Allan Urquhart opts for an Imerge MS1Cambridge, UK: Installing an extensive home entertainment system can often seem daunting to home owners who worry that channelling new cable around their property will entail a lot of re-plastering and decorating. But for Allan Urquhart, the perfect opportunity to invest in a fully integrated home entertainment system arose when he decided to extend the family home.
"It was a four month project that involved changes to just about every room in the house," he explains. "In fact there was only one room that didn't change, so it was an ideal opportunity to run all the various cables to reach each room. At that time the equipment I had was relatively basic but served its purpose well and allowed music to be piped through to four different rooms/zones."
Allan, who lives in Aberdeen with his wife and young family, is a Shutdown Coordinator for the BG Group - a job that involves planning annual maintenance, engineering and project scopes for the company's central North Sea platforms. When he is not working he enjoys football, art, photography, music and films.
"Home media and home automation has always interested me and continues to do so," he says. "I think interest in home media systems has finally taken off because they are more user friendly now, and very much more affordable to the average family. Since we completed our home extension project I have significantly added to my original system and replaced various parts of it."
Allan's current system consists of an Imerge MS1 coupled with 2TB of storage; a Panasonic Viera TX-P50-G20; a Pioneer VSX-LX52 AV Receiver, a Pioneer BDP-LX-52 Blu Ray Player, a Sonos System to five different zones; Sky HD+; Monitor Audio Gold in-wall and in-ceiling speakers and a Monitor Audio HD subwoofer (for AV 5.1 system). Allan also has B&W in-ceiling speakers in four other zones and controls everything with a Nevo S70 remote control
One of the key new additions to Allan's system was the Imerge MS1 media server, which he bought to replace a Popcorn Hour A-110 unit.
"I wasn't unhappy with the Popcorn," he says, "but it did lack a decent user interface and it was also quite slow. I personally had no issues using it, but then I knew what it could and couldn't do, whereas my wife struggled with it at times, which detracted from her viewing enjoyment."
Before replacing it, Allan did extensive research on what other equipment was available, taking cost, ease of use, professional reviews, upgrade paths and reputation into consideration.
"I bought the Imerge unit because I thought it would meet my expectations and it hasn't disappointed," he says. "It integrated seamlessly into the rest of my home media system. I had a couple of issues with the Nevo Plug-Ins but after realising I hadn't used the correct IP address it was an easy fix. The Nevo Plug-In displays the media on its screen making the choosing of a film very easy. I haven't looked at the Apple App for the Imerge yet but if I decide to purchase an iPad then I may look at it then."
Unfortunately, during transit, Allan's storage was damaged and didn't work properly when he tried to install it. Although he remained sanguine about this because accidents happen, he did find it frustrating to have a great piece of kit that he couldn't use.
However, a phone call to the Imerge support team soon had the problem sorted out.
Allan explains: "Simon Brunger at Imerge was excellent and I could not fault the repair or the service received. My problem was resolved in a timely manner and issues were explained and communicated to me at all times. Simon also helped resolve a little niggle I had with transferring my media from the Popcorn Hour to my Imerge. I found him to be extremely professional and a credit to the company, it's just unfortunate that not all companies are like this!"
Now that Allan's home entertainment system is fully operation he says he is delighted he took the opportunity to fit it while work was being carried out on his house - and even more pleased that he invested in a new Imerge MS1 media server.
He is now looking at the storage of his media and recognises that he needs to embark on an upgrade path so that he can access his growing collection of Blu-ray discs.
"Currently I can't use my Blu-ray discs with my MS1 so I am considering buying a XiVASafe unit to partner it. The fact that I can upgrade means that it'll just be a matter of time, and funds, before this happens. It's also good to know that, if something does go wrong, the Imerge customer support and service is there to help me resolve it."
And, of course, Allan could also upgrade his MSI to the new MS1-3D at some stage in the future!
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