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Syabas Popcorn Hour A-110 HD Media Tank review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £190
inc VAT

Popcorn Hour is made by the little-known Syabas Technology, which produces firmware for other media streamers.

Unlike many of the devices here, Popcorn Hour has only an Ethernet port, although you can buy Syabas’s Draft-N WN-100 adaptor for around £40. It has a good selection of outputs, including composite, component, S-video and HDMI.

When we updated the Popcorn Hour’s firmware, we received a host of new features, including improved internet radio capabilities. The A-110 also has excellent support for online video, with a built-in client for legal BitTorrent downloads from the Vuze network as well as clients for YouTube and other video services.

The interface is clear and easy to use. The Media Source screen lets you browse your network for shared files and folders. You can also browse content stored on a USB drive. We reviewed the diskless version of the A-110 but you can fit a SATA hard disk or buy one with a 500GB hard disk for around £60 extra, which makes it better value than Netgear’s EVA9150.

In menu screens, the remote control’s volume adjustment buttons allow you to page up and down through the menu. Coloured buttons at the bottom of the remote let you switch between modes that filter files into video, audio and picture content. Frustratingly, no thumbnails are shown for photos and flicking through images at full screen was sluggish. However, you can pan and zoom, and slideshows played fine.

The Popcorn Hour supports more formats than almost any other device here except Netgear’s EVA9150, and its video support is particularly impressive. However, adding WiFi and a hard disk pushes the price up considerably. If you don’t need a hard disk, the A-110 is much better value than the EVA9150. It wins a Best Buy award.

Basic Specifications

Rating *****
Media Streamer type streaming multimedia receiver

Audio Compatibility

Audio MP3 playback Yes
Audio WMA playback Yes
Audio WMA-DRM playback No
Audio AAC playback Yes
Audio Protected AAC playback No
Audio OGG playback Yes
Audio WAV playback Yes
Audio Audible playback No
Other audio formats DTS, Dolby Digital, FLAC, LPCM, WMA Pro
Internet radio stream compatib MP3, AAC, Ogg

Video Compatibility

Video MPEG-1 playback Yes
Video MPEG-2 playback Yes
Video MPEG-2 VOB playback Yes
Video MPEG-4 AVI playback Yes
Video MPEG-4 MP4 playback Yes
Video MPEG-4 DivX/XviD support Yes
Video H.264 support Yes
Video MPEG-4 MP3 audio support Yes
Video MPEG-4 AAC audio support Yes
Video WMV playback Yes
Video WMV-HD support Yes
Other video formats MOV, ISO, IFO, MKV, Transport Stream (TS), M2TS, Program Stream (PS), VC-1
Internet video stream compatib FLV (YouTube)

Image Compatibility

Image BMP support Yes
Image JPEG support Yes
Image TIFF support Yes

Network Interfaces

Wired network ports 10/100
Wireless networking support No
128-bit WEP No
256-bit WEP No

AV Interfaces

Minijack line outputs 0
Minijack headphone outputs 0
Stereo phono outputs 1
Coaxial S/PDIF outputs 0
Optical S/PDIF outputs 1
Total SCART sockets 0
HDMI outputs 1
Component outputs 1
S-video output 1
Composite outputs 1
Other connectors 2x USB


Size 32x270x132mm
Antennas 0
Internal/external antennas N/A
Upgradeable antenna No
Power consumption standby 7W
Power consumption on 7W

Server Compatibility

Software included none
UPnP Yes
iTunes No
SlimServer No

Buying Information

Price £190
Warranty one year RTB

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