March 01, 2006
| by Steven Castle
If you were to visit the Colorado home of Michael Malcolm, you might not believe he’s the CEO of a company that sells high-end video servers that cost more than $20,000. The most-used TV in the Malcolm household is a small $130 model bought several years ago at Wal-Mart and often used by the Malcolm children.
There’s still plenty of high-end electronics in this three-story wood and stone mountain house located just outside of Aspen. There’s an audiophile- and videophile-grade home theater, a whole house Linn audio system, several large plasma screens, a wireless Lutron lighting control system and a Crestron home control system. And don’t forget the Kaleidescape video server that stores the Malcolms’ 700 DVD movies on 6.5 terabytes of hard-drive storage and can distribute them to systems in the home theater, kitchen, master bedroom and family room.
The family-oriented Malcolms spend most of their time on the third floor in their family room, kitchen, office and master suite. In these areas, they find the lighting control system most useful for managing all of the home’s lights.
They can also venture downstairs to the home theater, where 6-year-old Andrew and 4-year-old Morgan often watch their favorite movies. Kaleidescape’s intuitive graphical interface shows the DVD covers on the screen and can group them according to movies of similar genre, actors or directors. “They go right into the theater and use it themselves,” Malcolm says. “My daughter has used it since she was two. The kids used to stick the tape in and watch the same thing over and over, but this shuffles and shows them similar types of movies, so now they watch a variety of things.”
Malcolm’s also been testing Kaleidescape’s new music server that runs on the same hard drive system and will be introduced this month. He had a 17-inch Crestron touchscreen put in the kitchen so his wife, Denise, could pick out music while she cooks. “She’s excited about it,” he says. “I loaded 500 CDs in the system and was amazed to discover what a good collection we own.” Denise will listen to classical, jazz, African and South American music and a lot of good vocals, while Malcolm likes country, classical and instrumentals.
The music server provides four discrete streams of music, allowing Malcolm to create personal playlists and play them in separate areas of the house. That’s perfect for their latest arrival, Megan, who dozes to a continuous loop of sleepy-time baby music stored on the system.
Malcolm also finds Kaleidescape’s music server useful for blasting some hard rock to scare raccoons from the barbecue area.
In the future, the Malcolms will probably add more Kaleidescape systems to the guest areas in the house. We don’t think the raccoons are on the guest list, however.
Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates