Syabas, the makers of the Popcorn Hour Media Tank, have announced their intentions to launch a lower-cost media playback device this spring. The Popbox ($130) retains much of the impressive codec and high resolution/bitrate support seen in the Popcorn Hour line, but will also emphasize web content such as Netflix (via “Popapps”) and feature a refreshed user interface. However, it’s not enough to have a good idea in making the transition from geek niche to mainstream — as I learned firsthand with SlingCatcher. They probably have the right hardware, but they’ll also need right UI, the right bizdev folks, and the right project management to pull it all together. But I’m feeling optimistic, given that rich new UI (see below) and Syabas’ solid previous hardware initiatives. So I’ll do my best to crash their CES suite Wednesday or Thursday for more details. Stay tuned.
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