Vidabox make a great range of media servers and they sent me one of their LiivNAS system to take a look at. The device can be operated headless and just needs a network connection to make it work, you can then connect to it via remote desktop if you need to do anything on the server. The system has a Blu-ray drive that supports disc archiving, so you just pop open the tray, put in a disk and then the content will be available to stream on a range of clients. I put in a music CD and a few moments later the music is available to play on my Sonos, the same thing worked for my movies. Under the covers the server runs Window Home Server 2011 which does a great job of managing the drives and addins (like My Movies).
The server is feels very substantial and solidly made, it’s a serious quality piece of kit that you are going to be able to connect up and leave running without attention. It also has a nice stylish back finish so it looks good. As well as supporting up to 2TB there are two USB 3 ports and four USB 2 ports for adding extra storage.
One you have it connected up to your network you can access the content via a network share or UPnP/DLNA, as it powered by Windows it’s really easy to connect to from Windows devices. As well as the LiivNAS Vidabox sent me a Dune HD to consume the content from the server.
The Dune HD is a neat little media player that plays a ton of video formats and has plenty of output connections. Just as the server it’s very easy to get setup, I plugged in my network added the LivvNAS as a source and then I could browse the content via the remote. You have access to your movie collection with metadata and movie art work that looks great. One nice feature is a quick way of jumping to the start of a Bluray movie. So you get the option of going through the normal Bluray menu with all the pre-load videos or jumping straight to the start of the actual movie bypassing the other stuff. The startup time of Blurays is one of my pet hates and this gets around that problem.
In this video I setup the Vidabox LiivNAS, add some content to it and then try watching some movies via the Dune HD. In future videos I am going to look at other things I can do with the server.