Media Servers

Kaleidescape Cinema One Media Server

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Conclusions

The Kaleidescape Cinema One feels like a bridge product, but a very important one. It works to straddle the lines between physical media and downloaded content. While it is very close to being almost ideal, there are a few things holding it back.

Having to store a disc in the drive wouldn't be a big deal if every studio were in their store. I would just pay the $2 to upgrade all my titles to digital copies and have them available to watch. When I'm already paying $4,000 for a Blu-ray player, paying another $600 to copy all my movies on there is expensive but better than $5,500 for the vault. Being able to just buy a movie online during the day and have it appear later that day is a really nice feature to have as well.

If you buy a movie this way it is tied to your Cinema One. You can't loan it to a friend and you can't take it on vacation with you. You get an Ultraviolet copy of it, but you don't get the physical disc to take with you. Because of this you can't even take it to another room in your house, but if you have multiple Cinema One systems you won't have that issue.

The movie store also should be accessible from the Cinema One unit. It isn't hard to get to a PC to buy a movie, but being able to upgrade my existing Blu-ray titles directly should happen. I'm sure they would get a lot of impulse purchases as well.

You also have no integrated backup in the Cinema One. The more expensive Kaleidescape systems have RAID built in for redundancy but cost far more. The Cinema One uses a higher-grade hard drive than your standard PC does but it still can fail. It also can't do 3D titles, which is a big failing. I don't watch 3D myself but I think any Blu-ray player sold today should support it.

Despite these failings, I still fell in love with the Cinema One when using it. It makes watching movies easy and fun, and doesn't get in the way. I can setup a custom collection of my favorite scenes I use to review displays and have that all play in order. No swapping discs, no seeking out scenes, just hit Enter and watch it go. It is an expensive product, but it is a wonderfully built and designed one.

If you love movies, and you can afford it, you should demo the Kaleidescape. You can't help but be impressed and want to take one home.