Kaleidescape adds Blu-ray support
After over two years of press releases, Kaleidescape has finally released their Blu-ray Disc players. First announcing BD support in 2008, Kaleidescape has been hard at work on a powerful high-definition media player. Originally scheduled for 2009, the project was put on hold in order to engineer a whole new processor enabling multiple streams of high-definition video.
The M500 movie player is the main player for the Kaleidescape System which allows for content loading and video playback (including discs not loaded on the server) and retails for $3,995. The M300 movie player retails for $2,495 and is a small-form factor movie client allowing streaming from the server.
The big questions have been answered. The server will store the Blu-ray Disc content, index it in the same menu as DVDs, and stream it over the network. A gigabit network will support five streams of bit-for-bit high definition video, while a standard 10/100T network will only support one stream. The kicker is the disc must be loaded in a player before the movie will start (any player in the system). The benefit is Kaleidescape bookmarks movies so the film will start immediately instead of waiting to load a menu, and so there is no sitting through trailers and warnings.
Kaleidescape has the largest metadata collection in the world (even bigger than Gracenote), and is individually bookmarked by Kaleidescape and given additional content like cover art, reviews, and more. Concert videos are even bookmarked to each song, another bonus. Additionally, if you run across an obscure title Kaleidescape doesn’t have, you can mail it to them and they will index it for free.
If finding a movie and loading it in the player before playing beats the whole purpose of a server, it does. But it was done that way for DRM purposes. Kaleidescape still hasn’t worked out all of the kinks with licensing, and until they get the go ahead from the Advanced Access Content System Licensing Administrator (AACSLA), they will have to prove the disc is present. This is why Kaleidescape is working on a multi-disc changer which will provide this presence without having to load the movie. The changer will index movies as they are added so it won’t have to find the disc before allowing access to the movie. Michael Malcolm, CEO of Kaleidescape, said, â€œEvery once in awhile, there is a way to randomly check. Once it finds that one [disc] is missing, it will check them all.â€
The multi-disc changer should retail between $3,000 and $5,000, which is more than half the cost of the Crestron BD multi-changer.
The new M Class players are also said to be â€œa platform for future sources of content.” These sources have not been named, but Kaleidescape feels content should be owned by the client, not rented, borrowed, or streamed. Also on the road map is iTunes sync and AVCHD support.
Along with new high definition players is news of an upgrade to the GUI, now in full 1080p high definition.
For videos on how the Blu-ray works, and on the new GUI, visit the Kaleidescape website.