The MM320 isn’t quite as happy with the tricky video tests found on the Silicon Optix Blu-ray evaluation disc. The juddering movement and stepping along the edges of the moving diagonal bars constitutes a failure, as do the violently flickering boxes on the Film Resolution Loss test pattern. Although this clearly doesn’t have much of a bearing on Blu-ray playback, it does confirm that the onboard processing isn’t up to the same standard as many of the latest Blu-ray decks on the market.
Next we loaded a DVD and used TotalMedia Theater 3’s SimHD feature to upscale the picture to 1080p. Although the overall quality of DVD playback is flawed, with traces of smudgy mosquito noise surrounding moving objects, the quality of the upscaling is clear to see. The software includes a ‘before and after’ comparison mode and using this you can clearly make out the extra detail definition after the upscaling has been applied.
Sonically there were no problems when piping the PCM audio to our Onkyo amp and Teufel speakers – Transformers 2’s DTS HD MA soundtrack is an absolute blast. However, when listening through our TV’s speakers there’s a disparity between different sources – when watching a DVD the sound is so quiet that we had to crank up the volume, only to be given a heart attack when switching to the much louder volume of live TV.
Although the MM320’s price tag might seem steep compared with a desktop PC or standalone Blu-ray/DVD deck, it’s actually a great deal cheaper than the rival multi-room media centres with which it’s designed to compete. It’s lovely to look at and throws a terrific array of home cinema functions, a fully-fledged Windows 7 PC and a massive hard-disk into the bargain – and thanks to Windows Media Center the operating experience is a pleasure. Yes, performance is slightly flawed and the remote is a tad confusing, but neither of these things greatly detracts from the overall quality of this impressive home entertainment hub.