Sony's new Blu-ray enabled home media server

Sony’s new Blu-ray enabled home media server

While it seems that Blu-ray and HD DVD spent up their ammunition at IFA in Berlin, Sony did bring one brand new product out at CEDIA in Denver. The HES-V1000 Home Entertainment Server is Sony’s top of the line 200 disc Blu-ray Disc Home Server featuring a 500GB hard drive to store music, movies and photos. I received a lot of information about the HES-V1000 yesterday and I’ve got to say, this thing is impressive.

HES-V1000 frontSony seems to think the future of the home is in consolidated packages. The Playstation 3 is one example of including every home entertainment source into one box (with the upcoming DVR functionality anyway). The HES-V1000 is a huge step above that, however, with a 200 disc Blu-ray megachanger that has one touch content import to the 500GB hard drive. You can also upload quickly from your PC any video, music or photo you’d like. The HES-V1000 is a DLNA device, so you can access content from other DLNA devices (like your laptop), and you can use your PS3 as a media extender in other rooms of the house (and from that to your PSP at Starbucks). The HES-V1000 can act as the media hub for whole house audio/video integration. Sony’s Linux-based XMB (Cross Media Bar) menu system is utilized here, just as it is in all the new HDTVs, PS3, PSP an receivers. It’s an elegant and functional way to get to the content you have, as well as manage settings.

Cross Media Bar (XMB)Working in the custom install (CEDIA) industry, I immediately think of how this can work in a custom home. Every room of the house can have a TV on the wall and it can be sourced with a PS3 and use the Bluetooth remote to control the whole system while the HES-V1000 is in a closet somewhere supplying all the media you own to every room of the house. No programming required! With the added PSP functionality, it’s like adding a Slingbox to the mix. It does support 1080p/60 HDMI output for the Blu-ray Discs and features an IR input for custom installation.

CPF-IX001To go along with this whole-house integration is the new CPF-IX001 wireless PC audio system. This DLNA device is a slim speaker system with WiFi that allows you to access audio from the HES-V1000 or other DLNA devices in other rooms of the house wirelessly. The HES-V1000 has four streams of audio out to facilitate these nifty devices, and even has a party mode.

HES-V1000 topAnother breakthrough feature is the ability to backup your files to 25GB single-layer BD-R/REs. With 137 hours of video, 40,000 songs (2,000 CDs) or 20,000 pictures, the 500GB drive should be large enough for most people. The Blu-ray media is not stored on the hard drive, but unencrypted DVDs, CDs, MP3s and photos are all supported. Four memory card slots (Memory Stick, SD, xD and CF) for importing images from your camera are included on the unit. A pop-up slot also allows you to import from HDV, DV via iLink, composite and s-video sources with audio. You can load up the 200 disc changer with all your CDs and hit one button, “import,” and the HES-V1000 will automatically rip all the CDs and gather meta data from AMG.

x-ApplicationsWhat do you do with all of this content? Use the x-Applications to scrapbook photos or create home videos. With x-ScrapBook you can chose a template or create your own to make a slide show of your last vacation, or your daughter’s birthday party – you’re only limited by your imagination. For video, x-Pict Story HD allows you to compile music and pictures for a snazzy presentation you can share.

The possibilities of this new device are virtually endless. It’s one of the more exciting products to appear at CEDIA by far. To make this whole package seem even more attractive is the price: $3,499 USD. That’s right, less than a lot of media servers with far less features. It will be available mid-October.

About Steven Kippel

Steven Kippel has worked as a systems designer for a leading high-end audio/video custom integrator in Southern California since 2003. He is responsible for researching new technologies and integrating them into existing systems and new construction projects. He has designed several high-profile systems for discriminating clients on the cutting-edge of technology. When he is not hard at work, Steven is spending time with his wife, playing with his band or promoting concerts and bands in the Inland Empire. His favorite bands include The Cure, U2, Eisley, Living Sacrifice and DragonForce.

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