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Vivadi MediaMaster MM320 Media Server - Vivadi MediaMaster MM320 Media server

By Danny Phillips

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

It’s a very versatile system that offers a vast array of playback options for music, movie and TV viewing – for the latter, the unit acts as a PVR and lets you watch one channel while recording another or pause live TV. The Recorded TV menu lists your programmes in a horizontal row, with thumbnails and a full programme synopsis below the highlighted recording.

The EPG meanwhile uses a straightforward grid with the synopsis below it, making it very easy to find the desired programme. It’s not immediately clear how to jump forward or back 24 hours – on-screen instructions are few and far between – but you’ll soon figure it out.

Under My Movies, you’ll find the Copy Disc option, which allows you to rip DVDs and Blu-ray discs to the hard-disk, but to circumvent thorny copyright issues the MM320 does not come with the necessary SlySoft AnyDVD software installed. Instead Vivadi errs on the side of caution and leaves this to the reseller or the end user to load, which is legal provided they already own the disc and copy it for personal use only. The MM320 has all the links in place so that the software will integrate with the software when it’s installed. The AnyDVD software will set you back £59.

However, our sample came with the software installed and we tried ripping a DVD and a Blu-ray disc. Understandably it’s not a quick process (BD takes well over an hour), but you can carry out other tasks as it copies – a small dialogue box lets you know when it’s done. What’s more, the quality of the resulting rip is excellent. If using the MM320 as part of a multi-room system (as was the case when we reviewed Vivadi’s multi-room system) you’ll probably rip movies to the main server and access them remotely.

For Blu-ray and DVD playback, the unit runs ArcSoft’s TotalMedia Theater 3 software, which provides an excellent, intuitive user interface. It supports BD Live (in fact it was the first PC software to be certified for BD Live playback) and BonusView, plus it offers 1080/24p output and DVD upscaling to 1080p. However, due to licensing restrictions placed upon PCs it can’t output Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio bit-streams via HDMI. Instead it converts the signals to PCM, which should produce the same sound quality as the bitstream method. If bit-stream output is a must, then Vivadi’s MediaMaster Pro does support it thanks to its high performance sound card.

Simon Heather

April 9, 2010, 8:48 pm

"which is legal provided they already own the disc and copy it for personal use only"





In the UK you have no legal right to make a copy of a CD or DVD that you own. This applies as much to ripping a CD using iTunes and copying to your iPod as it does to a device like this that copies DVDs. It is a common fallacy that you have the right to make a personal backup - there is no such right under UK copyright law.

Ripsnorter

April 9, 2010, 10:00 pm

So even though this thing is still a lot more expensive than PCs and standalone Blu-ray players it's actually a bit of a bargain because it's cheaper than its even more stupidly expensive rivals? R-i-g-h-t.

beardybuck

April 9, 2010, 11:46 pm

PS3 anyone?

GaryRW

April 11, 2010, 12:06 pm

I have to say I don't think this review lives up to the usual Trusted Reviews quality. Part of this is down to the product being reviewed. This is to all intents and purposes a £1300 desktop pc, pre set up to be used as a media centre.





I do not underestimate the problems there can be setting up a media centre pc - you only have to look at the HTPC sub-forum on avforums to see the difficulties involved. However, I set up a home pc for no more than £500 (I lost count in the end, as I bought bits one by one). No blu-ray drive and no total media theater included, so add another £200 at most. Although the case looks a media-type box (though not really to my taste), it's obviously fairly bog standard pc size at a depth of 40cm+ (took me a long time to find a case that was only 34cm deep). So you're not paying for the small size. I just struggle to see how you get to £1300! Only 2gb of ram as well for that as well! I am surprised that this value gap was not even hinted at in the review, let alone a clear statement saying that you are paying (well) over the odds for the (presumably) ease of set-up factor.





& moving on to the review itself, we are not told now what the dual core 3ghz processor actually is. AMD, Intel? Core i3, C2D, Athlon? There can be a big difference in performance between them. What graphics does it come with - important as it would usually be the graphics doing the video processing. OK, the people paying £1300 for this box are probably exactly the type of people who will not care what type of graphics it is using under the hood. But if it is a pure consumer, non tech review then shouldn't there have been more focus on whether it was a true out of the box experience or not to explain whether the £1300 is worth it? Even on an entirely not-techy type level, I am very surprised that with a media pc, there is no mention of how loud the box is in daily use (apologies if this is mentioned and I missed it). My box would have been even cheaper if I had gone with standard pc bits rather than angling towards low power/noise.





A fair proportion of the review seems to be reviewing WMC and mentioning standard features of windows media center rather than the box itself. Which is fine if people are not used to or have no knowledge of WMC, but I think it could have been much clearer what are standard features and what is different about this product. The only bit mentioned that did not sound default to me was the rip dvd/blu ray option. In fact, from the description, that sounds like the copy disc option you get with the "my movies" plugin (http://www.mymovies.dk) Is that the software being used? or is it something more that Vivadi have done? Just how much customisation do you get for £1300?





Oh, and all the other media player reviews on Trusted Reviews I have seen explain what file types it can play. Again, that detail is just not here. (Obviously WMC's *default* out of the box support for non MS filetypes is not that good)





I think my issue with the review is that, at the end of the review, I have no real idea what it is that I'd actually be buying. And personally, I would have pointed out that it is possible to set up this kind of box much cheaper if you have a bit of time and you know how to use google.

GaryRW

April 11, 2010, 12:11 pm

I've just read the MediaMaster Pro review - looks like it's using the same Silverstone GD04 case I used for my home build HTPC!

Keithe6e

April 12, 2010, 2:39 pm

@Simon Heather: In the UK you have no legal right to make a copy of a CD or DVD that you own.





True, governments and there back handers have always been good at taking away consumer rights. And if the law doesn't fit too make our "back hander" sponsors happy, lets amend it.





I'm sorry people, democracy as we know it is slowly been drip fed away. Unless your one of the super rich and have money to pay a scumbag politician there is little you can do about it. It's unfortunate human nature is this way, and in the past the only solution was revolutions, but that's not going to happen.

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