Thursday, May 20, 2010

MKV still has problems with the Popcorn Hour A200

Well I might have spoken too soon about MKV's. The other night I tried to play a couple of videos encoded as 720P in the MKV container. On a 100Mbs connection both stopped once and froze. After a minute or so and pressing stop on the remote, they would return to the splash screen and when Play was pressed, restart at the point of freezing. It must be a MKV problem since I have been able to watch ts files encoded as 720P for 2 hours with no freezing at all.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Well it looks like the new firmware has done the trick. After loading it I have been able to watch over 3 hours of HD content streamed in the MKV container with no stops and starts and loss of network connectivity. That's good though given how fundamental this feature it, one wonders how much QA did Syabas do before releasing the product.

Next step for Syabas is to correct the issue where the A200 cannot process HD audio in the ts or m2ts container (or for that matter MKV but that's not relevant or standard) and only when the video stream is in a BDMV file structure.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Popcorn Hour A200

I got fed up with waiting for Syabas to provide a firmware release for the A100 to playback AAC-HE LATM audio so picked up an A200 player which handles this audio format and also has HDMI 1.3 so it can process bitstreamed lossless audio.

Alas this hasn't been the greatest move. Firstly while it does playback the AAC audio now, it cannot playback lossless audio in a MKV, ts or m2ts container because of a but in the Sigma chipset or SDK. The only way it can handle lossless audio is if the ts files are wrapped in a BDMV folder which means more work to prepare for them the server. And I am also now experiencing random network issues where playback of HD content will stop randomly, freeze and the Popcorn will lose the share off the server - none of which happened with the A100.

Even moving from HD Powerline to 100Mbs ethernet has not fixed this issue. I was about to RMA the device but was advised by Tech Support to wait for the latest firmware which might fix this problem. It arrived today (15 May) I have installed it and initial experiences are positive. I was able to watch a ts stream at 4500kbs streamed over Powerline HD to the server and then via 100Mbs ethernet to the Popcorn with no problems.

Next step is to see how it handles a MKV stream.