July 30, 2010
| by Julie Jacobson
Kaleidescape, developer of high-end media servers, will offer two Blu-ray storage solutions that could keep the the DRM police at bay.
The new Vault product line will complement the recently released M300 and M500 players for playing Blu-ray discs that are stored on a networked Kaleidescape server. The problem with these DRM-friendly players today is that, in order to play a Blu-ray movie, the physical disc must be present in the tray (of any M500 on the network; the M300 has no disc tray).
The Vault is supposed to solve this “interim inconvenience” by automatically verifying the presence of a physical Blu-ray disc. The system periodically spot-checks the loader to confirm that it matches the database of Bu-rays stored on the server.
In a letter to dealers (first published at kscapeowners.com by integrator Mike Poindexter), Kaleidescape outlines two versions of the Vault disc loader.
The Modular Disc Vault is based on a third-party carousel, with a layer of Kaleidescape firmware for good measure. It holds 100 Blu-ray discs and must be directly connected to an M300 Player via a USB cable. This Vault will retail for $1,500 on its own (required M300 Player sold separately) or can be purchased together with the Player for a total of $3,995.
The Integrated Disc Vault is a new Kaleidescape component that has the capacity to hold 300 Blu-ray discs. The 5U Vault has a player built in, and connects to the Kaleidescape network via Ethernet, just like an M300 Player. Kaleidescape says the U.S. MSRP will be “no more than $6,000.”
Both Vault products “enable Blu-ray movies to be played without having to touch a disc.”
Kaleidescape founder and EVP Cheena Srinivasan recently told us his company is “working feverishly on it and it’s going to be spectacular.”
Here’s what Kaleidescape says:
Either disc vault can be used to import Blu-ray Discs and verify that they are present. The Integrated Disc Vault can also be used to import CDs and DVDs. Neither vault supports playing directly from a disc. When your Blu-ray Discs are stored in a vault, playback of a Blu-ray movie from any M-Class player works just like the playback of a DVD movie; the physical disc itself is not read or even accessed upon playback because its contents are played from a copy located on a Kaleidescape server.
Any number of disc vaults (of either type) can be added to a Kaleidescape System to accommodate a large collection of Blu-ray Discs. These two vaults differ in capacity, appearance, physical size, usability, and pricing. With both vaults, discs are inserted and removed through a vertical slot in the front. Both of these projects are proceeding on schedule.
Kaleidescape product marketing manager Linus Wong says there is still some confusion about the networking capabilities of the Vaults and the M-Series Players.
A single disc can be slotted into any M500 Player for verification, and still be accessible via any other Player on the network, as long as it has been copied to a Kaleidescape server. Likewise, although the Modular Disc Vault is physically attached to one particular M300 Player, it still communicates with all Players on the network for verification purposes. You still need an M300 Player to accompany every Modular Disc Vault, however.
Beta software for the Modular Disc Vault is expected to be released in Q4 of this year, with production software available in the first quarter of 2011.
As for the Integrated Disc Vault, “We anticipate that this product will be available in June of 2011; however, there is still some uncertainty in this date,” Kaleidescape says.
Julie Jacobson is co-founder of EH Publishing and currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro, mostly in the areas of home automation, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. She majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. Julie is a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player with the scars to prove it. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.