Popcorn Hour C-200 digital player: Cable TV killer?

Popcorn Hour set-top boxes keep getting better. This new one, the C-200, has an even faster chip inside, so it can do an even better job of playing back the longest list of HD video file types we've ever seen in a digital video player. If digital video movies and streaming aren't enough for you, there's now a slot where you can place a Blu-ray drive, too.

This $299 Networked Media Tank (NMT) adds faster gigabit Ethernet, features an RF remote control (that can go through walls or media cabinets), streams a variety of media from your network or the Internet, and supports AVCHD so you can play back video you've shot on an HD camcorder.

Could this be the box that gets you to cancel that price-gouging cable TV subscription? Check out the press release for details:

Popcorn Hour C-200

FREMONT, Calif., June 17, 2009 - Syabas, a leading provider of over-the-top settop software and hardware and makers of the award winning Popcorn Hour A-110, today announced the Popcorn C-200, a next-generation Internet settop box that streams digital content from the Internet or its internal hard drive to your television set and home stereo.¹ Unlike competing Internet settop boxes that support a limited number of Internet audio and video file types, the C-200 supports more than 30, including MPEG 1, 2, 4, AVI, H.264, Xvid, MKV, Windows Media and others.

"In today's tough economic times, there are people facing the decision to either cancel their cable subscription or their Internet connection to make ends meet," said Syabas COO, Alex Limberis. "With a C-200, people can experience the best of both worlds, as a lot of compelling content is freely available on the Internet. Today, consumers want to watch programs when they want them, not when a network or cable company tells them it's okay."

Like its predecessor, the Popcorn Hour A-110, the C-200 streams news and entertainment content from a number video partner sites such as YouTube, Vuze, Revision 3, CNET TV, Veoh, Blip.tv, NBC, CBS, CNN and BBC and Internet radio sites, such as Radio box and Live365 Radio. Additionally, the C-200 can stream still image content from Flickr, Pikeo and Picasa.

Additional new features of the C-200 include:

* A redesigned external shell, which helps the unit better integrate into existing entertainment component stacks
* Wireless RF remote control
* An LCD display for quickly searching, streaming and/or downloading content, which is useful when listening to music without having the TV on
* A gigabit Ethernet connection for lightning-fast file transfers
* A front-loading drive bay that can be used to install a hard drive for storing and playing back downloaded content
* The ability to add a Blu-ray drive with full support for Blu-ray navigation and Blu-ray Live
* AVCHD format and navigation for displaying home video content from AVC format HD cameras

The C-200 includes component and HDMI out for high definition playback on today's HDTVs. And for audio purists, the device features an optical line out, for playing back content that's been encoded in Dolby Digital or DTS. The box also plays Wave, AAC and MP3 audio files, among others.

"Unlike competing new media streamers that have been around for less than a year and can require someone to hack a product's operating system to get them to work, Syabas has been happily shipping media streaming products to satisfied customers around the world for several years," said Alex Limberis, chief operating officer of Syabas."

The Popcorn C-200 is expected to be available in July for $299 from www.popcornhour.com. The package includes the C-200, an HDMI cable, RF remote control, quick start guide and installation software. Complete product specifications can be found at: www.popcornhour.com.

Via CrunchGear