Popbox Arrives (with early firmware issues)

The Popbox ($130) media streamer from Syabas has been one of the more anticipated media players for 2010 and it seems to have arrived a few days ahead of schedule (yet still late). As a matter of fact Syabas, the company that brings us Popbox says they were “surprised” by the early availability on Amazon. Unfortunately, a number of those who pre-ordered the Popbox are having a pretty tough time with the media player so far.

Backing up for a sec, Popbox builds on the popular enthusiast-centric Popcorn Hour as a more general-consumer-friendly device. It features a brand new interface, many online content plugins (but no Netflix folks), a SDK, 100Mbps bitrate support, 1080p video and an attractive form factor.

Anyone who has followed a new-to-market media player knows that beyond the actual hardware specs inside, the success or failure of a device like this is the firmware/software that runs the thing and the diligence of the company to regularly update and improve that code. Typically there’s a private beta where the device is given to testers to report and assist the developers in fixing most problems with the device before it goes out to the general public. Unfortunately it appears the Popbox beta process wasn’t as far along as the company had hoped and, to make matters tougher, the shipments of the device happened a week before expected. Read the rest of this entry »

4 thoughts on “Popbox Arrives (with early firmware issues)”

  1. After multiple delays and the loss of Netflix – combined with my previous experience with the PopcornHour A110 – I canceled my pre order a few weeks ago. For the sake of those that have spent money on this device, I hope Syabas is able to resolve the firmware issues quickly. However, my sense is that this device will soon be relegated to the “what could have been” pile. The market for STBs and streaming services is moving quickly and it looks like they may get left behind. The debut of this device at CES 2010 seems like a lifetime ago….

  2. True. While I am also pretty pessimistic on the chances of the Boxee Box being successful, a couple of things going in Boxee’s favor are a larger installed user base and the fact that their plan calls for getting their software in multiple devices. Even if the box by D-Link fails, there are still plenty of users out there using the Boxee software on their PCs and there is still the opportunity for the software to succeed in other devices.

  3. I am still hopeful this will turn out to be a good head unit.

    Though, what I really want is UI that supports some parental controls the way Mythtv did, where to even see a grown up area you have to enter a pin, then you can one click to put it away again.
    I have not seen any of these type of extenders with anything useful in that regard.

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