August 20, 2008 AV enthusiasts need never leave the couch again with the aid of the Popcorn Hour A-110 networked media tank. The A-110 is a combination of a digital media player, network attached storage and a media server. Supporting a mammoth list of all the latest video and audio formats, the A-110 includes HDMI v1.3a for playing full 1080p video, and S/PDIF Optical Digital Audio. Retailing at USD$215, the A-110 is within reach of most home entertainment budgets, and is leaving the Apple TV for dead.

The Popcorn Hour A-110 is an enhanced version of the popular A-100 model. Some features of the A-110 that we got excited about include:

  • Support for all the latest high bitrate video formats, including: MPEG1/2/4, MKV, XVID, AVI, WMV, MOV, and more...
  • DTS/AC3/DTS-HD MA/DTS-HD HR/Dolby True HD/Dolby Digital Plus pass through.
  • AC3/DTS down mixing (so that you can down mix any audio track to match the number of channels of your speaker configuration).
  • Accepts 2.5" and 3.5" SATA hard drives - and can be used as Network Accessible Storage (NAS).
  • Includes access to Vuze (BitTorrent client), You Tube, peer-to-peer internet TV streaming from SayaTV, internet radio, RSS, and more ...
  • Upgradable firmware.

A few features that we would like to see in the future include:

  • Gigabit ethernet (the A-110 currently does 10/100 Mbps)
  • A true SATA interface (while the A-110 currently accepts a SATA drive, it only behaves like a bridge - not running at full SATA speeds).
  • Ability to pause, record and playback digital TV in high definition.

The Popcorn Hour A-110 can be pre-ordered from the Popcorn Hour web site, but no release date has been set (as of the 19th August 2008). This is currently our favorite device for storing and playing back digital video and audio.