CEPro: Julie Jacobson
· March 16, 2010
What do you get when you cross a media server and Internet storage with synchronization and home control? The Autonomic Mirage Media Server (MMS) from S1Digital.
The product builds on Autonomic’s Media Control System (MCS) technology, which merges multistream iTunes, Windows Media and Internet radio into a whole-house system that can be controlled by AMX, Crestron, RTI, URC and NuVo keypads and touchscreens.
“To that we added cloud awareness and began to realize that we have a new category of device,” Autonomic co-founder Michael de Nigris tells CE Pro.
The MMS, which has a 1 TB hard drive, automatically copies a user’s content to a secure, online digital locker where it can be accessed and shared with an iPhone, iPad, computer, TiVo, Wii, Playstation, Xbox or other streaming device.
Audio files also can be uploaded to the cloud from iTunes or other Internet sources.
The software, running XP Embedded, then enables multiple MMS devices to sync over the Internet.
“If you have a second home, just plug in a second Mirage server, give it an Internet connection, and within minutes your entire library is available to listen to, even if it’s hundreds of gigabytes,” de Nigris says.
The server catalogs the library titles from the cloud within seconds “then begins to trickle the content down to its local hard drive,” he says.
But who can wait for that, when you plug your shiny new MMS into your second home?
de Nigris says not to worry: “If a song is requested for playback before it’s been downloaded, Mirage will begin streaming the content while it simultaneously stores it to the hard drive.”
Plus, the MMS can stream content from a number of online sources such as Sirius/XM, Pandora and Internet radio. de Nigris says that other services such as LastFM and Spotify are planned in future firmware upgrades.
The five-source digital media server includes a video player with digital 7.1 audio and four independent analog stereo audio players for audio distribution. It supports iTunes, Windows Media, FLAC, WAV and other popular formats. Software is available for Macs and PCs to automatically keep iTunes and Media Player libraries synchronized with the server and online storage.
It’s All About Control
Synchronization is a nice feature. So is cloud-based access. But the secret is in the control – which is Autonomic’s last name.
Designed specifically for custom integrators, the MMS has two-way control modules for some of the most popular home automation systems including AMX, Crestron, Home Automation Inc. (HAI), Remote Technologies Inc. (RTI) and URC (formerly Universal Remote Control).
Imagine the possibilities, says de Nigris:
Users can schedule content like a Pandora station, a local Internet radio station or a playlist to play back in specified zones on predetermined schedules.
Say you like to listen to Bloomberg radio in the morning. The MMS can be programmed to tune to the Bloomberg Radio Internet station at 6 a.m. on weekdays, and stream the news to your bedroom and bathroom zones. At the same time, the system might message the control system to ramp up the lights and adjust the temperature.
If you change the schedule, the control system adjusts accordingly.
Locally, the system can be controlled via keypads or touchscreens from compatible home automation systems, not to mention iPhones, iPads and other generic devices.
Photos, but no Video ... Yet
The MMS does have a video output, but today it is used solely for on-screen display (OSD) information and photos.
“Now Playing” information can be viewed on a connected display, and photo slideshows can accompany the music. Or, users can be schedule slide shows – perfect for digital signage, de Nigris suggests.
He adds that firmware updates “later in the year” will allow Mirage to store and play back downloaded music videos, TV shows and movies – “and of course, all of it will be available anywhere life takes you.”
Pricing and Storage
The MMS is available immediately to custom installation professionals (sorry DIYers).
It retails for $3,995. Currently, S1Digital and Autonomic are partnering with mp3tunes for the online service, which is free for up to 2 GB and $40 per year for 50 GB and $140 for 200 GB.
de Nigris says Autonomic has plans to migrate to its own service.
How it Compares
Windows Home Server “is similar, but there’s no cloud storage and it’s not designed for an integrated environment.”
NuVo Technologies’ Music Port Server “has four sources [compared to five with MMS] but this shares a lot of functionality.”
Plus, there’s content scheduling and cloud-based synchronization.
