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Vivadi Saturn HD50 review

This all-in-one plasma, media centre, DVD player and surround sound kit is a shock to the wallet – but can it justify the price tag?

The Vivadi Saturn HD50 is a single unit containing a 50in plasma TV, Media Centre PC, built-in DVD player, amplification for 5.1 surround sound, two digital TV tuners and a built-in centre speaker with side-firing sub-woofers. Phew. We’re almost surprised to learn it doesn’t make tea and toast, too.

Classy cabinet

For your six Gs, what you get is pretty impressive. It’s presented in top-notch style, complete with elegantly curved wood panelling. There’s a variety of finishes available, including several shag-pad-style wood options and a striking red.

Inside beats the heart of a PC with a 400GB hard drive just waiting to be filled up with your music, photographs and recorded TV programmes.

One screen to rule them all…

Using just one (large) screen for TV, DVD, email, music and web-surfing does start to make you feel pretty damn smug. Just add front and rear speakers and you’re away.

The flat-panel performs well, with competitive picture performance boasting deep and detailed black levels, vivid colours and a firm grip of fast motion.  Off-air pictures are just as classy.

No specs please, we’re British

Still, it’s a big lay-out for a jumped-up PC, and although we’re pleased with the performance – including the sound – we can’t help feeling a little let down by last year’s specs.

Shouldn’t a six-grand Media Centre computer include a superior graphics card, for example? Or more than 400GB of memory? Or how about a faster Intel Core 2 Duo processor (as opposed to this machine’s older and slower Pentium 4)?


Paying a premium

But grumble as we may, we shouldn’t forget that we’re paying a premium for the package – and what an elegant package it is. Sure, in direct comparison it’s not the best value for money. But the Vivadi HD50 is undeniably one of the smartest home cinema solutions you’ll find anywhere.

As long as you don’t start hyperventilating at the price, you should check out the HD50. Breathe deep.


Stuff Says…

Score: 4/5