  • CCTV: The largest media content and television programming producer in China

  • FrameChannel: Offers over 1000 RSS-based content widgets in 12 different languages including everything from sports scores, to stock quotes, weather and news, photos, status updates from your favorite social networks and more

  • Revision3: Creates and produces original programming for passionate, committed fans who want to watch shows about technology, movies, video games and music that entertain, educate and help to expand their life experiences

  • SHOUTcast: A radio directory that allows Popcorn Hour owners to access more than 32,000 professional and community programmed radio stations that span more than 30 genres of music, news, talk, public, community and world programming
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Images from Electronista




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Article Topics

News · Product News · Video · Digital Media · Events · CES · Digital Media · Streaming Media · Ces 2010 · Clicker.com · Popcorn Hour · Popbox · All topics

About the Author

Julie Jacobson, Co-Founder, EH Publishing / Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.

3 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by Brandenpro  on  01/05  at  09:20 PM

The C-200 is not the original, and the Popbox is not really the sucessor.  The A-100 is the original and the C-200 will do most everything the popbox will do, plus support BD-ROM, internal drive.

You can get Hulu and Youtube with playon server.

Posted by Ray.Casey  on  01/06  at  10:18 AM

@Julie - LOL u re really stirring up the pot here with the last 4 words of your review wink.  I am not so sure that this product should even be put in the same category as the ADMS as that is like comparing apples and oranges.  Popbox like Boxee (un boxed ) is single purpose functionality (software) with a lot of what we in the software dev business call “handlers” for access to different data feeds (kinda like what ya do with financial market data to a traders desktop).  ADMS is a platform, framework and solution.  Unfortunately Crestron decides to close that solution (kinda like IBM closed the AS/400).  So it’s not really fare to compare to two, as that would be like comparing a word processor to an ERP system (or, lol, buying an AS/400 for word-processing).  The ADMS platform does a lot more than either Boxee or Popbox.  I am by no means Crestrons “new best friend” , but putting the two platforms on the same footing is not a valid or fair comparison (unless u are trying to get one at a discount wink

Great article, good timing and thanks for keeping it “fun”... (as this is fun - right?)

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  01/06  at  10:22 AM

Well aware of that, Ray. Of course Popbox won’t be competing with Crestron.

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