Test Report: S1Digital ES400 and P250 Entertainment Server

Lots can happen in the A/V world over a 3-year span, but that same length of time is an eternity in the computer world, where changes take place almost daily. Any new A/V gear that you buy is likely to remain up to date for at least a few years, but it’s not unusual for a state-of-the-art computer to become a paperweight in almost no time.

When I reviewed S1Digital’s FX Edition Media Center nearly 3 years ago in the February/March 2008 issue, that system convinced me that the concept of a purpose- built PC in the living room had lots of merit. Since then, Blu-ray has replaced DVD as the preferred movie format, CableCARD tuners are now more widely used, and the much-maligned Windows Vista OS has been replaced by the (generally) well-received Windows 7. With the company offering a new system incorporating all of these changes, it seemed like time to revisit S1Digital.

My review system, part of the company’s Digital Entertainment Platform (DEP) series, consisted of an ES400 Entertainment Server (packing 4 terabytes) and a P250 Media Center Client powered by an Intel Core i3 processor running Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. Together, these components make for a potent duo — one capable of storing and distributing virtually all of your content, be it Blu-ray, DVD, HD-DVR recordings, music, digital photographs, or home videos. S1Digital’s system also has the unique ability to stream live TV across a home network.