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Got 200 Blu-ray discs? Stick 'em here!

Sony's home entertainment server

There are a lot of products out there that seem awesome in theory but don't always deliver in reality. The Sony HES-V1000 Home Entertainment Server is one of them.

First, what it does, then what it doesn't.

It stores 200 Blu-ray discs, DVDs, and CDs in its built-in changer. There's also a 500GB hard drive for storing video, music, and pictures. You can easily import and store lots of home video, CDs, MP3s, and digital pictures on the system, which is easy to use. There are also built-in applications for making instant slide shows that are pretty slick.

What it doesn't do is the troubling part. The reason I was so excited to check out this "server" was because I foolishly thought it would "rip" movies from disc using Blu-ray's managed copy feature. This is built into the Blu-ray technology and lets you make legal copies of your purchased discs for transferring over a home network, for example. Our world should be moving away from disc and more toward digital, and this could have been a great step in that direction.

At $3,500, you'd think the disc changer would be a bit faster. The wait time for switching between discs is pretty long.

While I'm at it, I'd like to propose a million-dollar idea for anyone engineering disc changers or servers out there. How about a way to "star" favorite chapters of your movies, then a "party shuffle" feature that will randomly select a disc, play a starred chapter, and then repeat. I can't think of a better use of my HDTV during a party.