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Lewis MSB Series Home Theatre Server System - Lewis MSB Series
Lewis claims that its files are ripped to its servers losslessly, and this seems borne out 100% by how they look and sound. Which is to say that they're pretty much perfect replicas of the original content.
And so if you upload an HD DVD to the servers, when it plays back its pictures will contain every pixel of fine detail information that the original disc did, every bit of colour subtlety, every immaculate edge, every drop of contrast… Really, it's amazing to behold.
There's possibly a tiny, tiny bit more stutter in horizontal motion at times when playing a film from the servers rather than direct from disc. But this is a pathetically minor point that you shouldn't even think twice about when you consider all the practical benefits the system is bringing you.
As for audio, the Dolby Digital or DTS 5.1 mix on any disc again emerges from the Multiroom units sounding every bit as pristine as it does if you play it direct from a Bu-ray or HD DVD player.
You do have to put up with a little fan noise from the multiroom player units, especially when watching HD. But then if you can afford this system in the first place, we're sure you can also afford to have the multiroom units tucked away somewhere nice and quiet.
Finally those Blu-ray and HD DVD menus that are so important to the MSB Series specification really do seem to work flawlessly. Our only gripe is that the system for accessing these menus isn't totally consistent; for instance, while pressing the remote control's DVD Menu button works for Blu-rays, for HD DVD you sometimes have to press the ‘up' or ‘right' arrow keys on the remote. But this isn't actually as big a deal as it sounds, we promise.
With high def TVs starting to find their way into more and more rooms of even pretty average households, providing a means of distributing HD all around our homes is becoming increasingly desirable. Plus, as the average AV fan's collections of film and CD discs grows and grows, having a one-stop location to store everything is also becoming an attractive prospect.
Cue the MSB Series, which satisfies these thoroughly modern needs more comprehensively and with more quality than any other solution we can currently think of. In other words, it's time to go and see how much money you've got tucked under your mattress!
* Each ‘MS Multiroom' receiver/player: £1,800
* MS3000HDB Blu-ray/HD DVD 7.1 Audio Media Center: £6,995
* MSB4800 4.8 Terabyte server: £14,500
* MSB9000 9 Terabyte server: £17,000
* 1.5U HD IMP HD DVD/Blu-ray movie importer: Free with MSB servers.