What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Tue, 10 Mar 2009, 11:00am

Vivadi MM200

Tested at £780
80100
4

If usability and styling issues have put you off PCs in the past, this might be the one for you

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For

  • Superb styling
  • excellent movie library integration
  • twin tuners
  • massive hard drive
  • very decent pictures and sound

Against

  • Video is a bit soft
  • music lacks punch and dynamics

Vivadi seems to know what a home cinema consumer wants from a media centre PC: it has to be aesthetically lounge-friendly, sonically and visually accomplished, fuss-free to use and heavily-laden with features. And the MM200 delivers on almost every single count.

Thanks to its size and stylish design, this PC could be genuinely mistaken for a DVD player. But it's so much more than that: when you pop a disc in, the ‘My Movies' application prompts you to rip your film to the unit's capacious 1 Terabyte hard drive.

My Movies is also good enough to automatically add artwork, synopsis and cast and crew details to your rips, and keeps your burgeoning virtual DVD library very nicely organised.

Software is well integrated
Of course, we've seen ripping software before, but it's very rarely as well integrated into Media Center as it is here.

In fact, you never really need to leave Media Center at all, but if you do want to do some web browsing or word processing, just close Media Center, exchange the remote for the wireless keyboard, and you've got a standard Windows Vista PC.

And the Vivadi proves a capable media player, offering natural, balanced and fairly detailed pictures, while a Windows Media Lossless copy of Adele's Daydreamer sounds refined, weighty and clear.

Performance vs features
However, there are compromises in performance. Even a sub-£100 DVD player will deliver sharper pictures and a more dynamic sound, which is a problem, even given the huge list of facilities the Vivadi offers over such a player.

But factor in the twin, recording Freeview tuners, a huge HDD, integrated ripping and superb styling, and you can see what's so appealing about the Vivadi MM200.

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