Popcorn Hour A400 hands on.
The future belongs to media players. We have seen some great media players such as the Apple Tv, Roku, WD and so on but none have actually wanted to make me shift from my Bluray players to them till I used the Popcorn Hour A400.
The A400 is the fourth generation media player from Syabas(Now Cloud Media) and is their latest and greatest(my personal opinion). Measuring at 7.2 inches wide, 6.2 inches deep and 2.2 inches high and weighs 2.86 pounds, don’t let the size fool you. This is one powerful device.
I transferred the heaviest movie I had( Life of Pi which was in excess of 45GB) and hit the play button thinking it would take a good few minutes so play but surprisingly in less than 5 seconds it did the trick. The same file when played thru Apple TV………well I just got tired of waiting.
Coming to the device, it has some really great ways to transfer media. There’s a slot to accept an internal HD(up to 4TB), an SD card slot, 2 USB ports, eSATA and a USB 3.0 Slave. You really have a lot of options to store/transfer media to this device. Ofcourse sice this is actually meant to be a network media player you can also stream all the content on your home PC/laptop with ease without having to physically store anything in the device itself. This is extremely beneficial for those of us who have thousands of movies stored on a central database. Pair it with a 2nd PCH A400 and you can share the same movie library across different rooms.
The picture quality is simply fantastic. The PCH A 400 does 24p just like blurays without chocking and can go all the way up to 60p and still not stutter. This is a great achievement considering the size and price of the unit. Another great feature is the ability to play 1080p 3D which works extremely well. Much better than what I have seen in the past with other players. I threw all the formats I could at it trying to see its limitations but really couldn’t find any. From MKV, ISO, MP4, AVI, it played ALL of the flawlessly. With the ability to play most file formats and that too with Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD MA, it is a true cinema like experience.
If you have an IOS or an Android device you get to see all your movie and music collection on your portable device and not just that but even play/control it from it.
The UI of the device is great. You simply transfer/copy the media and the device does the rest. The movie posters for films and TV series are automatically retrieved online, along with plot summaries and cast lists which makes not only finding the media you want to watch easy but also a pleasant experience.
The PCH A400 is available for $250(Wifi dongle is optional). Of course you need a bit of networking knowledge to set it up but once you get accustomed to it, you wont believe how you ever managed your media without it.
You can get more information about the PCH A400 here.