The modern home entertainment system is no longer limited to shiny (or vinyl) discs or tapes or over-the-air broadcasts. Many of us have computers full of videos and photos and music that we’ve downloaded from the Internet, or created ourselves. Too often, we find that we have to crowd around a 43 cm computer monitor to watch a video and look at some photos, when metres away, or maybe even in another room, is a gorgeous 107 cm plasma or LCD TV just begging to be used.

Or we listen to our favourite songs on tinny computer speakers, rather than the great hi-fi system we use for listening to CDs. Oh, we know we can burn our MP3s onto a CD and play them in our DVD player, but somehow we just never get around to doing that.

All this can be solved with a media hub

Think of a media hub as the parts of a computer that do multimedia, and nothing else – but with one difference. It’s small and stylish enough to sit with your regular home entertainment system, and has all the necessary connections that will allow you to run those photo slideshows through your big-screen TV, or listen to your favourite music on your surround loudspeakers. No more crowding, no more tinniness, and a lot more convenience.

Perhaps the smallest and most stylish media hub around at the moment is the TViX 5130 PVR. Those last three letters are important: yes, this unit is also a high definition personal video recorder. But here we’re looking at what else it does.

In brief, it opens up your sound and video system to wide world of digital entertainment.