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Vivadi MediaMaster MM320 Media Server - Vivadi MediaMaster MM320 Media server

By Danny Phillips
Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score

8/10

Review Price free/subscription

Although this is technically a PC, it has the look and feel of an AV product. As such, everything can be controlled using a single remote (which communicates with the supplied Microsoft remote control receiver), but unfortunately this zapper lacks the practicality needed for a seamless operating experience.

It’s covered with small, fiddly buttons and as a result it feels cluttered, and it’s also easy to hit the large Media Center button instead of the OK key, which can be annoying. On the plus side, the menu controls are sensibly placed right in the middle with volume/channel buttons on either side, and all the functions (Videos, Music, TV, DVD and so on) have dedicated buttons, making it incredibly simple to jump straight to your desired content.

Exit Media Center and you can use the MM320 as a regular PC, and enjoy all the functionality offered by Windows 7 – Internet, e-mail, word processing, games, that sort of thing. For that purpose you get a wireless KeySonic keyboard in the box. But obviously we’re more interested in the home cinema side and on that score the MM320 is an impressive performer.

Starting with Blu-ray, we loaded up Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and the unit delivers the disc’s abundant detail and comic-book colours with aplomb. The tiny moving parts of the transforming CG robots are revealed in all their gleaming glory, while human faces look utterly convincing. The picture is punchy, sparklingly sharp and natural, plus the unit tracks the frenetic action without any obvious artefacts or judder.

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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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