Vivadi Multi-Room Media Server System - Vivadi Multi-Room System

By Danny Phillips



Our Score:


However, the Vivadi’s picture quality is superb. We watched Lost In Translation – ripped onto the MS104’s hard-disk from DVD and stored in the My Movies library – on a Pioneer KURO plasma. The image was upscaled to 1080p by SimHD, which is part of ArcSoft Total MediaTheatre 3, the software used to play movies.

SimHD features a comparison mode that displays non-upscaled pictures on the left and upscaled pictures on the right, and you can definitely see the improvements. The shadows and features on Bill Murray’s face in the 1080p pictures look much crisper and clearly defined, without any signs of jaggies or other upscaling artefacts.


Blu-ray discs ripped to the hard-disk look equally impressive. Hitch is displayed with smooth natural colours and excellent detail insight. We also loaded up the Blu-ray version of The Dark Knight on the local MediaMaster client and it looked fantastic, eking out every last scrap of detail and giving the large scale IMAX scenes the sort of depth and three-dimensionality that you’d expect from a good-quality standalone player.

The only bum note was with our Silicon Optix HQV DVD, which we ripped to the hard-disk and played back at 1080p. The results weren’t particularly impressive – the jaggies test exhibits significant juddering and stepping on the rotating bar and flag tests. It had similar problems with the diagonal filtering test on the Blu-ray HQV disc, displaying prominent stepping on the rotating edges.

MediaMaster client

These shortcomings certainly aren’t a deal-breaker, given that it doesn’t appear to have much of an impact on real-world movie viewing, but it doesn’t instil complete confidence in the quality of the onboard video processing.

On the plus side, the Vivadi coped admirably with the Film Resolution Loss test, smoothly reproducing the pan across Raymond James stadium and keeping the upper tier of seats looking sharp and steady.

Wireless keyboard

It’s also worth noting that the MediaMasters can be used as regular PCs, a role they carry out brilliantly – for that purpose you get an easy-to-use wireless keyboard.

Other nifty features include the ability to access the unit from anywhere in the world over a standard broadband connection, plus the MediaServer will automatically backup your content on a daily basis – including content stored on all connected MediaMasters and even laptops or desktop PCs if required – which will allow full recovery in the event of a hard drive failure.


Vivadi’s components lack the panache and sophistication of pricier products from the multi-room big boys, and there are one or two operational and picture hiccups, but Vivadi’s system gets it right where it matters, providing a slick, quick and reliable way of sharing content around the house for a relatively reasonable price.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Performance 8
  • Value 8
  • Features 9
  • Design 7


December 4, 2009, 6:46 pm

Hmmn - seems like an awful lot of money for what seems to be a windows media centre and free software you get with a £100 bluray drive. Also £700 for 2TB of storage is Dick Turpin rates...

Costs aside... I’d challenge their claim that the MediaMaster Pro offers “full support for HD audio formats”

I cannot see a discrete sound card on the rear of the box. I thought the Asus Xonar HDMI and Auzentech HD sound cards were the ONLY way to bitstream proprietary HD audio on a pc.

The HDMI port on the motherboard can output 5.1PCM but that’s not the same thing...


December 4, 2009, 7:09 pm

Am I right in thinking this is basically a file server with some network attached media centre PC's?

Danny P

December 4, 2009, 7:14 pm

To be fair that is a prototype version pictured so the finished product may well have one of the sound cards you mentioned. As for costs, it might still sound expensive but I was putting it in the context of other AV multiroom systems.


December 4, 2009, 7:42 pm

Cant the newer Radeon Cards do 7.1 LPCM, which is far as I know is the best sound format. I suppose they would support everything else as well so maybe the sound is through the graphics card?


December 4, 2009, 8:56 pm

Alan - my apologies you are correct. The latest 59XX series does do HD bitstreaming.

Which is good news for me as I need a good soundcard and getting a 59XX series may end up cheaper than buying a Xonar...


December 4, 2009, 9:16 pm

..."allowing you to take that unwieldy disc collection to the charity shop."

Sorry to be a bit of a pedant here, but as I understand it, you're only allowed to make 'backup copies' of copyrighted media if you own the original? I imagine that would preclude giving the original discs to the charity shop! Unless TR are condoning software piracy? ;o)


December 4, 2009, 9:51 pm

I guess one of these makes it easy to rip all your DVDs and blurays (put in and click rip) easily whereas if you were to build your own it's pretty complex going through all the file formats and codecs


December 4, 2009, 11:44 pm

Probably just me, but I can't see the point.

A 4TB media PC in a stunning case, whisper quiet, etc with Windows 7 Media Centre and My Movies (free) costs a fraction of a fraction of the price here.

So is this really that much better?

Somehow I doubt it.

Please prove me wrong.


December 5, 2009, 4:41 am


As the author stated, this is in the context of multi-room AV systems which are extortionately expensive. Sure you can build your own but if you have the money, this is an easy option imho. Saying that, I use my old xbox + XBMC and/or my Xbox360 for my streaming needs...convenience > quality.

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