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Media server offers up to 14TB NAS storage

Nov 17, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 4 views

Envive, Inc. announced a Linux-based, HD-ready media server that offers up to 14TB of network-attached storage (NAS) capacity. The TheaterStation Multi-Zone Digital Media Management System with Centralized Networked Storage is available with TheaterStation “TSClient Mini” satellite devices, as well as several NAS storage options, the Carrollton, Texas-based company says.

The newly announced Centralized Networked Storage options are designed to expand the Envive's base TheaterStation Digital Media Management System, which was introduced in September along with TSClient satellite devices.

An Envive spokesperson confirmed our hunch that the TheaterStation devices run Linux. (This was not a wild guess on our part, since most new media center systems appear to run on penguin power). He also noted that, "We are interested in helping create a Linux-based platform in the home that would be open to developers building applications. Our vision is far beyond just a Linux-based Media Center." The spokesperson did not mention, however, when an SDK might be available.

TheaterStation, with "Spin" GUI on TV in background
(Click to enlarge)

The TheaterStation Digital Media Management System supports both single- or multi-zone media installations, enabling users to transfer, store, sort, and play back music and videos around the home. Users can also retrieve, create, or capture cover art and metadata for their media titles, then display such materials in HD resolution, Envive says.

TheaterStation (front panel)
(Click to enlarge)

Envive did not list the processor or memory available with the TheaterStation system, but says the device is equipped with 1TB, 2TB, or 4TB SATA drives, as well as a DVD/CDRW drive. The TheaterStation offers a gigabit Ethernet port, WiFi, Bluetooth, and a serial port, as well as an IR remote control, says the company.

A/V connections include HDMI, for up to 1080p HD video, as well as VGA, Component, S-Video, and Composite out. SPDIF and Coaxial digital audio output are also said to be provided, along with 7.1 audio output via RCA jacks.

TheaterStation (rear panel)
(Click to enlarge)

A "Spin" GUI is offered for the device itself, and desktop software tools are available for Linux, Windows, and Mac systems for moving digital files onto networked storage, says Envive. Users can import non-DRM protected audio files as well as video files including AVI, MPEG2, MPEG4, WMV, DVD ISO, H.264, and VC1. Other features are said to include online software updates and parental controls.

TSclient Mini satellite devices

The TSClient Mini systems are available as satellite stations that can be placed around the house. Up to five such systems can be linked to a single TheaterStation, says Envive. Each 6.5 x 6.5 x 2.0-inch device is equipped with a DVD drive, one eSATA expansion port, a gigabit Ethernet port, and four USB ports, says the company.

TSClient Mini

No WiFi support appears to be available on the clients, although this may be possible via USB. The clients are said to offer SPDIF digital audio output for 5.1 surround sound, as well as HDMI and optical audio outputs. As with the TheaterStation itself, user control is said to be available via IR, IP, and serial controls. The company also sells a larger TSClient system with Component out support.

TSClient Mini (rear panel)
(Click to enlarge)

The optional RAID-enabled central networked storage units (pictured below) can hold up to 14TB of storage, says Envive. Storage is said to be available in a four-bay "TS4T" tower unit for up to 4TB storage, or else in rack-mount units for larger installations. The latter include a 1U four-bay "TS4R" unit for 4TB to 6TB of storage, and a 2U, eight-bay "TS8R" unit for 4TB to 14TB, says Envive.

Central Networked Storage options: TS4T (left), TS4R (upper right), and TS8R (lower right)
(Click to enlarge)

Specifications for the TheaterStation Multi-Zone Digital Media Management System with Centralized Networked Storage are said to include:

  • Internal storage — 1TB, 2TB or 4TB SATA drives; DVD/CDRW drive
  • Central Networked Storage units:
    • TS4T — 4-Bay tower unit for up to 4TB of RAID storage
    • TS4R — 1U rack-mount 4-bay unit for 4TB to 6TB of RAID storage
    • TS8R — 2U rack-mount 8-bay unit for 4TB to 14TB of RAID storage
  • Networking — 1 x gigabit Ethernet port
  • WiFi — 802.11b/g
  • Other I/O:
    • Bluetooth
    • RS232 port
    • IR remote control
    • HDMI
    • Component, S-Video, and Composite out
    • VGA out
    • SPDIF and Coaxial digital audio out
    • Discrete RCA 7.1 audio out
  • Other features:
    • Master toggle switch
    • LED display for disc activity and system status
    • IEC connector for AC power cable
  • Dimensions — 17.5 x 4.0 x 15.5 inches (TheaterSation unit)
  • Operating system — embedded Linux; offers tools for Linux, Windows, and Mac desktops


The TheaterStation Digital Media Management System with Centralized Networked Storage is available now, says Envive. The TheaterStation costs "around $5,000," and each TSClient Mini costs $2,000. The rack-mount storage systems start at $6,000 with 4TB, and the TS4T tower-based storage system with 4TB costs $4,000.

More information may be found here.

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