Never heard of Kaleidescape? We can’t blame you. Unless you have five digits to spend on a custom home theater that looks like a 1930’s movie palace, the company’s products probably haven’t cropped up on your radar. Yet the company has churned out some of the most intuitive, high-quality digital entertainment delivery systems on the market for 10 years running. We’ve marveled at Kaleidescape’s attention to details like high-resolution cover art, effortless library management and identical-to-the-original image and sound quality for DVD and Blu-ray – all while staying well within the confines of digital rights management (DRM) laws.
Few would debate that Kaleidescape is at the top of its field, but we’re willing to bet you can count on one hand (or finger) the number of people you know who own one. That’s because getting into a Kaleidescape system has always required that you have pockets roughly as deep as an abyssal trench – systems start in the $15,000 neighborhood. But that all changed today when Kaleidescape introduced its new Cinema One.
Priced at $4,000, the Cinema One is anything but cheap, but it does bring Kaleidescape’s goodies down out of the mesosphere and into the troposphere, where it’s likely to find a home in a few more actual home theaters (as opposed to, say, yacht theaters or private-jet theaters).
The Cinema One is part media storage, part Blu-ray shopping center and part video player, all wrapped into one sleek, low-profile device. It complies with DRM stipulations by requiring that the disc be present in the tray when playing back the movie, though users get the benefit of not having to watch previews, FBI warning screens or any of that other time-wasting junk. Just hit go and the movie starts. The Cinema One can store up to 100 Blu-ray quality, 600 DVD quality or 6,000 CD quality titles.
Users can also choose to download titles from Kaleidescape’s online store. Quality of these downloads is said to be identical to that of the Blu-ray disc, and will include any special features, director’s commentary, bonus scenes or audio tracks contained on the physical Blu-ray copy. Additionally, many of Kaleidescape’s movie selections are available with an Ultraviolet copy, which will automatically added to users’ accounts for streaming on any capable device.
The back of the Cinema One is outfitted with the usual collection of outputs, including a single HDMI out, analog audio out, coaxial digital audio out, a LAN port and a USB port to support an included Wi-Fi dongle (a first for Kaleidescape). Cinema One owners can also double their storage and expand room coverage by adding a second Cinema One system, though the two must apparently be connected by an Ethernet cable in such a case.
Finally, the Cinema One is the first product that Kaleidescape will sell directly to consumers. The system will also be available through its network of 1,800 dealers and at Magnolia design centers.
Digital Trends has secured a Cinema One for review and we’ll be posting our full findings within the coming weeks.