HDX 1000 review: HDX 1000

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The Good Good picture and sound quality; versatile; massive codec support.

The Bad Not the easiest device to buy, due to a lack of UK resellers; no DTS decoder.

The Bottom Line The HDX 1000 is a great machine and well worth your hard-earned money. The 1000 doesn't offer a massive amount of functionality over the Popcorn Hour A-110 though, plus you lose the valuable DTS decoder -- at least, for the time being. But which device you go for is really a matter of personal preference. We found the 1000's multi-format card reader handy, and prefer its design to that of the A-110

8.8 Overall

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Some time ago we tested both the Popcorn Hour A-100 and the A-110. Now the HDX 1000 has arrived, and it has more than a little in common with our favourite media streamers. The 1000 is based around the Popcorn Hour hardware platform, created by Syabas.

As is the case with the A-100 and A-110, UK distributers seem quite rare. You should be able to get hold of the 1000 for about �200, but it might involve importing one from mainland Europe. As much as that might sound like a pain, it's well worth it.

The 1000 is available in two colours. We tested the black version, but the company also has a silver model.

The front is fairly plain, with just a window to receive infrared commands, a small LED to indicate the machine's status, and a multi-format card reader. We love the inclusion of the card reader -- it's just a shame support is limited to SDHC, Memory Stick Pro Duo and MultiMediaCard.

At the back, you'll find HDMI for passing high-definition video -- up to 1080p resolution -- to your TV. There are also component and composite video outputs and stereo audio via RCA jacks. You get both coaxial digital and optical digital outputs too, which enables you to connect the machine to an AV receiver to get superb audio quality.

For getting video onto your TV, you can either plug a memory stick into the USB host connections or stick a memory card in the reader at the front. There's also a USB slave connection that comes into play when you install a hard drive. This USB jack means you can directly connect the machine to your PC and transfer files to the hard disk, which you have to fit yourself.

All the connections on the back of the machine are gold-plated, which should enable the best possible signal conductivity

There's also an Ethernet socket, which enables you to grab video from anywhere on your network. You can connect to machines sharing their video via Windows Media Player too -- handy if you're running an Xbox as a Windows Media Center extender. Also, there's some free software called myiHome, which you can download from the Syabas website, that allows you to share videos, photos and music with your 1000 in a totally hassle-free way.

If you want to play media, this machine can probably help you out. Every video format under the sun is supported, including MPEG-2, for your legal DVD rips. MPEG-4 and DivX support means virtually any video you get off the Internet will play. There's also support for formats like VC-1 and WMV 9. As with the A-110 and A-100, you can access online services, including YouTube and Flickr.

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