This is one raging monster of a machine. The Medio is bookended by giant aerofoils that run down the lengths of the sides of the chassis. These make it look like it's part of a military fighter jet -- not exactly elegant, but you do look serious about your cinema. There's nothing soft and homely about the Medio, it's definitely a PVR for bodybuilders. Just when you thought home cinema was getting sleeker, something like this comes along and throws its breakfast across the room.
It's beautifully built. Moore has clearly put a lot of effort into maintaining a gorgeous finish throughout. Where other Media Centers are blighted by wobbly CD trays and flimsy hatches, the Medio is largely seamless and intelligently laid out. The Medio is the same shape as a desktop PC, so there'll be no tucking this under the television unless you've got a seriously big cabinet to house it in.
Our review model arrived in a huge aluminium briefcase, the kind of thing that James Bond baddies carry nuclear bombs around in. Inside we found the Medio's peripherals recessed into foam rubber. These include the Gyration keyboard and mouse, AV cables for connecting the Medio to your home-cinema system and, of course, the Moore Medio itself.
You'll need to clear a lot of shelf space in your living room to store the Medio -- we easily stacked four DVD players in the same amount of space the Medio occupies. It's worth noting that the Medio doesn't quite conform to the standard 19-inch rack format of most consumer hi-fi -- it's a couple of millimetres wider. Also, despite its industrial looks, the Medio we reviewed was not fully rack mountable. You'll need to buy brackets and fit them to the Medio yourself to rack mount it alongside any hardcore power amplifiers.
For most home-cinema fans, the Medio's kooky looks make it an extremely appealing alternative to the bland offerings from other Media Center manufacturers. The rear of the chassis is more conventional though. The row of PCI slots and regular PC ports will be familiar to anyone who's dived behind their desktop PC to plug in a USB cable or speakers. Our review model lacked phono connectors -- still de facto for home cinema -- although there was a digital audio-out socket which will provide better sound. Fortunately, the audio specifications for the Medio are highly customisable. If you need a different soundcard Moore will fit this for you.
Like other Media Center manufacturers -- with the notable exception of Evesham -- Moore hasn't used a slot-loading CD/DVD drive. Although the Medio's CD tray is more solid than some we've tested, installing a slot-loader would have been a much neater and less vulnerable option. Hopefully Moore will offer this in a future redesign.
Turning the Medio upside-down reveals a testimony to its creators etched into the brushed metal chassis underneath. The team behind this Media Center was obviously very proud of its work -- and for good reason. This is the most laboriously well-crafted PC case we've seen outside Apple.
Our review model came pre-configured as a Windows Media Center Edition PC and games like Hitman Contracts, Thief and Splinter Cell were included in the box. Unlike the other Media Centers we've tested, the Medio didn't pester us for information about user accounts we'd like to set up, or bombard us with pointless help documents. This is how Media Center PCs should arrive -- ready to work, like a TiVo or Sky Plus box.