ReQuest for a long time has offered NetSync synchronization for music servers in remote locations, and its servers are integration-friendly like the MMS. But it lacks the cloud component and some of the content integration capabilities of the MMS.
MMS Features & Specs
5 Players, Multiple Zones
7.1 Digital audio output for primary zone, plus four auxiliary stereo audio outputs.
Ditch the Dock
Free yourself from endless iPod dock hassles and provide an elegant solution to accessing shared iTunes libraries.
Designed for Integrators
Crestron, AMX, URC and RTI modules and touchpanel templates make integration fast and easy
Internet Media Services
Access Sirius/XM via broadband streaming radio, create customized audio programs with Pandora and listen to worldwide Internet streaming radio.
Automatically back up content to a private Internet data locker for multi-location synchronization and remote access to your media from computers and mobile devices.
Monitor hardware health, perform firmware updates and configure options remotely.
Pre-program and disseminate 24-hour scheduled content worldwide with a single
command. Create and schedule multiple audio, video*, and photo playlists. (* coming soon)
Built upon field-proven and industry-acclaimed MCS technology.
• High-definition media server with five discreet digital music players and one video output
• On-screen display depicts now playing information and photo slideshows
• Sirius/XM broadband tuners
• Customized Internet radio programming with Pandora
• Internet radio streaming
• Internet-based remote configuration and media synchronization of multiple MMS systems
• Remote access to content with mobile devices, tablets and computers
• Touchscreen control via Crestron, AMX, RTI, URC, iPhone* and iPad* (* in April)
• DRM-compatible: playsprotected iTunes content
• Supports Windows Media, iTunes (AAC), MP3, FLAC, WAV and other popular audio formats
• 24-bit 192kHz audiophile sound quality
• IP and RS-232 control protocols and internal web
Supported Video Formats: .avi, .dvr-ms, .ivf, .m1v, .m3u, .m4v, .mov, .mpeg, .mpg, .qt, .wm, .wmv
Digital Image Formats: .bmp, .jpg, .png, .tif
Connectors - Video
Video Outputs: HDMI, DVI; component Video and VGA available with optional adaptors
Processor: Intel 82801JR high-definition audio
Analog-To-Digital Conversion: 95dB SNR, 192kHz/24bit
Supported Audio Formats: .aif, .aifc, .aiff, .au, .cda, flac, .m4a, .m4p, .mid, .midi, .mp2, .mp3, .mpa, .rmi, .snd, .wav, .wma, .wpl
Supported Services: Sirius/XM Radio, Pandora, RadioTime Internet radio
Master Volume: -80dB to +20dB
<10Hz to 48kHz
S/N Ratio: 95db, A weighted
Dynamic Range: >
Channel Separation: >90dB
Connectors - Audio
Multi-Source Pre-Amp Output: 4x analog unbalanced stereo line-level audio outputs;maximum output level: 2.0 Vrms
Connectors - Control
RS-232: (1) DB9 male, bidirectional RS-232 port; up to 115.2k baud, hardware and software handshaking support
LAN:(1) 8-wire RJ45 with 2 LED indicators; 10/100/1000 Mbits/sec BaseT Ethernet port;green LED indicates link status; yellow LED indicates Ethernet activity
Connectors - Power
120V~50–60Hz: (1) IEC Male; mates with removable power cord (included)
Control System Interfaces / Modules
Interfaces: AMX, Crestron, HAI, NuVo, RTI, URC, Windows PC/Mac, Adobe Flash-enabled mobile devices and computers, Apple iPhone* and iPad*
Protocols: IP, RS-232, 2-way documented API
Controls - LED Indicators
Reset Hardware: reset button, recessed
Power: Power on/off
Humidity: 10% to 90% RH (non-condensing)
Temperature: 41° to 104°F (5° to 40°C)
Main Power Consumption: 300 Watts @ 120 Volts AC, 50–60Hz
Internal Storage: 1 Terabyte Magnetic
Height x Width x Depth: 1.75” x 19” x 10”; 1 rack unit