The future of home entertainment

Timothy Barber
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WHAT started with gramophones and wax records is going through its next great change. Media servers are the units with whopping hard drives onto which you can condense your music and film collections. They’ve been around for a bit, but only now are improved user interfaces and more streamlined designs making them a serious option for home entertainment systems. The possibilities they open up are tantalising, from playing different music in different rooms around your house to storing vast libraries of audio and video which can be managed by the touch of a finger. This is serious kit that generally needs to be installed by professionals, and how much you pay depends on how much storage capacity and add-on attributes you’re after. We look at the best media servers out there.

Sooloos server
From £6,743
Launching this month, this is a high-end, multiple-chassis take on the music server concept, with high build quality and an innovative touchscreen interface.

Mini System

Kaleidascape’s all-in-one media server can store up to 225 DVDs and 2,500 CDs, with top playback quality.

SoundServer S3000

Imerge pioneered the media server concept back in the 1990s. The S3000 packs everything into a single box unit which can deliver music to four zones at once.

Pronto TSU9800

Forget those old point-and-shoot remote controls. Multi-purpose touchscreen controllers are the future, and Philips’ Pronto systems are among the best out there.


From £5,723
The Qsonix server is set apart from its competitors by an excellent user interface, with a cool “drag and drop” control method. You can control four different sound zones, download music onto it, and – if you think it looks bland – you can order it built into its own vintage-style jukebox cabinet.

MediaServer MS1

From £5,507
Imerge’s flagship high-end server is the most advanced such unit available. If you’re prepared to pay upwards fo £10,000 you can store 800 hours of video or more.