$129 Popbox Aggregates Online Content
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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January 06, 2010 by Julie Jacobson

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

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.

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Julie Jacobson - Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson is co-founder of EH Publishing and currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro, mostly in the areas of home automation, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. She majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. Julie is a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player with the scars to prove it. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.

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