Great styling and usability, but the picture isn’t quite so sweet
Nice AV styling
integration of DVD ripping software
Picture isn’t good enough
poor keyboard and mouse
no TV tuner
Vivadi has made a computer that looks like a piece of home cinema kit. Other media centres from the likes of I.US are fairly stylish and compact, but they won't fool anyone into thinking they're a DVD player.
Turn it on, and the MM100 launches straight into Media Center. From here you can play a DVD or CD, view photos, or watch a video file. All very standard – but Vivadi has also pre-installed My Movies.
This software integrates with Media Center and allows you to rip DVDs directly to the 500GB hard disk (watch those copyright laws). Once stored these can all be accessed from the DVD library.
Sure, many media centres include DVD ripping software, but this is the first one we've seen that's so well integrated.
New 'board for surfing required…Many people will never close Media Center, but if you do fancy surfing the 'net or writing some emails, note that Vivadi has only included an extremely basic wired keyboard and mouse. If you want to navigate Vista and the web, you're going to need to buy a wireless keyboard separately.
More after the break
The cost-cutting also extends to the non-inclusion of a TV tuner. Vivadi argues that most buyers already have Freeview or Sky, and simply wouldn't use a built-in tuner – and they might be right.
Of more concern is the performance. Sonically, the Vivadi is balanced and punchy, but the DVD picture is a little soft, noisy and lacking in black depth. We were impressed with the MM100's design, usability and features, and were sincerely hoping the picture would be equally impressive, but the truth is that a decent £70 player will give it a run for its money.
Still, in many ways this is a great example of the direction media centres should be going and, fingers crossed, Vivadi will be back before long with a system that has a picture performance to match the styling and features. That's when rest of the PC crew should be really worried