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Hands On: Mobile Movie Server

Originally Published in MotorHome Magazine

Entertainment systems in motorhomes are becoming as common as kitchens. Lightweight, energy-efficient electronics make it possible to have audio and visual components that rival any stationary home. If you’re a movie buff, storing stacks of DVDs is as important as the daily staples. Fusion Research’s Rocket Movie Server empties the shelves but gives you access to hundreds of movies – in a package that measures only 2½ by 7½ by 9 inches and weighs only 5 pounds.

Although the Rocket Movie Server is specifically designed for RVs, it takes its technology from big brother systems the company supplies to the high-end home-theater crowd. These systems sell upward of $10,000; the Rocket Movie Server retails for $1,495 and gives the user the same features and picture quality. The unit supports 720p, 1080i and 1080p video resolutions, which covers later-model LCD, plasma and LED TVs. Dolby Digital, DTS and analog-stereo audio formats are also supported.

The server is primarily a storage device. The base unit can store up to 150 movies and external 2TB hard drives ($295) can be connected that add an additional 300 movies. Once the movies are loaded, you have total control over the titles and can filter by actor, genre, category, director or rating. A description of each movie pops up on the screen on command; organizing and playing the movies is simply a function of working the remote. The IR remote allows you to conceal the unit, which, according to the company, requires minimal ventilation.

Hookup to the TV is straightforward. The most common method is to use the HDMI connections, which makes the hookup a one-cable process. If you only have component cables, a converter box ($150) can be used to connect to the HDMI terminal in the server.

Since the device is a server, movies will have to be loaded. The process is simple, but requires a connection to the Internet. An external disc reader plugged into the server is used to load movies. All you do is insert the movie into the reader, the company’s huge database is then accessed before movies are automatically loaded onto the system. It took 25 minutes to complete a typical 99-minute movie upload. Blu-ray movies can be loaded, but they severely limit storage capacity.

There’s not much setup after connecting the server to the TV. After you’ve framed the screen using the remote on a compatible TV, it’s ready to go. Playback quality is superb, taking full advantage of your particular TV’s HD video capabilities. The server requires only 18 watts of 120-volt AC power to operate.

Fusion’s Rocket Movie Server adds a whole new dimension to collecting and watching movies in a motorhome, and can easily be moved to the house when your coach is sidelined.

Fusion Research, 925-217-1233, www.fusionrd.com.

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