Poppstar MP20R

In my eternal quest to find or build the perfect digital media player I've tried various approaches.

The requirements were many: It had to be cheap and capable of playing back any audio and/or video media stored on it. It must be controllable from the comfort of a sofa or a bed. It had to be connectible to a plain old analogue TV via SCART. It must be silent and have low power consumption.

Poppstar MP30R product picture

Quite a tall order, mind you.

A PC with a very long mouse cable running Windows + MPC-BE would've almost sufficed but the wife wouldn't hear of a computer in the lounge! (Little does she know that a smart TV is exactly that.)

There were no such gadgets as Chromecast, Fire TV, or Raspberry Pi; even Apple- and WD TV boxes demand HDMI. The old tube TV was a major obstacle.

Imagine my delight when a colleague handed me his Poppstar MP20R media player/recorder sometime during 2011. It had everything I needed, he said, you'll figure it out even without a user manual -- the only caveat being that the hard drive had to be FAT32-formatted (the 4GB file limitation wasn't expected to be a hindrance).

The Poppstar was tested and put into storage. I had plans for it.

Poppstar and accessories

Large views: Front | Rear + connectivity | Circuitry at bottom | Remote control

In June 2014 it was unpacked, fed with my digitised VHS collection and set up in the bedroom.

It was a nifty little device that played a slew of media formats (including H.264 but not DivX). It had an MS/SD/MMC card reader, supported two external devices via USB2, had analogue, HDMI and Ethernet/LAN connectivity, supposedly supported streaming from external sources such as a NAS, and it could be controlled remotely. It was a convenient little package, and it gave me more ideas.

Eventually I tired of an additional external device because, quite frankly, I may as well just copy the files onto a USB dongle and plug that straight into the TV which plays those same files natively. The Poppstar went back into storage in August 2014.

It's March 2017. Smart, modern TVs, tablets and XBMC devices have now made the Poppstar MP20R completely redundant, nor would it be able to compete with something more professional like a Popcorn Hour media jukebox.

It's been interesting -- but this Poppstar's going up on eBay.

This page last updated: 18-03-2017