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What can the PCH do for me - Popcornhour FAQ
06-18-2008, 12:04 PM
What can the PCH do for me - Popcornhour FAQ
It seems some people are confused lately about what a PCH is and what it can do.
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll try to explain in laymenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s terms about what you can expect from your PCH.
Please contribute and comment on this so we can make a sort of F.A.Q. out of it.
What is a Popcornhour and what can it do?
The PCH is a mediaplayer based on an intergrated video processor.
It is used to play various media files, video and audio, trough your home entertainment system.
It has a network port that connects it to your network and you can fit a hard drive to store your files.
It runs Linux and has some extra functionality like NFS, SMB, and FTP for network connectivity and it runs a Bit torrent client for downloading media of the internet.
The processor inside the box is in fact a microprocessor and a videoprocessor build into one chip.
You can compare the videoprocessor to a videocard inside your PC, this processor handles the video, and it has a microprocessor that is used for the applications.
The microprocessor is not a very strong one, probably your new mobile phone has a stronger processor inside. It is just there to handle the operating system and userinterface.
See it like the processor in you washing machine, it is just strong enough to let you press a few buttons and wash your clothes accordingly.
The videoprocessor can handle video up to 1080P full HD, but just like your videocard in has limitations.
What can you expect from the popcornhour?
It plays most of your videofiles, and most of your audiofiles, but there are so many wayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s to encode video and audio files that there will always be files that are not playable.
So what about MKV?
MKV like avi, or wmv are Ã¢â‚¬Å“containersÃ¢â‚¬Â, that means a file that can hold different Ã¢â‚¬Å“filesÃ¢â‚¬Â inside.
See it as a zip file, that can contain word documents or pictures or whatever you want.
MKV can hold video and audio files, but it is up to the people who make the MKV what they put inside.
The popcornhour is able to Ã¢â‚¬Å“look insideÃ¢â‚¬Â these containers and it if it finds a supported video and/or audio file inside it will feed that to the videoprocessor and show it on your screen.
You can imagine, because there are so many wayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s to encode files, that there are several MKV files out there that are not supported by the popcornhour.
Most files you can find however, are supported, and the people who make them are more and more aware of the Ã¢â‚¬Å“trouble they cause by not applying the standardÃ¢â‚¬Â so more and more files will be supported by the PCH.
So why is the userinterface not sleek and sexy like XBMC?
As I wrote before, the processor that handles the userinterface is not that fast. The Xbox has a fast processor to handle that sexy userinterface, but the PCH does not have that power.
There will be a nicer userinterface in the future, just look trough the forum and you will see people who build their own userinterface with nice pictures and movie info, and Syabas is always listening and reading the forum, and they will eventually create something more sleek and sexy, but for now we will have to do with the interface we have, or create something ourself (itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not that hard)
So will it ever be like XBMC? No, just because the processor can not handle that.
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve seen mediaplayers that have a much faster userinterface, why is that?
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve seen them too. And it is simply explained.
The popcornhour runs Linux, with some bellÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s and whistles and has itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s own userinterface that was written by Syabas, just to do all the extra stuff other mediaplayers canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t.
The other mediaplayers that look faster run a very lightweight version of linux, without anything extra and use the userinterface that chipmaker Sigma made with less functionality.
See it as running Windows Vista vs Windows 3.11 on the same PC. The windows 3.11 will run very fast, but without features, and Vista will run much slower but has all kind of features.
Why should I buy a PCH and not a HTPC or Xbox with XBMC?
That is totally up to you. The PCH can play almost any file, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s small, it doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t take much power it is cheap and it is quiet.
The Xbox makes lots of noise with itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s and doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t play HD files.
A HTPC will play almost everything, has a sleeker userinterface but most of the time are noisy, bulky (well at least not as small as the PCH), expensive ($500 at least) and use more power.
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What can the PCH do for me - Popcornhour FAQ - Philos - 06-18-2008 12:04 PM