Kaleidescape System Yellowknife NT
April 1, 2004 By David Birch-Jones
Who could have guessed that renowned pop star and humanitarian Michael Jackson would be revealed as an imperfect father? That a Ben Affleck movie would disappoint? Or that a $400 device the size of a deck of cards would be the audio industry’s biggest hit?
That device—Apple’s iPod digital music player—earned so many fans for one reason: convenience. Suddenly we could access thousands of songs whenever we wanted. Even people who had never downloaded a song in their lives bought iPods … by the millions.
Now what if you could do the same with movies?
|Place a DVD in the DVD reader’s tray (left) and Kaleidescape automatically identifies it and retrieves its cover art. You can pick DVDs by genre, title, and so forth from the server’s animated menu (right). (Click images to enlarge)|
One company has. Kaleidescape, a Mountain View, Calif., startup, has created what is, in essence, an iPod for movies. From a beautifully designed menu that appears on your TV screen, you can choose any movie in your collection, which is sorted by title, genre, cast, director, etc. You can skip FBI warnings and overly ornate DVD menus and go straight into the movie. You can select your favorite scenes in a movie for easy access later. You can pause a movie in your home theater and finish watching it in your bedroom. And you can do all this in multiple rooms—simultaneously.
The Kaleidescape System includes three components and a lifetime subscription to Kaleidescape’s Movie Guide service, which provides information and cover art for your DVDs. The server is a box of computer-style hard drives that stores movies imported from DVDs and plays them on demand. The DVD reader extracts video and audio from DVDs and transfers it to the server. The Movie Player is the part that connects to your TV; place one in any room where you want Kaleidescape service. The components connect with CAT-5 computer networking cable.
The system’s server, in its standard configuration, includes five removable 300-GB hard drives, enough to store about 160 full-length DVD movies. A server installed with the maximum 12 drives provides enough space for approximately 440 movies; additional servers can also be installed. (Click image to enlarge)
The Movie Player operates like a DVD player, except that it fetches movies from the server instead of from an actual DVD. Each server can feed up to seven players. Each Movie Player displays all the movies on all the servers as a single list.
Kaleidescape has thoughtfully provided a robust parental guide system based on Motion Picture Association of America ratings. It can place password protection on adult-rated content so that tykes looking for Santa’s Wonderland cannot stumble upon the hilariously foul-mouthed Bad Santa.
The Kaleidescape System does not include a remote control, but the company says it works with any universal remote, with touchscreen systems...