Popcorn Hour A-100 Networked Media Streamer Reviewed (Verdict: Admirable, But Buggy)

NMT's Popcorn Hour network streamer looks great on paper (YouTube/Google Streaming, DVD Image playback, XviD, MPEG4, and even BitTorrent client support), but how does it actually perform? Quite well, says Networking Audio Video dot com, but with a few very annoying bugs.

The streamer has NFS and Samba support (with only Samba working correctly over Gigabit Ethernet, which is a bummer), and can stream 4GB ISOs "without much delay." Fast forwarding through this didn't cause a problem either, thanks partially to that Gigabit connection no doubt. Music, however, suffers, since there's no ID3 tag reading and no cover art—it's the bare minimum you can get in a networked music player.

What's great about this player is that it's got online content support, meaning you can watch YouTube and Google video. In theory. None of these videos actually played when NAV tested the streamer. That's not so great.

But if you do have a BitTorrent fetish, you can use the Popcorn Hour to download torrents directly onto the machine. Unfortunately, this only lists XviD and not DivX as a supported format, so only a percentage of files you download off BitTorrent will play correctly.

Based on this, it seems that Popcorn Hour A-100 might be good for certain things, but lousy in others. If they can fix the bugs, this could be worth buying. [Networking Audio Video]