Need to buy a gift for somebody who loves technology but you can’t afford the big ticket items?
- Wide format support, lots of inputs/outputs
- No support for a secondary level sub or files over 2 gigabytes
A media receiver, amplifier and radio tuner-in-one that's ideal for high-end home theatre installations. Although priced higher than standard media streamers, it clearly offers a whole lot more.
Price$ 1,699.00 (AUD)
With computer vendors targeting the lounge room, it wasn't going to be too long until home theatre vendors hit back with their own products addressing the digital lifestyle trend.
Kenwood's flagship VRS-N8100 control centre is one such product, combining top-notch streaming media receiver, amplifier and radio tuner capabilities in one solidly constructed, stylish and well-specified set-top unit. A built-in 10/100Mbps Ethernet interface allows for networking to multiple PCs running Kenwood's PC Server software either directly using a cross over Ethernet cable or using your own wired or 802.11g wireless network hub. Although the firmware upgradeable Sigma EM8550 processor handles a vast amount of formats, WMV (Windows Media Video) isn't amongst them. Out of the box, there is support for MPEG-1, MPEG-2, DivX (version 3-5) and XviD video files; MPEG 1 audio (including MP3), WMA, WAV and OGG (Vorbis) music files plus JPEG, BMP, GIF and PNG image files for slideshows.
An integrated PC Card slot means that JPEG images can also be read from a third-party PC Card media reader - great for digital camera buffs. A "Dual Source" function allows one person to listen to music through the main speakers, while someone else watches/listens to a second source though headphones (complete with Dolby headphone 5.1 processing). The "Supreme" function (enabled by a 32-bit ADI SHARC DSP processor) also stands-out as effectively, it re-creates high-end frequencies lost through MP3, WMA and OGG audio compression . The VRS-N8100 has a huge provision of inputs and outputs catering for pretty much every setup imaginable - see Kenwood's Web site for a full listing. Put simply, S-Video, component and composite video plus S/PDIF, optical and RCA stereo audio-ins and outs are all included - more than once in most cases. Two assignable high definition-compatible component inputs will be a blessing for those with quite a few component-out devices.
Features for console gamers include a front panel composite input, automatic "game mode" surround sound/EQ switching and the remote control is pre-programmed for your PlayStation2 and Xbox, but can also be programmed to operate other gear like a DVD player or VCR. As a 600 Watt (100W per channel) digital amplifier, the VRS-N8100 can turn standard stereo signals into 6.1-channel surround and support a range of high-end Dolby, DTS and "Active EQ" modes. Speaker configurations up to 6.1 can be attached and you can also choose to use a dedicated, amplified sub-woofer. In use, both the informative built-in four-line display and on-TV graphical interface are easy to use, once you get your head around the remote. The server software connection was straightforward (once we discovered Windows' firewall was misbehaving) and sorting our media into the software's relevant folders was a snap. We noticed small limitations like no support for second level sub directories or file sizes over 2GB and the fact that all images are converted to JPEGs when imported into the library. These small niggles aside, we were suitably impressed.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo A5X review: A winning blend of long battery, solid performance and low-price
- 2 Huawei FreeBuds review: Solid as a value-add, less so standalone
- 3 HP Omen 15 (2018): Full, in-depth review
- 4 HP Envy x360 13 (Ryzen): Full, in-depth review
- 5 Oppo Find X review: Damn.
Latest News Articles
- Amazon bolster Australian Echo lineup with Echo Show and Echo Sub
- Panasonic releases DP-UB9000 Blu-ray player
- Foxtel updates Foxtel GO
- LG's 2018 TVs get smarter from today with Google Assistant and Alexa support
- HomePod to get new Siri Shortcuts, phone calls, and other Siri features in upcoming update
PCW Evaluation Team
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.
Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category
The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
- Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Oppo Find X: Full, in-depth review
- Hands on with Huawei's Mate 20 Pro
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?