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 »