Zappiti Serves Up Movies on the Cheap

Traditionally movie servers have not been affordable, let alone cheap. However the idea of converting all of your DVDs and Blu-ray discs to digital data that you can easily browse and access instantly and stream around the home is so compelling, that anytime I run across a new company in the movie server category, I have to stop and take a look.

When I saw the onscreen cover art in Zappiti’s booth I was intrigued. The company had four components lined up that certainly looked like they meant business. A large NAS drive with eight bays and an internal DVD/Blu-ray drive, along with three separate movie players. When I heard the prices, I was shocked!

The Zappiti system does everything you’d expect from a movie server. It identifies and imports bit-for-bit copies of both Blu-ray and DVD discs and then lets you sort your collection in a variety of ways by looking at disc cover art. It jumps past trailers and warnings straight to the film’s beginning. It also features some parental controls, letting you “hide” titles you don’t want visible to everyone. And it supports 3D and object-based audio formats such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. And the Zappiti movie players can pass through video in its native format or upscale it via a process called Zappiti MagicPixel to UHD (3840x2160) resolution.

But the shocking thing about Zappiti wasn’t how well it seemed to perform but how aggressively it was priced! The 8-bay NAS RIP with built-in Blu-ray and DVD drive retails for $2000. This doesn’t include any of the drives, which Zappiti recommends using Western Digital Red, with each bay capable of supporting up to a 10 TB drive. There are three different players which can stream from the NAS. The Zappiti Player 4K Mini retails for $249, the Zappiti Player 4K adds a single internal HDD slot and retails for $299, and the Zappiti Dual features two HDD slots and sells for $349.

The players with internal storage can’t stream to other players, and don’t have a drive to import content on their own. Further, while the product ships in Europe with the software required to break Blu-ray and DVD encryption, models purchased in the US require the owner to buy and install third party software such as RedFox AnyDVD HD.

For customers interested in managing their existing disc collections, Zappiti offered an incredible amount of bang for the buck and is worth looking into.

eugovector's picture

I feel bad for people that haven't discovered Plex, the media server software that plays audio and video in original bitrate. The server software works with common, inexpensive NAS devices or the computer you already own, and the clients can be a simple as a roku/chromecast/fire, or better yet, roll a $60 ODroid C2 for perfect quality and a fully customization interface. On screen cover art is child's play with Plex Skins.