Popcorn Hour C-300 - Apps and Streaming

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams


Our Score


Review Price £341.99

Streaming and Setup

If you’re a planning on using a hard drive or flash storage, the setup process of the Popcorn Hour C-300 is very easy – if a little nerve-wracking for those who haven’t taken a computer apart before. The front 3.5in bay is extremely easy to use, but the other is hidden under the casing. Aware that many will want to use every drive slot possible, Syabas has made it easy to get under the hood. There’s just a single screw holding on the metal lid. Adding a hard drive can be done in under five minutes.

Getting streaming setup is – as usual – much more likely to be fraught. The C-300 supports a wide array of streaming standards including Samba, UPnP and Windows Media Connect, but its approach to setup is relatively hands-off. There is a setup wizard within the box, but it only extends as far as the basics of getting online and setting the region/time info. Once again, Popcorn Hour C-300 is reasonably well-matched to the techy, Bit-torrent/Newsgroup crowd, but less "online 24/7" folk may find setup frustrating and confusing.

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On that point, the Popcorn Hour C-300 also supports Bit-torrent and Usenet downloads, plus NAS over SMB, NFS and FTP. Load the box up with a 2TB hard drive and it's a piracy powerhouse - or a lovely home for all those - err - perfectly legal bit-torrents of… your cousin's wedding perhaps.

App Store

The Popcorn Hour C-300 comes with its own "app store", which features portals to other online content, as well as the usual social networking gubbins and a couple of extremely basic games. It sounds de rigeur, but these portals are nothing new to media players, and were available in previous Popcorn Hour boxes.

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The YouTube app in action

App selection is downright poor. With 60-odd to choose from, the numbers may sound good enough, but all the most important picks are missing. You have Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, but Netflix, LoveFilm, iPlayer, 4OD, iTV Player, Blinkbox, Spotify and - well let's just stop there because this is getting depressing - are all missing. Other channels are bitty portals to web channels only small numbers of people will be interested in.


Missing out on every single staple streaming service means the Popcorn Hour C-300 is of very little interest to anyone willing to pay to download or pay to stream content. If you want to consume a mixture of downloaded and streamed content, it just doesn't have the app support. And when the front display is a basic execution of a concept that itself feels a little dated, most hardcore downloaders will be happy with one of Popcorn Hour's cheaper models.


The Popcorn Hour C-300 media box can play just about any video or audio file you have. From this perspective at least, it's a success. However, when it lacks every video streaming service popular in the UK aside from YouTube, is extremely expensive compared with its rivals and still has an interface that feels a little bolted together, it doesn't warrant the price.

Scores In Detail


Our Score

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May 23, 2012, 3:22 pm

This is a very poor review for which the author should be ashamed.

The technical inaccuracies and generalisations combined with the obvious Apple bias is making me rethink visiting this site.
The reviewer puts his personal preference and incorrect beliefs 'wifi streaming of 1080p is possible' and punishes the supplier for not providing it in the player. Well he may want everyone to pay for his folly but why should they. The only 1080p stuff you can stream via wifi would be low quality pirate or Apple downloads. In other words not worth streaming. He seems to damn the player for its users and then does the same. Legal 1:1 Bluray backups cannot be streamed via wifi. Stick with your wifi delusions but dont expect everyone to pay for it.
I have a C200 and know a lot about these players, obviously a lot more than the reviewer. There is no charge for the app mentioned in the review, iplayer is coming to the C300 its with the BBC (C200/A200/A300 have it already), the comparison vs wdtv etc and price is bogus as the A300 is the WDTV comparable not the C300, etc. etc. poorly researched , poorly written, biased rubbish.

I'm normally one of the silent majority that visited to read the reviews but if they are going to continue to be of this quality/bias then I'll not bother.

Hamish Campbell

May 24, 2012, 4:21 pm

I don't get this wifi view at all. It came up in the A-300 review too.

Wifi should be there full stop. Even if you don't think 1080 content is gonna work well on it, ALL OTHER content will, 720, SD, rips, and streaming off the net. Handy for upgrades too. At £340 it's ludicrous to suggest that wifi is an issue on price, it's included in some budget blu-ray players sitting at the £100 mark.

Legal 1:1 blu-rays, I mean really, who doesn't put some compression on a backup.

Oh, and saying an app is coming....if you put it out to market, have the iPlayer ready, especially when it's on your other devices.


November 6, 2012, 6:38 pm

Oh Lord!!...another reviewer that doesn't know how to setup and use a Popcorn Hour....If you don't understand the capabilities of this piece of equipment then just stay quiet.

I have one, streaming from my Synology NAS running YAMJ with Aeon Skin and it is fantastic, was it easy to set up?....No! But there is plenty of support on the forums and if you don't want to pay the money and spend some time then buy something else...however if you do and have some brain matter and are willing to spend a little time then you will not be dissapointed.

I read one review that summed these up as a "Cult" device...couldn't have said it better myself, all the others...Ssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!

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