Hands On: Kaleidescape Mini System
The Kaleidescape Mini System is unique thanks to its form factor and storage space, which expands up to 1.5 terabytes.
Kaleidescape Mini System
With a 500-GB hard drive, the Kaleidescape Mini System can hold 75 DVDs or 825 CDs. It has the same user interface, quick content loading and detailed metadata as its big brothers.
June 15, 2009 by Jason Unger

Kaleidescape’s Mini System, one of the company’s latest DVD media servers, is meant to be a starter system for consumers looking for an all-in-one solution.

The system, which imports DVDs and CDs for play without the disc, features Kaleidescape’s slick user interface in a case about the size of a cable box.

I recently checked out the new Mini System, which Kaleidescape shipped to me filled with content from the first season of “Mad Men” to kids’ programming to recordings by Tony Bennett.

System Setup, Features

Setup of the system was simple, requiring only plugging in the power and HDMI cables. The system features:

  • Ethernet connectivity
  • RS-232 control
  • HDMI, Component, composite and S-Video outputs
  • Digital coax, optical and analog stereo audio outputs

If you’ve ever used a Kaleidescape system, or seen one in action, you know about the user interface, quick content loading and detailed metadata. The Mini System has all of that.

Unique Shape, Storage Space

The big difference in the Mini is its form factor and storage space. While it’s rackmountable, it fit perfectly in my home entertainment unit.

The built-in 500-GB hard drive stores up to 75 DVDs or 825 CDs, with expansion spots up to 1.5 terabytes. If you’re like me, with more than 200 DVDs, you’d use this system as an individual zone or expand the storage to hold all your content.

The Mini System, which also plays DVDs straight from the disc, comes with a remote control — Kaleidescape’s first unit to have one in the box.

Content Upscaled to 1080p

The player, as you’d expect, outputs at 1080p. But that’s where my only gripe with the unit lies; since it’s based on DVD technology, all of the content is upscaled to 1080p.

The system offers some native 1080p content built in, and the company’s announced Blue-Laser player promises to playback Blu-ray discs, but not import them. With Blu-ray’s use of Managed Copy, the future of importing true high-definition discs is unknown.

Overall, I loved having a single-component Kaleidescape system to check out. It’s easy to use and setting it up was as simple as plugging in a DVD player. If your customers are HD snobs (like me), the fact that its importing is limited to DVD-quality may be an issue, but if you’re using it in a bedroom or secondary room, it may not matter.

Kaleidescape Mini System
MSRP: $7,995

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