This Axonix MediaMax HD Entertainment Server is now HD DVD and Blu-ray friendly, loading up those disks and playing them in glorious 1080p in whatever room you'd like. The amazing thing is, the Axonix site says you can simultaneously play up to 30 movies (probably DVD quality) in different locations with the same server. The system comes in two pieces, that monster server called the MediaServer Spectra 4 and then a MediaDeck 4 player that you put in your home theater or wherever you want to watch the content.
While Axonix is overtly enthusiastic about the ability to play back video in 1080p from its servers, the company is evasive on its website when dodging the question of how that HD DVD or Blu-ray content gets from disk to server. It is possible, though, to download cover art from the company's own service, and have the DVD menus to guide you around the content, so that implies ripping of some sort going on or you could just view the menus of the original discs.
But the key word here is "load," as in "load HD DVD discs." There is a lot of mumbo-jumbo inserted into an FAQ about digital rights management, saying that it's the user's responsibility to obey copyright laws and even asking you to "contact a legal expert on the subject before purchasing or using the MediaMax." Bullshit. Looks like there's some HD DVD and Blu-ray ripping going on here, perhaps using that erstwhile secret and oh-so-illegal number for HD DVD ripping that became so widespread a few months ago.
All that said, you'd better have some fresh plastic for this baby, because the prices are sky high, starting at around $6,800 for the smallest server and a MediaDeck 4. It's $6,000 for just a Blu-ray playback unit, and gets you well into $30,000 territory for four of the playback stations and a huge 13TB server. High-end stuff, but highly capable at the same time. [Axonix, via CE Pro]