Vivadi MM200 Media Server - Vivadi MM200 Media Server

John Archer

By John Archer

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

Vivadi is actually working on a version of the Media Server - the MM300 - with a built-in Blu-ray and HD DVD deck (apparently it's going through third-party codec checking right now, as Blu-ray is not currently part of the standard Vista spec). But for me, it just doesn't feel right for a product as otherwise home cinema savvy as the MM200 not to be better geared up for the HD age. After all, Blu-ray players are far from the megabucks bits of kit they used to be.

I should add here that I'm not necessarily saying that the MM200 should be able to rip Blu-rays to its HDD; such a process would require huge memory capacity and likely lead to a pretty enormous price hike. Lewis' MSB Series HD server system, for instance, costs the small matter of £23,000. But I certainly feel that basic Blu-ray playback and HD loop-through would have been nice.

Leaving our HD obsession behind for a while, it's high time we tried to get more of a handle on just what the MM200 CAN do. Which is actually a heck of a lot; starting with its abilities as an AV server. No sooner has a DVD or CD been popped into the MM200's tray, it asks you if you want to burn the contents of the disc to the built-in 1TB HDD - a storage task it handles reasonably quickly and very effectively, storing all the extra features and menu structures on DVDs as well as the film itself.

If you're hooked up to the internet the M200 will also look up details on the film or music disc you've just put in, and add any data it finds - cover art, synopsis, track listing, etc - to the ‘profile' for each new additional element on its hard disk.

The MM200 is also, as we said earlier, a fully-functioning PVR. What's more, it should be a good one, since when recording digital Freeview broadcasts it actually stores the incoming digital broadcast stream rather than putting it through any potentially quality-reducing analogue conversion process. It's a boon, too, to find the MM200 offering a 14-day electronic programme guide where such ‘long-range forecasting' is supported by channels, rather than the 8-day effort found on most standard PVR machines.

Next, the MM200 is nothing short of exemplary when it comes to accessing, storing and playing back multimedia files - as you'd expect of a device that's arguably more of a Windows Vista PC than a straightforward AV player. It handles devices attached to all of its multimedia inputs expertly (it took us an eternity to scrape together enough USB, Firewire and memory cards to fill even the majority of the available slots simultaneously!), and plays back all file types that one can reasonably expect with zero fuss.

MarioM

January 12, 2009, 4:32 pm

Blimey, this is so *nearly there*... but what it needs is that little push to make it worth more than the sum of its parts. Can you put a price on reducing the number of boxes and remotes?

timple

January 12, 2009, 4:44 pm

It looks fantastic - you didn't mention anything about fan noise though. How hot/ noisy does it get?





Will Apple now wake up and put a freeview PVR on to the Mac Mini?

timple

January 12, 2009, 5:20 pm

Can you provide the full PC specs in the feature table (processor, memory, graphics card) etc so we can compare value with a standard media pc?

Edlem

January 12, 2009, 7:02 pm

Seeing as this is called a media server, why does the review not even mention how well it streams audio/media?

Keithe6e

January 12, 2009, 7:58 pm

Nice review, but like mentioned above does seem to be missing some basic specs. eg. How many Tuners does this have, if it was just a single then that would be a real shame. Whats the GFX card, if its a Gefore 8 series and above, the purevideo decoder gives some really nice up-scaling.

Jay Werfalli

January 12, 2009, 10:14 pm

To answer your questions, John has asked Vivadi for more details on the processor and graphics card so we'll update the spec table as soon as it arrives.





John also states in the review that the MM200 is 'nothing short of exemplary when it comes to accessing, storing and playing back multimedia files' - a comment intended to cover its streaming capabilities. Apologies if this wasn't obvious enough.





It has two Freeview tuners.





And finally, regarding fan noise, while the MM200 runs very noisily for a few seconds when you first turn it on, it calms down to ultimately not being substantially noisier than a Sky HD receiver. It's certainly no Xbox 360, at any rate...

GherkingTR

January 13, 2009, 12:09 am

Hmmm, looks like one of Hiper's HTPC cases, but rebranded. Oh wait, it is!





I built an earlier model for a friend, and would do it again in a second if I had the cash to replace my old shuttle system. Beware of that top vent though, the one I built died after whisky seeped through and met with the motherboard.


Incredibly cramped and tricky to put together, so a ready-built unit is ideal!


Great review, I think this is the closest any chassis has come to fitting into the living room alongside dvd players.

GaryRW

January 13, 2009, 2:17 am

Strange - was only saying to a mate yesterday that I thought we'd be seeing dvd player sized (well, ish....) computer/media player/freeview box/pvr/everything soon.





I reckon these will be very popular, very quickly. Now if windows 7 media center ups the ante, then could be on a winner. (Wonder how well the new windows version of XBMC would work on this...)

Edlem

January 13, 2009, 1:52 pm

"John also states in the review that the MM200 is 'nothing short of exemplary when it comes to accessing, storing and playing back multimedia files' - a comment intended to cover its streaming capabilities. Apologies if this wasn't obvious enough."





Not so much a case of how obvious the statement was, more that it wasn't very meaningful. It'd have been useful to know for instance what media was streamed (audio, video, hd?) and how (wifi or wired, what receiver was used, etc).





This may well be a fantastic piece of kit you could use as a media server to provide content to your whole house, or it might just be a reasonably nice windows Media Centre box like a number of others. Right now, I've not got a scooby which it is.

timple

January 13, 2009, 3:44 pm

@GaryRw





I've had the same feeling too - but it may not be windows pcs under the tellys - many of the top end PVRs just need iplayer, web function and they are there as well.





Alternatively Sony will do the obvious (or smart) thing and incorporate the PVR function they currently sell as an add-on for the PS3 into the next hardware revision of the PS3 (and hopefully make it look more like a DVD player but with the build quality of the current ps3).





Also Apple could do something more bold with the Mac Mini.





2009 will be the year of the integrated box!

andychamb

January 13, 2009, 7:00 pm

Yep, definately a Hiper Media Centre. I should know I have one under my TV. I built it for about 𧹈 18 months ago using cheapish components with a 250Gb HD. Works great, was quite tricky to build but I managed it even with my sausage fingers! Nice looking, nobody ever guesses its a PC and its not much louder than my Sky HD Box as mentioned above.

Jay Werfalli

January 14, 2009, 4:58 pm

*Update*





The processor used in this case is a dual core AMD 4850e (2 x 2.5GHz). In other models, a 5050e (2 x 2.6GHz).





The graphics sub system is based on an ATI Radeon X1250.

alex novotny

January 15, 2009, 3:50 pm

If I bought this unit in the UK could I use it in Spain? Here we have TDT. Can someone help please?

Moko Donovan

March 30, 2009, 6:22 pm

can i use this in nigeria? how many tvs can i connect this unit to, or how many vivadi mm 200 can serve over a hundred tvs

eduardo alvarado

October 9, 2009, 8:07 pm

where can I buy this in USA preferable??? And if not possible I understand, please let me know wherever anyway.

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