Popbox blasts 1080p network video with improved interface

Remember that Popcorn Hour box that plays just about any video with awesome power, but has an awful user interface? Its daddy, Syabas, just created its little brother, named Popbox, and it's packing features that almost match the power of its clunky sibling, but takes its entire user experience way into the future.

The best feature of this new streaming network media player is its user interface (see the gallery below), showing you whatever content you have on an external USB, flash drive, or network with a level of beauty that's about 10 years ahead of the Popcorn Hour box. Best of all, most of the power of the Popcorn Hour is still inside, playing 1080p over HDMI at a surprisingly high bit rate of 100 Mb per second. Besides that, we like its sweet new smaller design that's fanless for ultraquiet TV viewing. And yeah, it plays back almost every video format known to man and woman, including the pirate staple, Matroska files (.mkv).

Syabas signed on a handful of online channels that the Popcorn Hour doesn't have, such as Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, MLB and Shoutcast, but sadly, there's no Hulu yet. Syabas told us in an interview there are more channels on the way, so stay tuned. If you'd like to fiddle with BitTorrent with this Popbox like you can with the Popcorn Hour, you're out of luck, too. It also lacks the internal drive of the Popcorn Hour. Not to worry, we saved the best news for last: it'll cost you $129 when it rolls out in March. We'll get a close-up look at this baby coming up at CES this week.

Popcorn Hour