Popcorn Hour vs. HTPC picture quality and flexibility.


Active Member
I'm not 100% satisfied with my 2 x Popcorn Hour C-200 and I'm currently considering switching to a HTPC.

I already have a i3 and looking towards XBMC/Boxee but my main concerns are the following:

1. Will I be able to get as good or better picture quality than C-200 if using i3 somehow? And if yes, how?

2. Will I easily get better picture quality if I switched to ATI Radeon 5xxx graphic card?
2a. If yes will I then be able to keep my power consumption nearly as low when buying a Radeon 5xxx graphic card as when only using the i3?


Distinguished Member
The C-200 has decent picture quality and I wouldn't expect a grapphics card to better that.
The only way to improve the picture quality is to get Blu-ray player that can handle the files you want to play.


I have not used a Popcorn hour (would like to) But just wonder about codec support, is it updated as frequently as ffdshow? Also is scaling as good as ffdshow resize? SD looks great to 1080p, ffdshow does a fantastic job. I'm using a HD 4xxx videocard, but 5xxx is ok, don't go any higher than £50 for a HTPC videocard.


Active Member
I want to use it for Blu-Ray, mkv, divx etc. C-200 can do that, but will I get just as good quality as the C-200?
And what should I choose in regards to video quality. i3 or ATI 5xxx?

The codec doesn't get updated as much as FFDShow but I couldn't earlier get as good quality as the popcorn on HTPC when I had the DG45ID Intel.


weird are you sure had resize selected? And adjusted settings in "video" settings. usually only need to adjust video brightness.

Don't get anything higher than ATI 55xx

Stephen Neal

Distinguished Member
Popcorn Hour uses a Sigma designs chip to handle its video and audio decoding - which is the same brand of chip used in many Blu-ray players.

The quality of Blu-ray folder replay is effectively identical to a reasonable Blu-ray player.

SD and interlaced content is scaled and de-interlaced - and the de-interlacing and scaling is OK. I wouldn't call it best in class - and software scaling algorithms on a PC may do a better job.

However the Popcorn Hour has a few tricks up its sleeve. Auto-refresh rate for instance. The PCH will select the best refresh rate based on the file being played - automatically switching between 24/50/60Hz as required. It also bitstreams Dolby True HD and DTS HD MA in some wrappers (not all)

I've not found a huge number of files it won't play - and the navigation within files is pretty good. There's a new UI just released as well - which has better artwork support.

I'm pretty impressed with the video and audio performance of mine - no major problems streaming DVD ISOs and Blu-ray Folders.


FFDSHOW can do auto refresh thing too, however not sure how the videocard drivers change automatically with it.

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