Popbox: a media portal for local and web content

[CES 2010] Syabas Technology just launched Popbox, a set top box that aims at being a portal to your home (networked) content but also for web content. The box itself is quite small (7″ long) but packs a video processor that should be capable of decoding the most demanding 1080p video files. It is fanless, so it will be absolutely silent, and it consumes only 15W. As a network device, Popbox will scan the content that is shared from your other computers or some servers. You will have access to your media files from your TV. Popbox supports an impressive array of formats and protocols (the list is at the end of this article).

The more interesting part of the product is the user interface. We have not tried it yet, but it looks clean and well done. To access web content, Popbox uses Popapps, a small interface to each service like Netflix or Twitter. In theory, any web service that has an API (including paid services) could have a Popapp. At the moment, there’s no Hulu app, but we can only hope that it will come. Our understanding is that it is technically possible, but licenses and legalities make it hard. The box should be available in March and should cost $129 (MSRP).

popbox: a media portal for local and web content

  • Video – MPEG1/2/4, Open MPEG-4 HD, Xvid-HD and WMV9-HD, VC-1,H.264
  • Audio – MP1/2/3, WMA, WMA Pro, Ogg Vorbis, AAC, AC3, DTS, PCM, WAV and FLAC
  • Container –ASF, ISO, IFO, MPEG-TS, MPEG-4, MOV, MKV, AVI, WM-DRM, VOB, MP4, RMP4
  • Photo – JPEG, Animated GIF89a, BMP and PNG
  • Subtitle – MicroDVD (*.sub), SubRip (*.srt), Sub Station Alpha (*.ssa), Microsoft’s Synchronized Accessible Media Interchange – SAMI (*.smi)
  • SMB / Bonjour / UPnP/ DLNA/ WM-DRM etc. etc.

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