If none of these models quite satisfy your needs, then Vivadi also offers the MediaMaster Pro, a high-end model with a choice of hard-disk capacities from 1 to 6TB and a Blu-ray drive with full support for HD audio formats. Naturally it also boasts far superior build quality to the cheaper models, and is dressed in a gorgeous brushed aluminium black or silver enclosure, although at 170mm tall you’ll have to clear some space in your AV rack. If you’re putting together a multi-room system, this unit might be overkill given its whopping price tag (between £2k and £4k, depending on HDD size) and the huge capacity inside the MediaServer, but as a standalone unit it’s a pretty formidable proposition.
TrustedReviews was invited to Vivadi Swindon HQ to check out a multi-room demo system it had rigged up. The system comprised one MS104 server and MediaMaster clients in two different rooms, all connected using standard CAT5 cables (you can connect up to 20 MediaMasters).
We’re pleased to report that it’s a speedy system that works without any glitches, as far as we could tell. All of your content is accessed through the well-known Windows Media Center software, which not only looks good but also makes everything easy to find. If you’re not already familiar with this software, it allows you to access all of your content (live and recorded TV, ripped music and movies, photos) from its commendable menu system that uses bright, easy to follow graphics and smooth animations.
When watching TV, the 14-day EPG is superbly laid out into a grid format and shows seven channels at a time. The Recorded TV menu is also simple to follow and displays your programmes in a clever horizontal bar that shows a still thumbnail for each recording, plus a short synopsis below each one.
The rest of the onscreen layout is generally intuitive, apart from one or two brief moments of confusion where we couldn’t work out how to get back to the previous menu. But in operational terms, the remote poses the biggest problem – it sports three different circles of controls, which makes it very easy to press the wrong button. On several occasions we hit the key that takes you back to the main Media Center menu instead of 'OK’, which became highly frustrating.