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.
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