Archive for the ‘Unbox’ Category

Boxee Box in-depth Review: a $200 powerhouse

Posted by matt on November 14, 2010

Boxee Box in the HandThe highly anticipated release of the Boxee Box is finally upon us!  Since its debut at CES in January 2010, the thought of a relatively cheap consumer electronics device that could take the place of a typical media PC was indeed attractive.  While most likely initially targeted at those already quite familiar with the Boxee (or XBMC) interface, it is likely the sub-$200 device will bring an entire new market of casual over-the-top video users into the foray. This review will go through installation and use of many of the screens and local media types.

If you find this review helpful and wish to buy the Boxee box, please do so via this Amazon link to help support this site.  Thanks!

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Posted under Unbox, boxee, reviews, tech gadgets

PopBox Quick Review. Verdict? It’s a Poopbox

Posted by matt on July 20, 2010

Popbox opened upNote: The following is a review and unboxing done on 7/19/2010, with basically ‘launch’ firmware of the Popbox Media Player.  In it’s current state, it justly deserves my moniker, “Poopbox”.

As a fan of the oddly named Popcorn Hour A-100 media tank (which I did a number of reviews), I had high hopes for the new ‘Popbox’ when I saw it released during CES.  The Popcorn hour, purchased over 2 years ago, played most anything you threw at it.  While the interface speed and usability wasn’t that great, it got the job done quite effectively, and in 1080p.

Fast forward a couple years… since then, the excellent XBMC with robust media metadata support has matured on the PC, Boxee has also shown us network streaming done right and tons of media boxes (like the WDTV Live) have all launched providing many ways to bring computer media to the TV.  Thinking what 2 years of development could do to benefit Syabas (company who makes the device), I figured the power of the PCH mixed with metadata would provide quite a nice experience.  Thus, my reason for pre-ordering for the PopBox back in April.  Fast forward to July 19, 2010, I finally got it…

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Posted under Popcorn Hour, Unbox, popbox, reviews, tech gadgets

Unbox Gadget Review: Canon Digital Rebel XSi (450D)

Posted by matt on May 2, 2008

So coming from someone who has owned every Canon Digital Rebel (Rebel, Rebel XT, Rebel XTi and now the Rebel XSi), I can easily say this is the best one yet! Canon has done a nice job making each upgrade worthwhile.

  • From Rebel to Rebel XT, it shrunk the body, better battery life, 6.3 - 8.0 MP and quite a bit faster picture-wise.
  • From Rebel XT to Rebel XTi, the sensor cleaner was added so this was a must have for me (I change lenses a lot and had dust issues) . Bigger LCD with easy readout and the 8.0 - 10.1MP bump was nice too.
  • From Rebel XTi to the Rebel XSi (the model # is a little puzzling…) you get auto ISO, live view, 10-12MP, improved sensor, better timer, etc. etc. Actually, I’m a little bummed they went from Compact Flash to SDHC as so far, the SDHC card I have is quite a bit slower since I shoot both Raw and large JPEGs (each picture racking up a whopping 15-20MB for the raw+jpg…) I think my card is really slow though, so I guess a new one is in order there.

Since I shoot stock, I’m always interested in (responsibly) upgrading my gear. Where you may have heard that “megapixels don’t matter”, in high-end camera gear they do. If I need to crop an image but can still sell it at 8MP, then size does matter. If I’m starting with a 8MP file and need to crop, I might get a size not usable by stock agencies (or I’ll end up getting less $ since the size is smaller).

Why pick the XSi? Well I have a bunch of nice Canon lenses, so I’m not switching camps there. Where I’d like to get the Canon 5D, I’m not quite there yet budget-wise. With the good resale I get for the older rebels, my upgrades have been fairly inexpensive (I actually profited on one of my upgrades since I bought a nice lens off of eBay and resold it for more than I paid). The 40D is tempting, but the features and size it brings isn’t worth it for me. As far as I’m concerned, the XSi has leaped-frogged the 40D and is actually about $500 cheaper. Here are the quick pictures from my unbox:

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I might do a full review, but there are tons of these already online probably as good as I could do or better. I’d rather take pictures with it!

I highly recommend getting the Canon Rebel XSi though, or even the Rebel XTi if you want to save a little coin.

Popularity: 8% [?]

Posted under Unbox, reviews, tech gadgets

Unbox Gadget Review: Popcorn Hour A-100

Posted by matt on March 23, 2008

Okay, so the name is wack, but I’m hoping this device lives up to what it looks like it can do. I just got this, so this initial post is just some pictures.

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So what the hell is this “Popcorn Hour“? Well, what isn’t it might be a better answer! I would describe this as what Apple TV should be. A device to hook to your TV that can stream devices from a variety of sources (including watching YouTube easily on your TV), in almost every format (unlike Apple TV), and also acts as a NAS, and you can even plug in thumb drives w/ content on them! (full specs here) It even has Bittorent built in! Pop in a 750GB hard drive, and you’d be set for probably 2 years of entertainment.

Note the ports–component, composite and HDMI (cable included, which is rare). Funny though, no composite or audio cables included. They properly presume you have a ton of them lying around already. No wireless on this, so you need a network connection near by or some HomePlug. Popping it open, interesting to see… not much in there! Room for the IDE hard drive and the power is all in the chip.

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Remote is also decent as well–quite a step up from my MediaGate.

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Right now, I haven’t even hooked it up yet, so hopefully this review isn’t too premature…but if it is anything like the MediaGate devices I have, then this thing should rock. Also note, that I had to join their list just to get this thing… the availability is quite limited right now.

Look for a full review soon!

Matt’s Popcorn Hour Articles:

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Posted under Popcorn Hour, Unbox, reviews, tech gadgets

Unbox Gadget Review: One Laptop Per Child (OLPC)

Posted by matt on March 23, 2008

Last fall, I found out about the OLPC and after seeing the 60 minutes special, I was hooked on the prospect of the idea. The fact of giving this technology can have quite a tipping point effect; one that came to mind was the Sinclair ZX80 that spawned a generation of hackers in the 1980’s in Great Britain.

Last Christmas, I decided to donate a laptop, and at the time, you had the option to also purchase a second one for yourself. Intrigued, I bit the bullet and got one for me. It arrived last week:

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olpc-size.jpg

Note the minimalist packaging. I’m not exactly sure what I’ll do with it, but it is a pretty amazing piece of technology so far (for the price). Opera is the default browser which was a bit of a pain (i.e. no flash worked natively) but I did get firefox on it. It is also tricky to get hooked up to your network if you run WPA for your wireless. The screen is visible in bright daylight–remarkable! I wish my eeepc had that.

Fun to mess around with though, and if you were a kid, it would be a great learning tool. I’m hoping it becomes more readily available here in the states.

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Posted under Unbox, reviews, tech gadgets