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Iconic high-end movie player company Kaleidescape is shutting down

Kaleidescape Cinema One front angle
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Kaleidescape hasn’t had it easy for the past few years, plagued by legal issues and business model changes that never quite worked out. Now it seems the company’s days are coming to an end, as the company laid off all staff and closed its doors today, according to a forum message posted Sunday night.

While things seem grim, the company hasn’t entirely given up hope, as company CEO Cheena Srinivasan is still actively looking for a buyer for the company. So far, however, he hasn’t been successful. “I never planned for this day, Srinivasan told CEPro. “This channel has become family for us.”

When Kaleidescape first launched as a company, it was with a type of product that hadn’t yet been invented: a server that could rip the user’s DVDs, store them, and make them available to watch, meaning no more manually switching discs. While the servers were expensive, they worked well, meaning that Kaleidescape quickly gained the attention of Hollywood, which led to legal action.

The company’s legal fight with the DVD Copy Control Association over the legality of its servers raged on for years, with the two parties finally settling out of court. While the company kept making its servers, the discs now needed to be present in order to play, taking much of the convenience out of them. We still liked the company’s Cinema One, which we reviewed, in 2013, but a lot of the magic was gone.

The company tried to pivot, opening the Kaleidescape Store, a high quality download service, but this didn’t do much to help keep the firm afloat. “Basically we had skyrocketing costs,” Srinivasan said. “We had the solution, but we had to spend money. We exhausted our financial resources.”

The Kaleidescape Store is still open, allowing previously purchased movies to be re-downloaded, but there is no guarantee how long this will be the case, so customers might want to download their purchased content as soon as possible. According to Srinivasan, a “small SWAT team” is being assembled to help the company bow out, but currently little is known about what this will entail.

We have reached out to Kaleidescape for more information, and will update this article when it becomes available.

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Kris Wouk
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kris Wouk is a tech writer, gadget reviewer, blogger, and whatever it's called when someone makes videos for the web. In his…
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