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Popcorn hour A-210 or WD TV live Plus

Wharfedale EVO4.1 Bookshelf Speakers

naren2512

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Hi Everyone,

I want to buy a media player, I do not know what all to expect but have listed down a few expectations that I could think of

1) Should have good SQ and PQ and it to be able to send the HD audio and HD video signals to the AVR
2) Ease of use / good UI
3) Should be able to connect a HDD with it, preferably internal HDD (but this wont be a sole deciding factor for me)


I looked at various posts and WD TV live, AC ryan and Xtreemer seems to be common and favorite choices here and I have shortlisted below two based on the reviews on HFV and on a couple of other sites.

1) WD TV Live Plus
2) Popcorn hour A-210

Please can you advise as to which one from the above to I should go for and what makes it better than the other?

Incase if you would like to suggest any other players then please do so, my budget will be upto 200$ ( however if i need to stretch it a bit i can stretch it upto 250$ as i think i will have to also spend on buying a blue ray player at later stage )

Furthermore, HT PC from companies like "Zotac" may give dual benefit of media player and Blue ray player but I think they may be very expensive ?

Your help to decide my multimedia player will be highly appreciated and if do decide it soon then I am planning to place order by the week end.

Thank you all.

Regards,
Naren
 

naren2512

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50 reviews but no replies :-( .. guys please help me decide on my media player !
 

venkatcr

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Naren, media players have been discussed ad nauseum on the forum.

To answer your questions - the WD TV does not bitstream HD audio. As far as I am aware (and have seen) there are only two players that do that - Popcorn Hour's C200 and Dune's HD Max. All players transmit 1080P signals unless the specs specifically say otherwise.

Yes, a good HTPC will end up costing quite a lot and is not easy to manage in terms of UI, remote control etc.

If you are buying the C200, you can also look at buying the Blu-Ray drive that is available from them. Then you do not need an independent Blu-Ray drive.

Cheers
 
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naren2512

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@Hemant

I tried to look at the previous threads on media players and they have a lot of good information however i could not find much info on "Popcorn hour A-210" ( the info available was for Popcorn hour C200) hence i thought of putting it on a new thread and seek forum members help :-(

@Venkatcr

Thanks a lot sir :)
 

GeorgeO

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Naren

PC hasa forum, which has hundreds of thread specific to their products. I have an A 200, have installed a 1.5 TB internal drive into it and which I personally think is a good product.However you need to decide what works best for you.
 

Dushie

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Go for Xtreamer prodigy it would be out next week and is state of the art stuff. Better to hold on till then.
 

naren2512

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Go for Xtreamer prodigy it would be out next week and is state of the art stuff. Better to hold on till then.

Sure will watch out for reviews for this one

Naren

PC hasa forum, which has hundreds of thread specific to their products. I have an A 200, have installed a 1.5 TB internal drive into it and which I personally think is a good product.However you need to decide what works best for you.

Thanks George, will try to look at the PCH forum
 

naren2512

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Dear Friends,

I came across" Dune HD SMart B1" comes for around 310$ and seems impressive as i think it is a multimedia player with a blue ray drive.

A couple of reviews on internet suggested that the Dune Smart hangs at time i.e becomes irresponsive while some others go to extenth of saying that thease are even better than Popcorn Hour.

Has any one had a chance of trying the Dune Smart multimedia players ( H1, B1 or D1 ) ? if any Dune owners like the share their experiance it will be very helpful.

Regards,
Naren
 

venkatcr

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There are hardly any differences between Dune's new players and their old ones. They have added a few new features, better networking capabilities and so on. The firmware has also been re-written or enhanced and is not yet stable.

One of the issues with Dune has been it's optical drive. For some reason, at times, the discs get stuck. This happens mostly to CDs, but I have seen the same happening even to Blu-Rays in the HD Max. The only option is to power off, power on, and keep pressing the eject button till the disc is ejected.

But the Dune's media playing capabilities far outstrip it's hiccups with the optical drive. Hopefully they will fix that also.

Cheers
 
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naren2512

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Friends,

I am leaning towards Dune and have a few questions that I request your help for :

1) Will it be a good choice to go for a " Dune Smart B1" ( multimedia layer cum BD player) for 320$ or should i look at buying " Dune Smart D1 " for 260$ and buy a seperate DVD or BD player ? - I may not need a BD player much as i may not buy Blue ray discs however i will definitely need a DVD player

2) Is it advisable to go for a multimedia player with internal HDD or External HDD which one is a better option? ( because if i go for B1 i will have to connect a external HDD while D1 allows you to add an internal HDD)

3) If i go for Smart B1 - can I make the optical Blue ray drive region free?

