Whole-House Magic

Digital Eden's promise is that all of your music, photo, and video files would be available to you from any room in the house. Your TV would be a giant iPod-like screen, letting you scroll through your collection to find whatever strikes your mood.

A media server can transform your home into this digital paradise. Typically, a main server incorporates the storage, while a "client" remotely accesses your music or video over the home's wired or Wi-Fi network. (Currently, only wired networks are suitable for video streaming.)

What We Think
LE&AP DDen
Though it can't record TV shows, LE&AP's potential as a movie server and "value" pricing make it attractive for distributed A/V and music. Its music management needs improvement, but you'll love using this supercharged DVR to access TV recordings and your source components from any room.

With the digital genie out of his bottle, traditional A/V distribution models are being tossed out the window. Once music, photography, or video has undergone digital conversion, it's easily sorted, shared, and shifted to other places. And the media server takes center stage in this performance.

One very cool bonus servers bring to the garden is their upgradable software and firmware. This allows the manufacturer to improve operation and provide new features, typically through the server's regular Internet connection. What a breath of fresh air compared with the "buy a new box" obsolescence of most A/V components!

But if there's been one serpent in this digital Eden, it's been pricing that has placed media servers beyond many budgets. So when we discovered two new systems by Leviton and DigitalDeck had fallen from the tree at real-world prices, we had to take a bite!

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