6 Things to Know About Kaleidescape’s M500, M300 Players
"Interim inconvenience” of needing disc in drive to play Blu-rays will soon be solved, company says.
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July 28, 2010 by Tom LeBlanc

Updated July 30, 2010 Kaleidescape has offered additional details on two Vault products. Click here to read story

You already know about Kaleidescape’s long-anticipated M500 and M300 players that play Blu-ray discs.

But for many, the product launch was tainted somewhat by a caveat: Although Kaleidescape’s movie library can store Blu-rays, the physical disc has to be in the DVD tray for it to play.

Cheena Srinivasan, Kaleidescape founder and executive VP, understands that reaction, but there are several other things he wants consumers and installers to know about the M500 and M300.

Vault is Coming Soon
Upon release of the M500 and M300 players, “an interim inconvenience” is how Linus Wong, director of product marketing, described the need for the Blu-ray disc to be in the disc drive for playing. It was reported that the forthcoming solution will be a multi-disc changer or loader.

During our July 23 visit, Srinivasan said the product will be called the Vault, adding that the product introduction will be issued by Kaleidescape in “a week to 10 days” and it’s slated to ship during the first half of 2011.

It was initially reported that Kaleidescape is aiming for its add-on disc loading solution to cost between $3,000 and $5,000. Srinivasan essentially confirmed, saying it will likely be “a few thousand dollars.”

Consumers will be able to buy and use multiple Vaults, which will accommodate between 100 and 300 discs, in order to accommodate large Blu-ray collections.

“We’re working feverishly on it and it’s going to be spectacular,” Srinivasan said.

The Vault is Not a Disc Changer
“We call it a ‘vault’ because it’s not a changer,” Srinivasan said. He explained that it’s not like Sony’s mega-disc changer because it doesn’t actually play discs.

The Vault Has Three Purposes
Srinivasan lays them out:

  • Safe disc storage
  • Bulk importing of disc information
  • Solving need for physical disc presence

Once You Get Beyond the Physical Disc Presence ...
Obviously, one reason consumers invest in a Kaleidescape player is because its library and highly-regarded user interface provides easy access to their disc collection; the need for physical Blu-ray disc presence in the drive for playing sort of mitigates that easy access.

If you can get past that, though, you’ll find that it still has most of Kaleidescape’s heralded ease-of-use features. During a demo of the M500 at Boston Kaleidescape dealer Bang & Olufsen’s showroom, Srinivasan reiterated that the disc in the drive isn’t “playing” and that the forthcoming Vault disc loader won’t play discs either. The Blu-ray disc information is stored in the Kaleidescape library just as traditional disc information is.

Srinivasan played a Blu-ray disc (already in the drive) and it began at the good part, skipping the previews, ads and FBI warning. He showed me that all the disc’s meta data is already stored in the library.

It’s a Great Blu-ray Player
Lost in the reports about the need for a physical Blu-ray disc in the drive, is the fact that the M500 and M300 are “among the best Blu-ray players that exist,” Srinivasan said.

The picture is outstanding. Srinivasan showed me the opening of The Dark Knight through the bank robbery scene on a 55-inch Bang & Olufsen 1080p LED-based LCD TV. I can’t recall a more authentic-looking Blu-ray demo on a flat-panel TV.

The M500 and M300 also have updated M-Class user interfaces on which Kaleidescape is getting very positive feedback, Srinivasan said. “The new user interface is really smooth and has five times as much information for picture density.”

It’s Catching On
By the end of July 2010, Kaleidescape expects to have sold 1,000 of the new M-Series players that launched on May 18, according to Srinivasan.

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