4) Is it true that Dune multimedia player are better than Popcorn hour A210 and C200 ?

Thanks for your help !!

Regards,
Naren
 

prithivi

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is pop corn hour available in INDIA ( Sorry if my question is silly )

but pls answer i didnt find any solution towards this other than importing
 

naren2512

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@ Prithvi,

I am planning to buy from the US and have some one carry it for me. I dont think Popcorn hour is available in India.

@ Dear Forum memebrs,

Please do try to help me with my above questions if possible :)

Regards,
Naren
 

eummagic

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Even though I own Popcorn Hour A-110 and satisfied with its abilities. I am waiting for the release of Xtreamer Ultra for its HTPC features which is more powerful for a media player than Popcorn Hour (C-200) or any other media player in the market. Will have to wait for the release & reviews...

So, pls don't jump into buying either Popcorn or WD and wait till market has more options in the coming months.
 
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venkatcr

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1) Will it be a good choice to go for a " Dune Smart B1" ( multimedia layer cum BD player) for 320$ or should i look at buying " Dune Smart D1 " for 260$ and buy a seperate DVD or BD player ? - I may not need a BD player much as i may not buy Blue ray discs however i will definitely need a DVD player

It is a matter of personal choice. A media player will not be of much use if you are looking for scaling, high quality audio decoding, etc. Prices of Blu-Ray players are coming down, but you have contend with region restriction.

2) Is it advisable to go for a multimedia player with internal HDD or External HDD which one is a better option? ( because if i go for B1 i will have to connect a external HDD while D1 allows you to add an internal HDD)

I would any day go for one in which I can add an optical drive. External HDDs are no issue at all. Get a simple HDD docking station, and you can swap disks at leisure and not worry about enclosures, etc.

3) If i go for Smart B1 - can I make the optical Blue ray drive region free?

All Dune optical drives are region free already.

4) Is it true that Dune multimedia player are better than Popcorn hour A210 and C200 ?

All I can say is that both are within the top five players in the world.

Cheers
 

naren2512

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Venkat Sir,

Thank you so much for the information / reply on my queries.

I may need some more help before I decide on the Media player. ( I should have asked earlier but this idea came to my mind little late .. sorry !! )

I have a desktop computer which is not much in use as I mostly use my laptop. I just learnt that I can add a Graphics card on it which can help me connect my comp with AVR.

My comp config is -

Processsor - Core 2 Due 1.86 Ghz
Motherboard - Intel 965 ( with on board graphics and sound card)
Ram - 1.5GB DDR 2 Ram ( if the need be I can add 4-6 GB )
HDD - 80GB ( I can add one more 1TB HDD later)
DVD W/R drive - LG 20X ( later can replace it with Blue ray drive)
Cabinet - Normal comp cabinet and SMPS bought for Rs 1,500

Now my questions are :

1) If I add a Graphics card say a ATI HD 5440 or higher such as HD 5570 - will my computer give me as good quality of HD sound and video as I can get from a decent Media player such as DUNE Smart ?

2) Will I have to add anything else other than the Graphics card, bigger HDD a Blue ray drive and a remote to my computer to make it a HTPC? will the RAM of 1.5 GB and my current SMPS be sufficient ?

3) I know the User interface of the HTPC may not be as good and easy to operate as a Media player and it may consume more power etc but keeping that aside do you think that this experiment will be worth it rather than buying a Media plyer?

4) If the answers to above three Q are more in favour of HTPC then please can you guide me on a couple of good graphics cards that I can look at ? will HD 5570 be good?

Thanks a ton for the help in advance.

Regards,
Naren
 
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venkatcr

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1) If I add a Graphics card say a ATI HD 5440 or higher such as HD 5570 - will my computer give me as good quality of HD sound and video as I can get from a decent Media player such as DUNE Smart ?

Yes, a good graphics card is a good option for video. For audio, you just have to bitstream the audio to your AVR. If you need a good audio from your computer, you need to get a multichannel sound car from Asus or Azuntech.

2) Will I have to add anything else other than the Graphics card, bigger HDD a Blue ray drive and a remote to my computer to make it a HTPC? will the RAM of 1.5 GB and my current SMPS be sufficient ?

RAM is not critical as GPUs have their own RAM which is what is used all the time. HDD - certainly. You would need at least 2TB to start with and you will see that filling very fast. In terms of SMPS, look for at least a 750watts SMPS.

3) I know the User interface of the HTPC may not be as good and easy to operate as a Media player and it may consume more power etc but keeping that aside do you think that this experiment will be worth it rather than buying a Media plyer?

