We're always giddy with excitement when new Popcorn Hour hardware turns up. The last bit we got our hands on was the C-200, which we liked then, and really love now. The A-210 has a much smaller body, and loses the ability to accept a Blu-ray drive. But it's a very worthy replacement for the old A-100, A-110 and A-200 devices.
Like other hardware from Syabas -- the company behind the Popcorn Hour name -- there's pretty much nothing that this device won't play. There's support for MKV containers with MPEG-4 1080p video crammed into them, plus DivX, XviD, MOV and every type of MPEG-2 you can dream of. It's easier to list the video that this machine doesn't play back -- or it would be if we could think of any.
As with the other Popcorn Hour players, you can also fit your own SATA hard drive into the machine. That enables you to install extra features that turn the box into an FTP server and Samba share. You can also download torrents and binaries from newsgroups and then access it all either from the box itself, or from other Popcorn Hour boxes on your home network.
Streaming video with the A-210 is as simple as ever. Either use software like Twonky, or download a copy of MyiHome, which is designed for the Popcorn Hour range. We like MyiHome, because it gives you the option to search your video files, and makes sharing content with the player a piece of 1080p. The box has a gigabit Ethernet socket too, so you'll never have to wait long for a video to play, or see any playback problems from a lack of bandwidth.
There's also an optional 802.11n Wi-Fi dongle, which will let you access video files without the hassle of connecting a wired network up to the back of your TV. It costs an extra $23 (£15), which is hardly bank-breaking money.
The A-210 is available on pre-order from the Popcorn Hour website. It's around $200 (£125) but you'll need to consider shipping, import duty and VAT if you want one sent over to the UK. British retailers are starting to stock Popcorn Hour hardware, so check the likes of Advanced MP3 players if you're interested.
A full review will follow shortly, but in the mean time, why not check out the photos and tell us what you think via the comments section.
And there you have it, a wall of movies. Here we're using trailers, but it's just as simple to put full-length versions on the player. Do note though, you need an installed SATA drive to use this particular interface, as it doesn't work over the network.