Lewis MSB Series Home Theatre Server System Review - Lewis MSB Series Review

As you might anticipate given the data-heavy demands of ripping HD movie discs in their entirety to hard disk drives, the MSB4800 and MSB9000 storage/server workhorses provide pretty vast amounts of HDD space: 4.8 terabytes in the case of the £14,500 MSB4800, and a stonking 9 terabytes in the case of the £17,000 MSB9000.

This is enough, according to Lewis’s calculations, to store 160 HD DVDs or Blu-rays, 685 DVDs or 8,000 CDs on the MSB4800, or 300 HD DVDs/Blu-rays, 1,285 DVDs ad 15,000 CDs on the MSB9000. And don’t forget that we’re talking here about completely lossless storage; there’s none of your crappy compression going on. Kind of puts your 8GB iPod into perspective, doesn’t it?!

Technophobes among you might be wondering at this point about what happens if these storage units ‘crash’. You’d lose all of your data, right? Wrong. For each of the servers’ huge capacity is built using 12 separate drive units, configured using a system known as ‘raid six’ whereby two of the drives can fail before there’s even a concern about your stored files being affected.

One final piece of pertinent information you should know about the MSB Series is the amount of time it takes to rip discs to the HDD. With Blu-ray’s and HD DVDs you’re looking at around 90 minutes per film, while standard DVDs will take around 30 minutes.

This, clearly, is a little longer than a similar operation might take on a single drive system. But don’t forget that as well as copying the HD discs in their entirety, menus and all, the MSB Series are also storing each film across 12 drives for total protection against hardware failure.

We should make it clear at this point that the Lewis system is built around an exceptionally powerful PC system, driven by Windows Vista. Which is actually pretty great news, of course, since it means you’ve also got access to more or less all the same features you’d expect of a normal PC, only accessed via a far simpler, remote control-driven user interface. Surfing the Internet, storing digital photos, ripping your CDs to the hard drive along with your films, watching (and recording) digital TV and much more is also offered by the MSB Series courtesy of Windows Vista, making its HD disc ripping capabilities suddenly start to look like merely the icing on what is already a mighty flexible cake!

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