This is very subjective. I love my HTPC as it gives me great flexibility. The UI is OK as long as you are comfortable with the OS. I use a wireless keyboard and mouse, and I am happy with that. Remote controls are just coming up and I will pick one up by end of this year.

4) If the answers to above three Q are more in favour of HTPC then please can you guide me on a couple of good graphics cards that I can look at ? will HD 5570 be good?

An HTPC is not as easy to use as a media player. In addition, you should be a little computer savvy as well as have patience to format and reinstall the OS, drivers, and applications a few times. A good HTPC is also expensive as compared to a media player. In you case, you have to look at a graphics card (say 5K), a Blu-Ray drive (6K), an SMPS (2K), and 2TB HDD (4.5K) at the minimum.

Cheers
 
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naren2512

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Venkat sir,

Firstly, thanks again for the reply and help.

Yes, a good graphics card is a good option for video. For audio, you just have to bitstream the audio to your AVR. If you need a good audio from your computer, you need to get a multichannel sound car from Asus or Azuntech.

Since I have an Onkyo AVR I think I will just go with the Graphics card for now and bitstream the audio to AVR ( i assume it just means letting AVR processing the sound and sending output to speakers) will doing this give as good sound output as say a Dune Media player? and will It process the HD audio too as efficiently as a decent media player or do i necessarily have to have a multichannele sound card for this?

RAM is not critical as GPUs have their own RAM which is what is used all the time. HDD - certainly. You would need at least 2TB to start with and you will see that filling very fast. In terms of SMPS, look for at least a 750watts SMPS.

SMPS - will the 750 Watt SMPS fit into the normal ATX PC cabinet and how much will it cost jsut incase you know the approx price it will be helpful ..

HDD - In your view will external HDD be a good option here or a internal one ( the benefit that i see in external one is that they are portable so I can get movies from my friends computers too ) but not sure if having External HDD will have any dis-advantages which may be important to be considered.

This is very subjective. I love my HTPC as it gives me great flexibility. The UI is OK as long as you are comfortable with the OS. I use a wireless keyboard and mouse, and I am happy with that. Remote controls are just coming up and I will pick one up by end of this year.

I work on computer whole day in office so I guess i will be comfirtable using HTPC too :)


An HTPC is not as easy to use as a media player. In addition, you should be a little computer savvy as well as have patience to format and reinstall the OS, drivers, and applications a few times.

I used to play around with computers a lot until few years ago had built a half a dozen PCs for my friends and relatives :) however now have got too busy with job and other stuff but I guess for building my HTS I should be able to take out time for installation and re-installation of OS, drivers etc


A good HTPC is also expensive as compared to a media player. In you case, you have to look at a graphics card (say 5K), a Blu-Ray drive (6K), an SMPS (2K), and 2TB HDD (4.5K) at the minimum.

Cheers

If the good HTPC will be better than say a Dune Media player then I will definitely go for an HTPC and about the cost I will probably buy the stuff from US so it may not be too expensive

Please can you suggest a couple of brands/ models of GC and Blue ray drives tha can help build a good HTPC ? Also incase its necessary to have a multichannel sound card for HD audio processing then could you also suggest a couple of brands for this as well.


Regards,
Naren
 
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venkatcr

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will doing this give as good sound output as say a Dune Media player? and will It process the HD audio too as efficiently as a decent media player or do i necessarily have to have a multichannele sound card for this?

When you bitstream audio, the processing is done by the AVR, so the GPUs/Dune capability does not matter. I terms of video processing, GPUs are far far ahead of media players. I have seen ATI GPUs bitstream quite well.

SMPS - will the 750 Watt SMPS fit into the normal ATX PC cabinet and how much will it cost jsut incase you know the approx price it will be helpful ..

You have to check with the PC mechanics. Regarding costs it will vary between 2-5K depending upon the brand.

HDD - In your view will external HDD be a good option here or a internal one ( the benefit that i see in external one is that they are portable so I can get movies from my friends computers too ) but not sure if having External HDD will have any dis-advantages which may be important to be considered.

External ones are very good. Internal ones do provide the advantage of speed as they work on SATA as against USB, but that will not make too much difference for movies.

Please can you suggest a couple of brands/ models of GC and Blue ray drives tha can help build a good HTPC ? Also incase its necessary to have a multichannel sound card for HD audio processing then could you also suggest a couple of brands for this as well.

Regarding GPUs, the best would be to visit Tomshardware analysis and choose what fits your requirement and budget. I think their analysis is the best in the world.

Regarding Blu-Ray player, the only one readily outside the US seems to be from LG running at around 4x. In the US, you get a few more options such as
Plextor 12x drives. Other manufacturers are Sony and Samsung. LG continues to have a good reputation and have released some new models.

Cheers
 

spirovious

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